Forest4Climate&People head ‘up north’

On 10th – 16th November 2021, Forest4Climate&People’s team members Sanda Rakotomalala and Mirindra Rakotoarisoa went to the Mahavavy-Kinkony Complex (CMK) new protected area to support the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD) in their work towards reforming Madagascar’s Environmental and Social Management Framework for protected areas .

Interview with the president of the association of women beneficiaries of raffia-based handicraft activities, in the Benetsy sector. The interview was about the process used to shape the activities and their perceptions of the implementation of the social safeguard measures they are benefiting from.

In light of the results of a series of Protected Area Assessments carried out by the MEDD and national workshops on protected area governance in 2020, the MEDD has been working to update protected area management instruments – including the Environmental and Social Management Framework (CGES) – with a particular focus on the sustainable use of natural resources and the effective participation of local people in the implementation of conservation policies.

Through a partnership with the Fondation pour les Aires Protégées et la Biodiversité de Madagascar (FAPBM), with additional funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund to the project "Reconciling sustainable management of New Protected Areas (NPAs) with poverty reduction", our team is using the results of our previous research work to support the MEDD in the reform of the CGES of Madagascar's PAs. The reform process is based on a participatory and inclusive approach with all relevant stakeholders so that the framework can correspond to the real needs on the ground and the challenges of environmental and social management of PAs in Madagascar.

Thus, we work closely with key actors – PA managers such as Madagascar National Parks, the department in charge of protected areas within the MEDD, ONE (National Environmental Agency), and relevant technical and financial partners and civil society partners, such as USAID Hay Tao and Natural Justice – through  consultations and regular working meetings.

The objective of this visit to the CMK was to test a prototype tool for monitoring the implementation of an Environmental and Social Management Plan (PGES). Indeed, such a tool must accompany the CGES to ensure its implementation throughout Madagascar's PA system. The PGES determines the measures for managing the environmental and social impacts of the PA. The ESMP is thus the site-specific plan for each PA, based on the general provisions in the CGES.

The Mahavavy Kinkony Complex PA was a choice site firstly because it is a category V site. Indeed, as a Harmonious Protected Landscape, the interactions between man and nature within the CMK aim to contribute to the maintenance of biodiversity and aesthetic, cultural and spiritual values and to economic and social development. The PA is located within six (06) Communes in the District of Mitsinjo which is very well known for its agricultural and industrial vocation. Indeed, onion and sugar cane cultivation are key activities in this district, and the COMPLANT sugar factory is located within the boundaries of the PA. CMK is also a mixed PA with several terrestrial and marine habitats. Finally, Asity, the manager, has shown a particular interest in informing the CGES reform process through its experience in implementing and renewing its PGES.

The monitoring tool was developed to assess whether the execution of the PGES complied with the guidelines of the operational documents. To test it, we conducted interviews with the different actors involved in the implementation of the PGES. The interviews focused on their participation in the assessment of impacts and planning of safeguards measures, the implementation of these measures, particularly through development projects, their participation in decision-making processes and consultation activities, and the constraints and limitations of each actor's participation.

This visit enabled us to come up with recommendations for improving the monitoring tool on the basis of technical and methodological needs and the actual situations of monitoring agents in the field. It also reinforced the need for a national database system to strengthen the monitoring of social safeguards in PAs at the central level of the MEDD and ONE and to allow for the exchange of good practices for the entire national PA network as requested by the managers. Also, combining these results with those of the reflection work with key actors, we came up with recommendations for the structure and general content of this database. This work will continue during our new Darwin Initiative funded project “Mirari: Strengthening managers’ and local communities’ capacity for more resilient and equitable conservation”. You can read more about this project here.

Sanda Rakotomalala interviews the chief of the Antongomena Bevary Fokontany on his involvement in the decision making and the implementation of the social safeguards measures
Example of other social safeguard measures implemented in CMK: Fishponds and vegetable crops in the back
Meeting with Asity’s team and the board of MMZ, the local communities’ platform - who is the co-manager of the CMK - to discuss the general management of the PA, the implementation process and status of the social safeguard plan

Tree nurseries were established to supply forest restoration activities and provide incomes for local people who are managing the nurseries.

Publication date: 17 November 2021