Between 2002 and 2017, the number of environmental activists murdered worldwide increased fourfold, and in 2018 alone 164 environmental activists were murdered. This was one of the many distressing facts discussed at the 2019 Global Landscapes Forum, held in Bonn, Germany from June 21-22. The goal of the GLF 2019 was to act as a platform for the voices of the most marginalized groups in the global environmental crisis. These include local communities, women, youth, and especially Indigenous Peoples.
The art of doing starts with an action says my logic professor during the start of his lectures. He often mentioned that we need to think global but act local. I never truly understood this statement until I attended the Global Soil Week 2019 conference.
The conference attracted different partners and players who converged in Nairobi at ICRAF Campus to talk about care and concern for soil. The conversation started from a brief history as to why the plight of soil was neglected and yet, how important it is in the achievement of many global goals.
I can never forget the day, for it was a Sunday afternoon. I used to, and still look forward to such afternoons because the coffee celebration is always special. Drinking the beverage with family and friends is a blessing, and the snacks are sweet too! I was just sipping from my cup, minding my own sweet business when Mother asked:
"When spiders' webs unite, can they tie up a lion?”
I tried wrapping my mind around that, and responded with a simple, "No!"
Delegates at Global Soil Week 2019 push for effective land governance, local governance structures, extension services and finance and markets to ensure sustainable and climate resilient agriculture. For Africa’s development agenda to succeed, enabling environments are needed that encourage inclusive and sustainable rural development, with special attention and dedication to the climate crisis. Inclusive investments in sustainable land management will ensure food security for smallholders.
During the last week of May, scientists, researchers, development partners and government officials from various African countries gathered at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Gigiri for the Global Soil Week. The conference organized by TMG Research- a German applied research organization under the theme of ‘Creating an Enabling Environment for Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Agriculture in Africa, analyzed successful cases in the continent and how they could be upscaled. Of particular interest was the conditions under which the projects were successful.
Sometimes courageous solutions come from the unexpected. The government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has announced the abolition of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As early as 2024, farmers are to use only biological methods to make their land fertile and combat pests. Six million farmers must learn Zero Budget Natural Farming by then.
In Kenya, a majority of rural households depend directly or indirectly on agriculture, mainly through subsistence farming. But pressure on land is increasing in rural areas, as demand for settlement space, area to produce food and grow cash crops is growing resulting in land scarcity. In Kakamega, Kenya’s second most populous county after Nairobi, the average land size per family currently sits at just 1.5 acres.
Contributing to the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and the #LandRightsNow mobilization week, the IASS Global Soil Forum releases a short film with experiences from civil society, government and scientists on the implementation status of the Tenure Guidelines.