Natural resources are especially in Africa essential for maintaining or improving peoples livelihood. Despite the availability of many tools, expertise, local practices and indigenous knowledge, the concept of Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM) has hardly been brought into practice. Given the similarity with Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), we will learn from the large effort in the EU and Africa that has been invested in the last decade to improve integration of the expertise and the many existing tools. AFROMAISON will make use of what is available regarding INRM and will contribute to a better integration and fitting of the following key components of INRM at a meso-scale level:
- Landscape functioning (regarding the delivery, use and access to goods and services provided)
- Livelihood & socio-economic development (incl. vulnerability to global change)
- Indigenous knowledge and practices (to take local traditions, cultural norms, specific acceptance structures into account)
- Institutional strengthening and improved interaction between sectors, scales and communities.
For its success, active support of authorities and stakeholders at the meso-scale is essential; as well as a solid dissemination and capacity building strategy.
> A toolbox
The concept of AFROMAISON: The available tools and expertise as building blocks for the operational "house" of integrated natural resources management (INRM) (based on Overton et al., 2002). AFROMAISON links to the French word for "house" (maison).
The challenge of AFROMAISON is to provide a holistic toolbox and operational framework for INRM that can be applied in a variety of environmental and socio-economic conditions in Africa. At the same time, following a participatory analysis of opportunities and challenges, it provides participatory management options for operational INRM, which are embedded in local traditions and culture, and are scientifically sound. In order to achieve a tangible outcome, AFROMAISON focuses on the following three groups of tools:
Strategies for restoration and adaptation; covering improved water retention and storage, greater erosion prevention, land degradation prevention and desertification, soil carbon build-up and reducing deforestation and forest degradation
Economic tools and incentives; covering payments for ecosystem services, generation of employment and alternative income sources, testing operational rules for climate change adaptation funds and promoting environmental stewardship
Tools for spatial planning; covering tools for discussion and negotiation on alternative land use alternatives (trade-off analysis, multi-criteria) and spatially-explicit impact assessment.
Furthermore, external pressures are affecting the availability of natural resources. Many of the poorest people in the world typically are highly vulnerable to external shocks (e.g. drought, floods, famine, disease outbreaks). It will be assessed how their resilience can be increased and their vulnerability reduced through INRM. In order to do so, concrete adaptation measures will be formulated and their impact on ecosystem goods and services and livelihood will be validated at the meso-scale.
> Rationale behind the acronym
The acronym AFROMAISON has a triple meaning. Firstly, AFROMAISON links to the French word for ?house? (maison). As visualized by the pyramids the building blocks are the many tools, strategies, expertise and methodologies that are available for different components of INRM. Often, these building blocks are available, but scattered, hardly integrated and not operational at the meso scale. In AFROMAISON, we aim to make use of what is available as a starting point whilst going one step further than the mere compilation of available tools by looking into the integration of tools with a focus on the operational requirements of INRM.
Secondly, AFROMAISON refers to the MESO scale in Africa. Due to the relative youth of meso-scale authorities and institutes, their capacity for integrated natural resources management (INRM) needs to be strengthened. From a natural resources point of view, the meso-scale corresponds to a landscape , an ecosystem or a river (sub)basin. Yet, the landscape, the ecosystem or river basin as working unit for INRM is mostly not matching with the administrative boundaries and thus requires coordination between authorities at different levels and regions.
Thirdly, a house can be used as a daily life metaphor for the landscape. In a house, many people live under one roof, they need to share resources and find compromises when conflicts occur. Also, regular maintenance works need to be done to a house and in order to do so, sufficient capacity is needed. This is also the meaning of INRM: many people live in a landscape and have to share their resources.
The main outputs of AFROMAISON are a toolbox, short-term to long-term strategies, quick wins, methodologies and an operational framework for INRM. INRM intrinsically asks for cooperation, exchange of information and communication. As a key aspect to enhance the management capacity of sub-national authorities and communities, we aim to improve the exchange of information, contribute to filling the gaps and provide a platform for the sharing and geographical expansion of tools for integrated natural resource management.