Meeting with the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development

Three members of our team had the privilege to meet the new Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Dr Vahinala Raharinirina, on 25th February 2020. Our agenda was to introduce the Forest4Climate&People project and lay out how we can support the Ministry’s efforts around green diplomacy. We specifically outlined the critical importance of a field training course targeting high-level decision makers and early-career practitioners on the social impacts of forest conservation and restoration programmes. Such training would considerably build the recipients capacity in international negotiations and increase their understanding of these social issues (example, social safeguards, land tenure, access to and sharing of benefits) which would, hence, increase their likelihoods of receiving international support.

Dr Raharinirina is an environmental economist by training and has expressed her wholehearted support for such endeavours. She stated in a social media post that “our project team has a wealth of experiences on these social issues” and she and her Ministry are eager to work much more closely with researchers like us and benefit from their expertise.

Madagascar’s own promise is to restore four million hectares by 2030 under Bonn’s challenge. While government and international donors may recommend or even prescribe national guidelines and national restoration and conservation strategies, the adoption of new land use practices or conservation efforts and their sustainability in the long term are ultimately in local communities’ hands. The effectiveness of restoration and conservation efforts, therefore, depends on the extent to which social considerations are incorporated in policy design and practice, and these aspects lie at the heart of the Forest4Climate&People project.

Publication date: 4 February 2020