Tenure security critical to landscape restoration, livelihoods and fighting climate change: risk expert

28 Oct 2019

ACCRA, Ghana (28 October 2019) – Tenure security is a critical element in landscape restoration that leads to greater agricultural production, better livelihoods and helps fight climate change.

Clear and secure land tenure is “extremely important” to restoration work because disputes over land ownership and control create uncertainty and drive away investment, says Amath Pathe Sene, environment and climate lead for West and Central Africa at the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) where he manages climate, environment and social risks.

Investors are deterred from funding potential projects and work involving landscape restoration when risk assessments reveal insecure land titles and unclear land control says Sene, who will be a key speaker in discussions on landscape restoration issues at the Global Landscapes Forum Accra 2019 conference 29-30 October.

Sene leads climate finance mobilization for the West and Central Africa region as well as deals with various operations and safeguards related to sustainable tree crops, value chains and sustainable management of ecosystems in that region.

“If you want peace, stability and development, you need to solve tenure issues. If you want financing and investment, you need to solve that; if you want partnership, collaboration with others, you need to solve that,” says Sene.

As a panelist during the GLF plenary session The Decade to Act on 30 October, Sene will join in discussions on the upcoming U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Many see that Decade, which begins in 2021, as a global call to mobilize the political and financial support necessary to restore the world’s deforested and degraded ecosystems and to support the wellbeing of 3.2 billion people around the globe currently impacted by land degradation.

Ensuring secure land tenure and appropriate governance are particularly essential n situations involving women and young people, who are frequently disadvantaged by customary or local practices that favor men.

Marginalized groups such as youth and women in land-dependent communities cannot achieve decent livelihoods without land and access to productive resources. Research by Farming First with the FAO Gender Department shows that women comprise almost half of the agricultural labor force in developing countries; and about 80 percent of those women depend on agriculture as the primary source of their livelihoods. Meanwhile, young people are increasingly leaving their homes to find work in cities when they cannot access land or base their future in agriculture.

“Smallholder farming is a business, and you can make money from this,” says Sene. “But you cannot function as a business if you do not have ownership of the land, or if you don’t have any rights on that land.”

Developing strong governance is another essential factor in attracting and securing investment in agriculture, which is a major source of livelihoods worldwide and a crucial piece of any integrated landscape restoration and development action.

“We look at agriculture from a sustainable, competitive and climate resilient perspective, promoting low emissions to achieve the Paris Agreement climate goals,” says Sene.

Sene has also worked with the World Centre for Sustainable Development (RIO+Centre) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he led as Policy Specialist on UNDP’s global policy agenda on Poverty, Environment and Climate. Before that, he was Regional Programme Advisor for the joint UNDP-UNEP Poverty and Environment Global Initiative based in UNEP Africa Office in Nairobi.


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