Africa at meso-scale: Adaptive and integrated tools and strategies on natural resources management.

A&W is participating in AFROMAISON, a new project under the 7th framework of the EU, led by the Antea-Group (Gent) and involving many partner organisations. Threats to the environment and natural resources, coupled with poor management, have serious implications for both poverty reduction and sustainable economic development. Degrading natural resources in Africa therefore result in an increased vulnerability of the poor as a result of ecosystem stress, competition for space, soaring food and energy prices, climate change and demographic growth. Nowadays, it is widely accepted that reversing these trends asks for integrated management frameworks.

Despite the availability of many tools, expertise, strategies, local practices and indigenous knowledge, the concept of INRM (Integrated Natural Resource Management) has hardly been brought into practice and the building blocks of INRM in many cases still need to be integrated. AFROMAISON will make use of what is available regarding INRM and will contribute to a better integration of the components of INRM. In view of the decentralization policy in Africa, we aim to focus on the operational requirements of INRM for sub-national (or meso-scale) authorities and communities.

The main outputs of AFROMAISON are a toolbox, short-term to long-term strategies, quick wins (much gains with little effort) and operational strategies for adaptation to global change. In order to enhance the potential impact, we will put strong efforts in integrated capacity building and a solid dissemination strategy. In order to do so, we will integrate tools, frameworks, strategies and processes for landscape functioning, livelihood & socio-economic development (incl. vulnerability to global change), local knowledge, institutional strengthening and improved interaction between sectors, scales and communities. For the development of concrete operational strategies for adaptation to global change, AFROMAISON will focus on the three groups of tools: strategies for restoration and adaptation (including sustainable landscape intensification), economic tools and incentives for INRM and tools for spatial planning. The project works in five demonstration areas, amongst which is the Inner Niger Delta in Mali. In this area A&W works with Wetlands International.