Watershed and Grazing Exclosure Management Frameworks
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Under the patronages of International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in collaboration with Community Based Integrated Natural Resource Management Project (under the Bureau of Agriculture) agro-regional workshop was held in the capital of the ANRS, Bahir Dar, at Benmas Hotel, on 25-26 November 2017. This workshop provided the opportunity for a diverse group of stakeholders in sharing experiences of different stakeholders engaged in land restoration/ management. Including farmers, Multi-sectoral institutional representatives, development agents, project focal persons, natural resource conservation and development process owners and professionals from regional government institutions, NGOs and bilateral projects (55 participants) attended the workshop. The presentations were focused on the thematic areas of: biophysical land restoration, livelihood interventions and institutional interventions. This platform is expected to increase collaboration and synergies among implementing partners for effectiveness and efficiency while undertaking sustainable land management which helped to form concrete recommendations and ways forward in the upcoming implementation periods. The workshop began with welcome speech, introductory notes and opening speech by respective invited guests and participants. The opening and welcome address followed by brief self-introduction of each workshop participants and proceeded to the respective thematic area presentation. The Workshop aimed at: - Sharing experiences among different stakeholders engaged in land restoration/management - Understanding the perceptions of different stakeholders about the effects of the different land management/restoration interventions - Identifying challenges faced by different stakeholders in land restoration/management interventions and - Exploring and identifying possible research and development thematic areas The workshop was structured as; the first day covered by the presentations of different Sustainable land management implementing institutions working in the Amhara national regional state briefing the over view of the institutional innovations, biophysical land restoration and livelihood interventions followed by group discussions and plenary session. On the second day, the presentations and subsequent discussions of the first day was synthesized and presented by the group nominated for this purpose. A panel discussion was held (by farmer panelists) focusing on predefined four SLM related questions. Group presentations were held covering four exercises dedicated to five groups. The thematic area presentations were offered by respective presenters. Ato Getachew Engdayehu, from BoA, ANRS has presented the summary of the whole Amhara region‟s biophysical land restoration success and challenges through public mobilization and participatory watershed planning based strategic endeavors. His presentation signifies those successes gained in: Watershed management institutionalization, awareness and ownership on Watershed management created, annual rate of soil erosion decreased from 77 to 34 tons/ha, green cover and rain water infiltration increased and crop Production and productivity augmentation recorded. Unlimited population increment and how to prevent the community members from „hijacking‟ by local elites of their economic benefits from rehabilitated watersheds are challenges to be faced. The lesson learnt part in this presentation stresses those strengthening watershed management institutions at the grass root levels as the corner stone for sustained land restoration and natural resources conservations. Furthermore, the watersheds‟ development is now on the way of transition from community mobilization and physical structure works to materializing benefits. Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara region (ORDA) being one of the major stakeholder institutions of community based integrated natural resource management project implementing sustainable adaptation to climate change component, the experiences of the organization on livelihood interventions were presented by Ato Woreta Asres. The presentation points out that the livelihood intervention starts from integrated watershed plan formulation based on community need assessment. Apple seedling propagation, Cattle fattening & improved forage development, linked with bio-gas production, become the major livelihood source of organized landless youth groups. The summary of key results has been presented as: communities capacitated for informed decisions, farm lands created in steep-slope areas, improved Production and productivity, income diversification created, women‟s access to Income Generating Activities created and adaptive capacity to climate change impacts improved. The presenter also mentioned that in implementing its project activities, the organization confronted challenges such as: shortage of budget, frost damage on planted seedlings and lack of market linkage for produced products. The presenter, in his lesson learnt portion, is cognizant that cluster based development approach than piecemeal one for livelihood improvement and building adaptive capacity on climate vulnerability capacity analysis. The presentation for institutional innovation, by Dr. Zewudu Wuletaw, director GIZ-SLM Amhara was started by introducing the farming system of the agriculture sector in Amhara region. According to the presentation, the socio economic factors of land degradation can be addressed by organizing community groups and harmonization of livestock production with natural resources conservation efforts. Watershed users Association proclamation was enacted in 2013 by the Amhara National regional state. This is expected to fill the prevailing gaps associated to socio-economic constraints of land degradation. The Purpose of the above mentioned proclamation was to support the communities to have their own association with approved byelaw and to provide legal support to the communities to protect, develop and sustainably utilize their natural resources. Potential Benefits of the proclamation can be: establishment of community organizations, Provision of legal protection of organized communities, offer opportunity for community capacitating participation and ensure sustainability of watershed development activities. Following the issuance of the Watershed users Association proclamation, results have been realized in the region. Some of them are: - 489 watershed user associations (WsUA) organized with approved byelaw; - Among these 68 WsUA have their own legal personality; - 117 WsUA have their own office; - 110 WsUA opened Bank account; - 134 WsUA have stamps, use legal receipts for transactions with in their respective watersheds. AS underlined by the presenter, lack of grass root community organizations and free ranging livestock management are the main challenges for sustainable natural resource management in Amhara region. This presentation remarked on the ways forwards as such the adopting back yard livestock farming /controlled livestock management is a farming system change which demand comprehensive and concentrated efforts from different stakeholders considering its potential for: economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction reducing stunting. Hence, BLIF should be taken as top regional agenda supported with budget and pragmatic action plan and there need to be availability of strategic document for guiding the process. Following the three thematic presentations, discussion check list were issued for participants to enable them react on what was discussed in each of respective presentation. The same checklists were applied for all issues presented. Hence, the afternoon session of the Workshop followed a less traditional format than the morning‟s proceedings. It was designed to elicit the maximum contribution from all the participants, and consisted of three main sections and six breaks out groups, each aiming in different ways to promote reflection and deeper exploration of the thematic areas emerging from the morning‟s presentations and discussions. Each break out group was assigned a topic for discussion, an independent chairman, and someone with close knowledge of the particular thematic area to start of the discussion. The groups debated the questions for about an hour and then drew together the main threads for report back to the plenary session. A note-taker was provided for each group to help in this process and present to the plenary session. The Plenary sessions addressed reports from the breakout groups and concluding plenary discussion. The analysis of the synthesizing group has pointed out and recommended the researchable thematic areas of Natural resource, Livelihood and Institutional interventions. The variety and richness of discussion at the Workshop made it possible to draw together in the final discussion all the insights, observations and proposals for action to be done that had emerged during the course of the whole workshop time. For documentation of the event, the workshop participants have highlighted here some of the recurring themes of researchable areas and recommendations. The collective conclusions and recommendations from the workshop have drawn up a formidable agenda for action including indicating responsible bodies to lead the action. The expectation is that individuals and organizations will have been motivated by these discussions to take up the themes most appropriate to their own specific environment and create more developed plans of action. The necessary information, experiences, recommendations, and opinions forwarded and lessons learned from the workshop are presented in this report. The organizers have hoped that this agro-regional workshop will help to provide some useful insights and information for decision-making on sustainable management of natural resource and grazing exclosure. Invaluable specific recommendations and suggestions are made available in this report.