Chapter

Ecosystems & Climate Crisis

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ILC played a role in these changes. Continue reading the report to find out how.

The Climate Crisis is the gravest threat facing the planet.

Its consequences will be felt most by the most vulnerable: rural dwellers, small-scale producers, people who live in or close to poverty, and marginalised communities.

Yet these groups — ILC’s core constituents — are already developing many skills and practices which the wider global community should support and learn from, in terms of emissions reduction, adaptation to climate change, and mitigation of its effects.

Here we profile some of the projects which are building resilience and driving change, protecting ecosystems, and those whose livelihoods depend upon them.

Who do you trust with healing our planet?

In 2021, ILC partnered with the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration to bring our collective perspective on land rights to this campaign run by ILC members UNEP and FAO.

Notable highlights

  • Creation of water roundtables in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Venezuela to facilitate dialogue between governments and CSOs and push for the construction of public cisterns
  • Plataforma Semiaridos contributed to successfully guarantee greater access to water to 2500 peasant families and 5000 indigenous families in the Chaco region
  • New national forest law decentralised decision making powers over forest rights in Albania
  • ILC became official partner of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, providing a platform to promote the centrality of land rights for climate action

Dreaming of water in Argentina

The semiarid region where ILC Semiáridos initiative operates, covers 160 million hectares and 52 million people.

Member Story

What do land, mountain and water mean? If you don't have the land you are nothing, the mountain is our lung. And water...it is life. You, me, our children, our grandchildren - if we don't have water, how can we live? - Nestor Monte

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In Latin America, semiarid regions are ecosystems where rainfall is less than the water lost by evaporation, with heavily marked wet and dry seasonal cycles and large temperature variations.

These regions - in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, the north-east of Brazil, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and Venezuela - harbour great cultural biodiversity, due to a wealth of natural resources and the presence of indigenous peoples and rural communities.

In Argentina, the Semiáridos initiative was crucial for designing the Law on Water Access and Management, which was presented to the Salta Government during the Water Forum in November 2019, and adopted a month later.

The law guarantees greater access to water to 2,500 peasant families and 5,000 indigenous families in the semiarid Chaco province.

The CBI has additionally contributed to the development of 2,000 cisterns which have helped both rural communities and indigenous peoples in the Chaco access clear, running water for themselves and their livestock.

Case Study

Forestry and farming in Albania

Albania’s forests are an important national resource, but centralised control over many decades failed to protect them.

A study by the National Federation of Communal Forests and Pastures of Albania (NFCFPA) shows that forest renewal is 2-3 times higher when the forest is administered by farmers and local forest users rather than included in common areas or administered by local government.

A study by the National Federation of Communal Forests and Pastures of Albania (NFCFPA) shows that

forest renewal is 2-3 times higher when the forest is administered by farmers and local forest users

rather than included in common areas or administered by local government.

Through the National Engagement Strategy in Albania, ILC members and its partners have played a key role in a national Forestry Reform Process, conducting local level consultations that, in turn, informed national dialogue and decision making

An important milestone was the passing of a new national Forest Law in 2020 after many years of work by the NES with parliamentarians and government ministries. The law is having a profound effect on farmers, women, and all forest users, decentralising decision making powers and control over forest rights to local municipalities. Crucially, the law allows legal use of forests by communities, permitting them to sell non-timber forest products which were previously illegal.

Member Story

Florin uses the forest to fulfil his family needs; firewood, fodder for the animal and food. His family also produces seedlings for forest trees, helping with forest regeneration. In addition to acting as Chairman of the Forest and Pasture Users’ Association for his region, Florin is also an active member of the National Engagement Strategy of Albania.

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Florian Torba is a farmer and forest user in the Peshkopi region of north-eastern Albania. More than 50 percent of the country is pasture land or forest, but using that land according to sustainable practices is not always straightforward. Like so many farmers, Florian depends on the forest for food, fodder and fuel. But a lack of basic infrastructure, like roads and irrigation, hampers development.

NES Albania is helping to build trust and partnerships between government and civil society to set priorities and implement solutions to their country’s most difficult land‑related issues.

It’s also offering technical support to farmers like Florian and neighboring communities to learn how to more effectively plant seedlings, including for acacia and nut trees, medicinal plants, and non-timber forest products, as well as increase the bee population of the area. Together with the municipalities, the local community and the support of GEF Albania, 7000 poplar seedlings were planted close to the main river bank of Devoll, to protect it from erosion and flooding.

For the full picture on how ILC members and partners are securing the rights of forest users in Albania, click here.

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