The impact of five years Shared Resources Joint Solutions

Between 2016 and 2020, IUCN NL worked together with WWF Netherlands and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protect climate resilience, water supply and food security in 16 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Over 200 local NGOs and civil society organisations played a crucial role in achieving this. This article provides an overview of the potential magnitude of the direct impact that was realised within the five years of the programme Shared Resources, Joint Solutions. The analytical report can be downloaded at the bottom of this article.

Sustainable forestry

Thanks to the efforts of our local partner organisations, who collaborated with various stakeholders such as local communities, businesses and the government, almost 3 million hectares of forest is now under sustainable governance. ‘Sustainable forestry contributes to a decrease in deforestation, enhanced carbon sinks and increased climate resilience of ecosystems,’ Maxime Eiselin explains. ‘Additionally, many communities are dependent on products from the forest, like honey, nuts or rattan. By using these natural resources in a sustainable way, they can continue to secure their livelihoods.’

Sustainable food production

Sustainable governance is not only important in forested landscapes, but also in food production areas. In areas where crops are grown, fish is caught or cattle grazes, nature is often exploited. ‘The world population is increasing and eating habits are changing. With so many mouths to feed, we have to ensure that ecosystems remain intact,’ says Eiselin. ‘Since the beginning of the programme, our partners were able to convert about 100.000 hectares of food production areas to sustainable use. Through this, we contribute to long-term food security.’

Integrated water management

‘Nineteen large rivers flow through the landscapes we work in. Together, these rivers have almost the same amount of water discharge as the Amazon River,’ says Eiselin. ‘But in many areas the water security is under pressure because of the large demand for water, for example for irrigation or because of the construction of hydropower plants. Pollution, for example as a result of mining waste, also poses a risk.’

To ensure that all water users, from households and companies to nature, have year-round access to sufficient, good-quality water, it is important that the water usage of the entire river basin is aligned between all stakeholders.

For this reason, our local partners gathered with the authorities and other stakeholders, to make joint plans for integrated water management. Currently, there is an operational plan for integrated water management in 18 river basins. ‘As a result of this, about 510.000 million hectares of river basins are managed sustainably and the inhabitants of these areas, about 218.000 people, have access to clean water throughout the year.’

Inhabitants benefit from improved governance  

Through effective advocacy, our partners have realized a total of almost 38 initiatives for sustainable water management with governments and companies. Impressive results were also achieved on the level of food security and climate resilience: 52 action plans and policies contribute to food security and our partners realized almost 77 policy improvements by conserving forest for better climate resilience.

At least 443.000 people reap the benefits from this: because of sustainable governance they will have continued access to fertile soil, clean water and a healthy environment.

Habitats of endangered species

Not only humans, but also other species benefit from good governance. ‘Almost 400 endangered species inhabit the landscapes,’ says Eiselin. ‘They benefit from sustainable governance of their habitat. In the past four years, 199 improvements in policies and practices that contribute to this have been realized.’ In Aceh (Indonesia) alone, this has led to the reduction of extinction risk of 125 endangered species. In the Soalala landscape in Madagascar, 119 endangered species benefit from reduced extinction risk though improved protection of their habitat.

Future proof

In 26 landscapes, we brought a diverse range of stakeholders together to take care of sustainable social and economic development, using a landscape approach. ‘We see that the efforts from local NGOs and civil society organisations have an impact on the vitality of people and nature,’ says Eiselin. ‘By uniting the interests of governments, companies and indigenous communities and matching them to the carrying capacity of nature, we contributed to future proof governance structures, in which biodiversity is conserved and nature gets sufficient time to recover so that it can keep delivering important ecosystem services. Right now and in the future.’

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Maxime Eiselin
Senior Expert Nature-based Solutions