During the week of October 17-21, 2022, a team from the ‘Central Component’ of the EU-funded Landscapes For Our Future programme (LFF) visited the islands of Saint Lucia and Grenada as part of a learning mission to the OECS. As the first such mission in the region, the LFF team sought to understand the environmental and cultural contexts of landscape management in the region by conducting field visits and facilitating stakeholder mapping exercises with beneficiaries of the OECS GCCA+ Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) Project. The team met with senior forestry and agriculture officials, NGOs, select farmers, and private sector interests in both islands. The team, representing a programme that supports 22 ILM projects around the world, also hosted a workshop with OECS technical staff and national focal points responsible for the execution of the project.
The OECS GCCA+ ILM Project – which is funded by the European Union (EU) and being implemented by the OECS in nine of its Member States – seeks to optimize the contribution of land to agriculture, food security, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, and the preservation of ecosystems and the essential services they provide. The project will ultimately strengthen the economic, social, and environmental resilience of Member States to the impacts of climate change and other hazards. This will be achieved through national interventions in participating Member States and through strategic technical partnerships, with institutions like CIFOR-ICRAF, the research organizations selected by the EU to implement LFF.
CIFOR-ICRAF is the merger of two non-profit, scientific institutions that conduct research on the most pressing challenges of forest, agroforestry and landscape management around the world, including OECS Member States. The team’s objectives for this initial mission included strengthening learning and collaboration between the seven ILM projects across Latin American and the Caribbean to better understand which stakeholder groups interact (or do not interact) in the landscape and project, their level of power and influence and the types of interactions with each other. The team sought to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by each project and identify the areas where they could provide technical support and learning tools to address context-specific challenges. Speaking about the visit, Peter Cronkleton, the LFF regional focal point and a senior Scientist with CIFOR said: “During this week, we are visiting Saint Lucia and going onto Grenada to talk to implementers that are working with Integrated Landscape Management to understand how they are using the concept, and how it is being applied on the ground.”
Natalia Cisneros, researcher with ICRAF, noted that there are significant challenges involved in executing a project of this nature and scope. “Although we’re only visiting Grenada and Saint Lucia on this occasion, we’ve already heard of some of the initiatives in the other countries, and there is a huge challenge. This is a very ambitious project because it has projects across nine different countries.” Despite these challenges, Ms. Cisneros was optimistic about the future outcomes. She added, “It will provide an interesting case for learning for the other 21 Integrated Landscape Management projects in the LFF programme.”
Head of the OECS Environmental Sustainability Division, Chamberlain Emmanuel, expressed the OECS Commission’s gratitude. “As an OECS Commission, we are very interested in advancing, prompting and pioneering approaches that will benefit our Member States.”
Integrated Landscape Management in the OECS will link agricultural practices, institutions, and policies with other activities at the entire landscape level, and will allow for (sustainable) multifunctional land use, and more informed decision-making based on evidence. ILM is based on the principles of participation, cooperation, and empowerment of communities in order to reconcile competing claims on a landscape. Its successful implementation is integral to the future economic and human development of OECS Member States.