Just Transitions towards Land Degradation Neutrality: Tenure Rights for Soil Restoration



TMG Research ThinkTank for Sustainability

Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Republic of Kenya
Ministry of Planning and Development, Republic of Benin
Department of Forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy & Mining, Republic of Malawi
Ministre de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable, République de Madagascar
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Time: Friday, 28. January 2022, 08:00 a.m. – 09:00 a.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 09:00 a.m. – 09:30 a.m.

Languages: English, German, French

It starts with people: The human rights imperative for achieving large-scale restoration targets

The climate and biodiversity crises demand fast restoration responses at scale. Yet, large-scale responses carry a risk for smallholder farmers. Often, their land rights are not yet recognised. Earlier experiences show that large-scale restoration involves the risk of alienating people of their lands (e.g., land conflicts in the context of programmes on Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Well-intended restoration targets might lead to land conflicts.

In view of these experiences, Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification adopted a decision on land tenure that establishes a link between national targets to achieve land degradation neutrality (LDN) and the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Land Governance.

Together with partners from Benin and Kenya, TMG Research mapped legitimate land tenure rights of communities that are living in forest areas that are subject of national LDN plans. The results are clear. As of now, there is insufficient recognition of communities’ land rights. This threatens not only people’s livelihoods but also undermines restoration targets.

The GFFA expert panel highlighted that there is recognition by Governments that restoration and people’s land rights are often addressed in isolation of each other. Further, there is a strong interest by governments in identifying ways to realize synergies between landscape restoration and people’s rights.

In view of the current debate on net-zero policies to achieve climate neutrality, this recognition could not be more timely. While there is a fierce debate about the role of net-zero policies in achieving the Paris Climate Agreement, associated investments are already planned. There is no shortcut. Landscape restoration needs to contribute to the progressive realization of people’s rights. Otherwise, it will fail to deliver on biodiversity and climate targets and to protect the livelihoods of those who are already bearing the brunt of these crises.

Responsible Land Governance in LDN Programmes in Benin

Responsible Land Governance in Kenya


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Alexander Müller is a former FAO Assistant Director-General (2006-2013) and State Secretary for Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture, Germany (2001 -2005).

He has vast experience in global sustainability governance, as inter alia: Chair of the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition; member of the UN Environment Management Group; and Lead, Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Land, and TEEBAgriFood.

Panel Guests

Michael Krake is Director for Sustainable supply chains, food and rural development at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Since 2002, Mr Krake has held various positions in the German Federal Government. Before his current post, he headed the Directorate for Private sector, trade, employment and digital technologies, also at the BMZ.

From 2007 to 2012, Mr Krake lived and worked in East Africa. In Kenya, he was regional co-ordinator of the BMZ’s programme for drought resilience in the Horn of Africa and, at the German embassy in Uganda, he was head of development corporation.

Before joining the BMZ, Michael Krake was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. He attended university in Bonn, Germany, and in New York, U.S.A., and is a graduate economist.

As the Director of Reforestation, Landscape, and Forest Management, Razafindrahanta’s focus lay on sustainable land management, soil and watershed protection and the development of the management plan of landscapes and forests. She also works in reforestation, fire management and civic education.
As the Focal Point of Global Soil Partnerships, Razafindrahanta represents Madagascar on soil activities. She leads a sustainable land management initiative and a green centuries project in Southern Madagascar.
In her role as a Focal Point on Reforestation with Imperial Brands Madagascar, the establishment of botanic parks in five regions in Madagascar is one of her responsibilities. She is also the interlocutor between the private sector and the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development on implementing reforestation measures.

Lucy Wambui Ng’ang’a is the Lead Expert and Formulator of the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Implementation Framework 2018-2027, an implementing tool for the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Strategy launched in October 2018.
As a focal point and coordinator, Ng’ang’a supported the integration of the agriculture sector into the National Adaptation Plan (NAPs), an initiative supported by UNDP/FAO 2016 to 2018.
Furthermore, Ng’ang’a headed the Kenyan delegation to the 14th Session of Conference of Parties (COP 14) to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in New Delhi, India (2019). She also coordinated the Kenyan country position paper for the 24th session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice and the 3rd Session of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2021).

Alastaire Sèna Alinsato served the Ministry of Planning and Development (Benin) in several key functions, for instance, as the Director of Coordination and Monitoring of Policies to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (2013 – 2016).
For the Ministry at the Presidency of the Republic Benin, Alinsato worked as a Scientific Assistant to the President of the Economic Analysis Council and later as the Director of Coordination and Monitoring of Policies for the Implementation of the MDGs and SDGs.
Furthermore, he was the Special Advisor to the High-Level Panel of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Post 2015 Development Agenda (2012-2013). As the editor-in-chief, he submitted Benin’s Voluntary National Contribution to High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs in 2017 and 2018.

As the Deputy Director of Forestry (Zone Manager for the Eastern Zone), Teddie Kamato has multiple responsibilities such as the empowerment of communities in conservation activities, the mapping of forestry resources and the promotion of tree planting and rehabilitation of degraded areas. He is also the Focal Point for Forest Landscape Restoration Program in Malawi.

As the Focal Point for the REDD+ Programm in Malawi (2017 to date), he is responsible for developing the REDD+ strategy, coordinating REDD+ activities, and managing the Malawi REDD+ Program.

Within his role as the UNCCD Focal point, Teddie Kamoto coordinates UNCCD activities in Malawi, reports to the UNCCD secretariat and develops project proposals to support the achievement of Land Degradation Neutrality.

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