Irdc Crdi Canada Fighting Desertification And Poverty It Is The Same War Eng


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IRDC-CRDI CANADA Fighting Desertification and poverty it is the same war. Posted by Youmanitas Energy Farms Foundation The Netherlands.

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Irdc Crdi Canada Fighting Desertification And Poverty It Is The Same War Eng

  1. 1. international development research centre R U R A L P OVERTY a n d E N V I R O N M E N T Fighting desertification and poverty: it’s the T same war idrc: renaud de plaen he people of the Sahel — that huge region environmental stretching along the southern edge of the Sahara degradation is common to semi- Desert — are still striving to recover from the arid areas of fallout of the terrible droughts that have afflicted Burkina Faso. the area since 1973. Drought has shattered the momentum of socioeconomic development in Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. According to researchers with Burkino Faso’s Institut de l’environnement et de recherches agricoles, “Rural men and women are now struggling to survive in a land that is exhausted, denuded, desiccated, and swept away by the wind and water.”
  2. 2. rUral povertY and environment idrc: renaud de plaen “after the 1992 IDRC would host rio summit, it such a workshop: was clear that “IDRC chaired the the people, the scientific committee women, and civil of the International society had to be Convention involved.” The villagers of the Sahel can point to the to Combat exact time their physical environment col- Desertification,” lapsed. In the 1950s it rained. The lands were Butaré points out. fertile. Crops flourished in any kind of soil. stages in the campaign I There was no need to try to farm the river bot- toms, which were often flooded. Before 1970, nnocent Butaré explains that the struggle people and livestock exerted very little pres- against desertification in the Sahel has seen Firewood, the main sure on natural resources. Farmers in north- three major kinds of interventions. The first source of fuel for western Burkina Faso, one of the areas most were technical and involved major reforesta- most households in severely affected by desertification, would farm tion programs and the construction of dikes rural communities, a field for 3 or 4 years. “We would then leave and berms to retain runoff water and slow soil is also sold along the fields fallow for 10 to 15 years, and move erosion. But these techniques were often inap- major roads. on to cultivate new lands,” they recall. propriate in the Sahel and were not adopted by They did not foresee the day when they would the local populations and institutions. have to learn to build filter dikes, berms, and The second set of interventions was more stone ridges following the contour of the land; socioeconomic. “After the 1992 Rio Summit,” to create manure pits; and to resort to hedge- says Butaré, “it was clear that the people, the row and alley farming — and to do all this, women, and civil society had to be involved.” moreover, in a constantly shifting physical, This determination to promote inclusiveness, social, and political environment. consultation, mobilization, and cooperation Today, people say that they cannot do without culminated in a third series of interventions: modern techniques to maintain the fertility national action plans to combat desertification of their arid lands. If they want to feed their (NAPCDs). families, send their children to school, or even However, just when the countries of the Sahel just survive, Sahel farmers have to experiment were finally embarking on an integrated and become increasingly innovative. campaign against desertification, the donors In July 2004, under the aegis of the who had insisted on the NAPCD approach International Development Research Centre demanded that priority be given to combating (IDRC), a subregional workshop was held in poverty. NAPCDs gave way to poverty reduc- Saly Portudal, on the coast of Senegal, to learn tion strategy papers (PRSPs) and strategic from experiments in combating desertifica- frameworks to combat desertification (SFCDs) tion in the Sahel. This was an opportunity for and, when governments found that adopting researchers, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and policymakers to look back Woodland over 30 years of struggle against drought degradation. and desertification, to examine the results of research, and to plot new courses. Innocent Butaré, senior program administra- tor in IDRC’s regional office for West and Central Africa in Dakar, was the driving force behind this meeting, which brought together West Africa’s leading experts in combating projet pcp/lcd desertification. There was no question that
  3. 3. rUral povertY and environment the latter could mean significant debt relief, they made poverty reduction their new priority and put all their efforts into it. “With the PRSP now the new fashion,” says Innocent Butaré, “we have lost sight of the battle against desertification. Our challenge now is to restore that battle to its proper place among the chief priorities of development policy. But how can we do this?” Renaud de Plaen, an IDRC program officer based in Ottawa, sees a dual challenge: “How to integrate plans for combating desertification into poverty reduction strategies and programs projet pcp/lcd for adjusting to climate change.” In terms of meeting the first part of the chal- lenge, Philippe Zoungrana, former director of the Canadian fund to support the International Convention to Combat Desertification, claims, Convention to Combat Desertification on improved feeding “The greatest lesson to be drawn from experi- 17 June 1994, agronomists, water and forestry techniques for sheep ence in combating desertification is that the engineers, sociologists, policymakers, and enhanced women’s campaign must go hand-in-hand with the pov- development partners have been working livelihoods in erty campaign. There is no frontier between the together to involve local people in efforts to Burkina Faso. struggle against desertification and the struggle stop desertification. to reduce poverty.” In effect, antidesertification The process of preparing the national action activities that enlist the participation of poor “the greatest plans mobilized stakeholders in all categories, farmers — such as market gardening, beekeep- lesson to be from farmers to policymakers, including ing, and feeding livestock with harvest glean- drawn from NGOs and producers’ groups. And it created ings and natural fodders — are exactly the ones experience a proliferation of farmers’ associations, village that will raise their incomes quickly. in combating committees, and management plans. There are desertification The second part of the challenge, integrating even examples of South–South cooperation is that the the struggle against desertification into adapta- in preparing NAPCDs, such as that between campaign must tion to climate change, seems self-evident as Senegal and Chad and between Burkina Faso go hand-in-hand desertification is now defined as a man-made and Mauritania. with the poverty climatic problem. However, researchers found that these plans campaign.” were much more complicated to implement. the balance sheet T According to Pape Mawade Wade, water and he “Réseau de recherche sur la résistance à forestry engineer and coordinator of Senegal’s la sécheresse au Sahel” (R3S; drought NAPCD, “Research teams encountered many tolerance research network) has helped West difficulties in the field, and it was impossible to African scientists assess and identify the stick to the original schedule.” best ways to combat desertification. Financed In the case of Burkina Faso, Canadian by IDRC, among other partners, R3S brings assistance helped produce concrete results. For together experts under the aegis of the Institute example, local researchers developed a way to of the Sahel (INSAH) and the Conseil ouest et evaluate the real antidesertification content centre africain pour la recherche agricole et le of various programs. This index measures the développement (CORAF; West and Central antidesertification effort of each administrative African council for agricultural research body over the course of the year. It has been and development). used to produce a map revealing the uneven Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de distribution of financial efforts at the provincial Janeiro and the adoption of the International level in Burkina Faso.
  4. 4. rUral povertY and environment “despite the Financing the work created difficulties in most among managers in major amounts countries, and budgets allocated to the various the various ministe- invested, efforts for combating desertification have been rial departments in development that minimal. National institutions responsible for the areas of environ- projet pcp/lcd is divorced from coordination — such as the Conseil national ment, agriculture, the local culture pour l’environnement et le développement water, and animal has been unable durable (CONEDD; National Council for husbandry. In to produce Environment and Sustainable Development) some countries, adequate and in Burkina Faso and the Conseil supérieur des decentralization environmental sustainable ressources naturelles et de l’environnement has been harmful to stress resulting from responses to (CONSERE; high council for natural resources antidesertification fuelwood collection the problems and the environment) in Senegal — have faced programs by multi- in the vicinity of that people are enormous financial difficulties. This came just plying the number of n’djamena, chad. facing,” at the time when, in most countries, validation players and making of the antidesertification programs was being fieldwork more completed. complicated. As Pape Mawade Wade puts it, “Financial The researchers now understand the impor- support has been pretty modest. This contrasts tance of the assets, know-how, and power of with the commitment the donors gave for local players in combating desertification. applying the resolution on urgent measures to “Despite the major amounts invested, develop- be taken in Africa, whereby they would inten- ment that is divorced from the local culture has sify coordination of their activities and provide been unable to produce adequate and sustain- real support in the process of preparing the able responses to the problems that people NAPCD.” are facing,” concludes Nessindoa Julienne Traoré-Gué of the Institut de l’environnement Communication among the various stake- et de recherches agricoles (INERA; institute holders has decreased in several countries. for environment and agricultural research) in Researchers point to other problems of coordi- Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. nation at senior government levels, particularly Group discussions with local residents identified key problems and local solutions: Women in linia, Burkina Faso. projet pcp/lcd
  5. 5. rUral povertY and environment promising new directions S peaking about the Senegal experience, Pape Mawade Wade says, “Cooperation among various categories of stakeholders has established an atmosphere of trust that has promoted freer expression on their part and a hard-nosed analysis of their responsibil- ities for the degradation of natural resources.” He adds, “Consequently, we must help people This is confirmed by his colleagues Julienne in the field to consolidate the good practices Traoré-Gué, Jean Sibiri Zoundi, and Edwige that have succeeded here and there.” Lichoun: “The many failures in the technical extension efforts have led to the emergence There is consensus on the need to support of more individualistic initiatives... the more research into new and alternative technolo- innovative farmers are increasingly becoming gies, based on the indigenous knowledge of experimental farmers.” local farmers and considering their priority needs. “We find,” says Alexandre Lalba, a Local landlords are often tempted to take back projet pcp/lcd zoologist and economist for INERA, “that lands that have been restored by these inno- sustainable and the innovations proposed by outsiders are vative tenant farmers, unleashing what has participatory pastoral not adopted, even if farmers recognize that been called “the war of the hills.” These lands resources in Béli, they could help resolve problems in a lasting that had been rented to women and young Burkina Faso. manner.” people because of their low productivity are now coveted as farmers have shown that this Lalba believes that innovative techniques terrain is best suited to the zaï technique. must bear some resemblance to traditional practices. A good example is the improved zaï Just as the climate is changing, the creativity villages have system of water and soil conservation. The zaï of researchers and farmers is producing new been deserted by is a traditional Mali technique for preparing solutions that in turn give rise to new chal- young people, soil that involves making small, crescent- lenges — the exacerbated inequality of land who are hoping shaped depressions to catch runoff water, ownership being a good example. From the to find prosperity then sowing millet or sorghum seeds in them. farmer to the policymaker, people must learn elsewhere, Innovative farmers have improved on the zaï about the best solutions and debate them. and are now technique by adding compost or manure, populated by The researchers insist on the need to increase using improved varieties of seed, and treating the elderly, political pressure and lobby decision- the seeds. A true grassroots initiative, the zaï married women, makers in government departments and has sparked a movement to pool techniques and children national legislatures. New outreach and among farmers, and it is spreading through- struggling to education campaigns targeted at the general out Burkina Faso and beyond. survive. public would also help. Pape Mawade Wade At Saly Portudal, researchers also stress regrets the fact that artists and performers the importance of reconciling individual have not been enlisted to help inform people and community concerns. Alexandre Lalba in countries severely affected by drought describes villages that have been deserted about the international convention. “We need by young people, who are hoping to find to take them into account in the next round of prosperity elsewhere, and are now populated activities,” he says. by the elderly, married women, and children struggling to survive. “In such situations,” he says, “individual actions have more chance of being accepted.”
  6. 6. rUral povertY and environment projet pcp/lcd learning to use photography as a communication tool in sawal, chad. Waiting for the financial This brief was prepared by Jean-Marc Fleury partners to act A based on a case study by Mame Aly Konte and Innocent Butaré. lthough there have been a number of successes in the area of combating deserti- fication and managing natural resources, much remains to be done. In the hope of IDRC’s Rural Poverty and Environment (RPE) program is a global consolidating past achievements, the research- program launched in 2005 to support research that meets the ers have launched an appeal to the financial needs of the rural poor who live in fragile or degraded ecosystems in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle partners, asking them for “more active support East. Its goal is to strengthen institutions, policies, and practices for NGOs in the field, for national research that enhance food, water, and income security. institutions, and for civil society, with a view to preparing tools for lobbying and sensitizing For information visit policymakers.” Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is one of the world’s leading institutions in the generation and WWW.IDRC.CA application of new knowledge to meet the challenges of international development. For more than 35 years, IDRC has worked in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world in their search for the means to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies. International Development Research Centre Rural Poverty and Environment Program PO Box 8500 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1G 3H9 Tel: 613-236-6163 Fax: 613-567-7749 Email: