Using scenarios and mapping to support sustainable agricultural policy development, a guidance document
The distribution of threats from future agricultural development to biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Lake Victoria Basin: Implications for policy
The Lake Victoria Basin provides ecosystem services supporting the livelihoods of millions of people. The Basin is home to numerous terrestrial and freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas that include unprotected wetlands and forest habitats, as well as protected forest reserves and national parks covering various habitat types. In recent years the lake is increasingly under threat from development pressure, including agriculture expansion and unsustainable utilization of wetlands and forests in the catchment. Population is increasing rapidly, as is access to commodity markets (e.g. through infrastructure development), which will likely lead to further pressures on key biodiversity and ecosystems in the Lake Victoria Basin.
Yet, it is impossible to predict economic, political and social conditions and how they will influence demands for land and resources in the medium to long-term future. In addition, how these conditions influence impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services will vary in time and space. In order to prioritise and focus action and develop more robust and “future proof” policies, decision makers need knowledge and tools to help them consider the effects of different potential trajectories of human-induced landscape change on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
In this project, we applied to the Lake Victoria basin a suite of activities integrating three important tools when it comes to planning for future sustainability in agricultural development: multi-stakeholder participation, scenarios and mapping.
This project assessed potential threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services from agricultural development in the Lake Victoria Basin under different future socio-economic scenarios, and sought to increase the capacity of different stakeholders in the region to interpret and use such information, and to have an understanding of the data and methods underlying the information.
The methods and results of the spatial analyses were presented, discussed and complemented with expert knowledge during multi-stakeholder workshops involving participants from all five countries within the basin: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The results were used to review selected national agricultural policies and develop recommendations to make them more robust and adaptable to achieve their intended outcomes even under unpredictable future circumstances, and to support regional harmonisation.
National follow-up workshops to incorporate recommendations into policies under review were held in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Finally, an open information and training workshop on using scenarios to consider biodiversity and ecosystem services in plans and policies for agricultural development was held at the African Great Lakes Conference in 2017, in order to disseminate the approach to a wider audience.
Based on the project experience, a guidance document was developed setting out how socio-economic scenarios and mapping of their implications for biodiversity and ecosystem services can be used to support the development of more robust and sustainable policies.
Marieke Sassen, who has experience in interdisciplinary research on conservation and development, mapping and scenario development, led this project with help from Lucy Wilson. Arnout van Soesbergen and Andy Arnell developed and implemented the spatial framework for assessing potential impacts of future land-use change on biodiversity. Sarah Darrah provided support in scenario guided policy reviews and spatial mapping.
This work was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. UNEP-WCMC worked with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Kassel University, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Albertine Rift Conservation Society (ARCOS) and other partners, to develop and quantify socio-economic scenarios for each region, model scenario-driven land-use change and engage with national stakeholders and policy processes.