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Frequently Asked Questions

What is TerrAfrica?

TerrAfrica is a multi-partner platform that seeks to scale up the mainstreaming and financing of effective and efficient country-driven sustainable land management approaches. The platform is structured around three programmatic Activity Lines (AL): Coalition Building (AL1), Knowledge Management (AL2) and Investments (AL3). AL1 and AL2 focus on the global, regional and sub-regional levels while AL3 focuses on the country level. AL1 and AL2 are designed to directly support AL3.

What TerrAfrica is not: TerrAfrica is not a program, a project, a unilateral initiative or a new fund.

What is sustainable land management?

TerrAfrica defines sustainable land management as the adoption of land use systems that, through appropriate management practices, enables land users to maximize the economic and social benefits from the land while maintaining or enhancing the ecological support functions of the land resources.

Halting (and ultimately reversing) land degradation and soil erosion can only be tackled through appropriate land management, considering the principle cause of land degradation is poor land management. Sustainable land management is therefore essential to development agendas in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What does TerrAfrica aim to achieve?

Through the articulation of the three Activity Lines, TerrAfrica aims to promote the mission stated above.

  • AL 1 is to mobilize partners in a coalition to advocate a common vision of SLWM, share analyses, set the foundations for strengthening and harmonizing policy dialogues and strategies, and improve coordination at all levels.
  • AL 2 provides a platform for TerrAfrica partners at all levels to identify, generate, and disseminate targeted knowledge that supports decision-making, informs policymaking, advances mainstreaming (in particular in PRSPs, donor strategies and sector plans), helps secure domestic financing, and supports the harmonization of monitoring and evaluation activities by governments, donors, and civil society organizations. In this way, knowledge will be channeled to support investments on the ground that will be undertaken by governments, donors and civil society under AL 3.
  • Under AL 3, TerrAfrica seeks to catalyze the mainstreaming of SLWM and the harmonization/development of investments on the ground at multiple scales, from the local to the national levels (including potential trans-boundary dimensions). Mainstreaming and unlocking investments are viewed here as inseparable, as the long-term success of investments depends on the scope and depth of the mainstreaming effort.

How was TerrAfrica developed?

The launch of TerrAfrica in October 2005 was the culmination of a comprehensive consultative process concerning TerrAfricas founding documents, in particular the Strategy and Business Planning Framework. Active in this dialogue were African governments, multilateral organizations, donor governments, civil society organizations, NEPAD, and scientific organizations including the CGIAR centers. At the launch, the TerrAfrica Executive Committee endorsed a Joint Annual Work Program, which marked the first concrete steps towards the initiatives goal of mainstreaming and scaling up SLWM in Sub-Saharan Africa.

How do partners contribute to the Activity Lines?

Partners contribute and take lead roles based on past and ongoing thematic and/or geographic work, areas where they have significant comparative advantage, where they are already acting and where they have a history of strong leadership.

What are the guiding principles of TerrAfrica?

TerrAfrica is governed by the following principles that emerged from consultations during the June 2004 TerrAfrica Framing Workshop: African country ownership; Transparency and accountability; Action based on partnership; Broad-based participation including civil society, community-based organizations involved with natural resource harvesting and management and local farming communities; Subsidiarity based on partners comparative advantage; and Measurable and sustainable performance and results.

How does TerrAfrica ensure a results orientation in the implementation of its work program?

The TerrAfrica Secretariat, with support from UNEP and the M&E Special Advisory Group, has developed a M&E framework that will be finalized in 2010 as a comprehensive M&E system. This M&E system will be part of the Country Service Network and indicators will be informed by the various levels (national, sub regional, regional, international) involved.

The TerrAfrica Secretariat also provides partners with semi-annual reports on the status of TerrAfrica activities, achievements and financial situation, and special advisory groups (SAGs) assist the Secretariat with developing methods for evaluating activities, monitoring progress toward SLWM, and implementing approved activities.

What is the role of civil society?

Civil society has an important role in TerrAfrica at two levels:

  1. At the platform level, representatives of civil society from the OECD and African countries participated in the Paris framing workshop. Civil society has since had an ongoing role in providing feedback, ideas and vision for TerrAfrica. Under AL1, UNDP is supporting specific activities that aim to strengthen CSOs participation to the SLWM agenda.
  2. At the country and local level civil society has a key role in dialogue, vision and programming of actions as well as the design, development and implementation of targeted interventions. In most countries, civil society organizations are now part of the SLWM national committees that lead the elaboration of the Country Strategic Investment Frameworks.

How does TerrAfrica contribute to the implementation of the UNCCD?

TerrAfrica catalyzes an operational coalition to support the implementation of the UNCCD NAPs and SRAPs priorities. Since the 10-year strategy of the UNCCD was endorsed, the TerrAfrica Secretariat and the UNCCD Secretariat have closely worked together to ensure that TerrAfrica will continue supporting the implementation of the UNCCD priorities.

What is the commitment level of NEPAD and African countries?

NEPAD and African countries were closely involved in the initial consultations and have an ongoing and central role in the design and development of the TerrAfrica platform. AL 3 is designed specifically to enable countries to take the lead in developing customized SLWM programs. NEPAD has been very actively involved and has used TerrAfrica as the platform for delivering on the land management pillar of the CAADP and harmonizing with the NEPAD environmental action plan.

NEPAD is in charge of the management of the TerrAfrica Secretariat functions.

How are national governments working to scale up SLWM?

The TerrAfrica partnership platform supports developing guidelines for preparing and implementing Country SLWM Investment Frameworks (CSIF), for the scaling up of successful SLWM technologies, approaches, and the implementation of institutional, policy and budget reforms.

The CSIFs are being used by countries to support cross-sector efforts based on what already exists in the country. The formulation of CSIFs is an integral part of the NEPADs CAADP roundtable process and aims to bring substance to countries efforts to elaborate the CAADP pillar on land and water management.

What is the SIP?

The GEF Strategic Investment Program for SLWM in Sub-Saharan Africa (SIP) is a special effort for Sub-Saharan Africa. It is an umbrella investment vehicle that provides support to Sub-Saharan countries in their efforts to scale up SLWM on the ground in line with the TerrAfrica approach. The SIP develops a harmonized, multi-agency portfolio of sequenced investment packages that catalyzes country-specific SLWM programs. Taking the TerrAfrica barrier analysis as its starting point, the SIP targets elements in the enabling environment that have hindered greater uptake of SLWM at multiple levels and across multiple sectors. The SIP aims to accomplish this by more efficiently leveraging GEF grants to strengthen donor alignment, harmonize land-related policy dialogue, enhance cross-fertilization and investment quality, maximize impact per dollar invested, and engage predictably over a longer timeframe. All of these are necessary conditions for donors and sub-Saharan countries alike to be able to advance SLWM scale-up. The SIP leverages GEF investments to implement SLWM activities on the ground in line with the TerrAfrica approach, and supported by the TerrAfrica platform.

In June 2007, the GEF Council approved the innovative SIP for SLWM in Sub-Saharan Africa. The approvalthe largest ever in GEF history earmarked a $150 million grant to support 28 countries in advancing nearly 40 operations that promote the uptake of climate resilient SLWM practices, such as watershed management, land use planning, conservation tillage, intercropping, agroforestry, small water infrastructure, woodlots, and erosion control.

By late 2008, almost all of the nearly 40 individual operations were approved at the concept stage and began preparation. Several have already entered the implementation phase, with many more implementing in 2009.

Countries receiving SIP support include: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

What is the relationship between TerrAfrica and CAADP?

The Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) was launched by NEPAD in 2002. The objectives of CAADP are organized into four pillars; the objective of Pillar 1 is to extend the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems. However, since the launch of CAADP in 2002 investments in the four key pillars have failed to match expectations. TerrAfrica was conceived as a response to the repeated calls for action from the constituencies of NEPAD and the UNCCD, and the TerrAfrica partnership and associated Business Planning Framework has been designed as an operational mechanism through which the SLWM objectives of the UNCCD, NEPAD Environment Action Plan (EAP) and NEPAD CAADP can be pursued. Thus TerrAfrica is a vehicle through which CAADPs Pillar 1 can be effectively implemented. (See TerrAfrica-CAADP-EAD Linkages Diagram for diagrammatic explanation of this relationship.)

How is TerrAfrica contributing to the Millennium Development Goals?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals defined by the United Nations to be achieved by 2015 that respond to the world’s main development challenges. TerrAfricas business plan directly addresses two of the goals:

  • Goal 1: End poverty and hunger: Sustainable land management plays an important role in helping to mitigate the impacts of rising world food prices on poor people in Africa. Research shows the adoption of sustainable land management practices helps to boost and stabilize agricultural production, buffer rising food prices and improve food security.
  • Goal 7Environment sustainability. Sustainable land management offers land users an opportunity to reduce vulnerability and adapt to climate variability and change. Many SLWM practices can simultaneously achieve both adaptation and mitigation goals, especially those that increase soil organic carbon. SLWM represents a preventative approach to climate change that can reduce the need for costly ex post coping measures, like changing crops and livelihoods, clearing new lands for agriculture and migration. SLWM practices also reduce biodiversity loss. Reforestation conserves biodiversity, soil and water resources, and when managed sustainably, can strengthen local and national economies and promote the well-being of present and future generations.