INRM Digest: December 2023 - January 2024 Biodiversity Conservation

USAID Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM)

Cross-sectoral expertise for complex development problems

While there has been much progress in overall economic prosperity around the world, the loss of biodiversity continues at an unprecedented rate. Growing environmental challenges, like biodiversity loss and climate change, have negative impacts on the natural systems that sustain global development.

To address these challenges, USAID has committed to conserving biodiversity through strategic actions to reduce threats and drivers and integrate biodiversity conservation with other development sectors. INRM supports USAID in achieving this goal by contributing the latest evidence to inform the upcoming USAID Biodiversity Policy update; advancing integrated biodiversity conservation solutions, such as researching the linkages between participatory natural resource management and democratic outcomes; providing data to support decision-making; providing biodiversity-related conflict reduction strategies; incorporating land and resource governance into biodiversity programming, and more.

See below for more details on INRM’s efforts and resources from across USAID to support integrated biodiversity conservation.

INRM’s support for biodiversity conservation

Assessing USAID’s 2014 Biodiversity Policy

The USAID Biodiversity Policy, launched in 2014, articulates the Agency’s vision for biodiversity conservation and provides high-level guidance for the Agency’s biodiversity programming, which totals $385 million in Fiscal Year 2023 and spans more than 60 countries. In order to inform updates to the Biodiversity Policy—a draft of which will be shared for public comment this month—the Agency’s Biodiversity Division requested that INRM assess implementation of the 2014 Policy. The assessment explored questions such as “What have been the successes and challenges of Policy implementation?” “Has the Agency met its own expectations?” And importantly, “How could the Biodiversity Policy be revised to address future needs and priorities?”

As part of the assessment, INRM reviewed more than 75 USAID-funded biodiversity activities and interviewed 35 current and former USAID staff. The assessment found that the Agency had high compliance with the requirements of the Biodiversity Code and increased funding, staffing, and technical assistance for priority Missions. The Agency also increased the number of integrated activities that combined funding from biodiversity conservation and other development sectors and leveraged more than US$375 million in private-sector funding through the establishment of over 100 public-private partnerships. Key areas for improvement include improving the evidence base for program impacts, integrating climate change considerations into activity design to improve the climate resilience of biodiversity, and increasing engagement with Indigenous Peoples, women, and youth.

To learn more about this activity, contact Jenny Kane at jkane@usaid.gov

Strengthening democracy and protecting nature by elevating community voices

Participatory natural resource management, or PNRM, has played a role in averting natural resource crises, reducing conflict, and bringing communities together to participate in local governance. PNRM can help achieve environmental goals while contributing to positive democratic outcomes. It can be an important tool for promoting inclusive development, taking into account the distinct priorities of those affected by development programs, including women, Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI+ people, and other marginalized groups. But like most tools and approaches in sustainable development, sometimes it works well, and other times it falls short. What are the conditions and actions that make PNRM work? INRM recently published an issue brief, technical note, and blog post introducing opportunities and challenges for strengthening democracy through PNRM.

To learn more about this activity, contact Kyle Rearick at krearick@usaid.gov

Facilitating conservation finance roundtables

To catalyze the scale of finance needed to conserve, restore, and sustainably manage the world’s forests and other critical carbon sinks, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Department of State, and USAID are inviting leading private sector companies and other organizations to explore collaboration through a series of Innovative Finance for Nature Roundtables. The roundtables—held in Washington, DC; Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire; and Singapore, and planned for Sao Paulo, Brazil in the fall—seek to establish partnerships and make participants aware of the U.S. Government tools and resources that can help facilitate conservation investments. The roundtables seek to identify high-potential forest conservation, restoration, and adjacent investments that reduce land-based carbon emissions and protect terrestrial, freshwater, and marine resources while delivering economic, social, and environmental co-benefits. INRM is providing workshop design, facilitation, and coordination support for the roundtables.

To learn more about this activity, contact Olaf Zerbock at ozerbock@usaid.gov

Measuring conservation impact in Eastern Kafue, Zambia

As part of its monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning support to USAID’s HEARTH program, INRM is conducting an evaluation of the USAID/Zambia Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance (EKNA) Activity, implemented in several Game Management Areas that border Kafue National Park by a consortium of public and private sector partners. This evaluation will help fill gaps in the evidence base given the lack of counterfactual-based studies on the effectiveness of the Activity’s main interventions. As one of the first USAID-funded impact evaluations of a cross-sectoral program, this presents an important opportunity to rigorously measure the effect of integrated programming on both human well-being and biodiversity conservation outcomes, leveraging data from SMART monitoring, camera traps, and remote sensing.

To learn more about this activity, contact Caleb Stevens at castevens@usaid.gov and Jassiel M’Soka at USAID/Zambia

Supporting sustainable aquaculture in Madagascar

INRM completed the baseline survey and report of the USAID/Madagascar Nosy Manga activity (also part of USAID’s HEARTH portfolio), providing baseline social indicators and background information on target communities to inform implementation plans. Nosy Manga is an alliance of two local aquaculture companies that invest in restorative aquaculture, working with international conservation NGO partners and the Locally Managed Marine Area national network. Nosy Manga will scale up a business model that combines industrial and community-based farming, which was previously developed in the Atsimo-Andrefana region to new landscapes in Mamabay and Menabe.

INRM is now creating a digital social monitoring tool to hand over to the implementing partners to continue to track these indicators. INRM also conducted a feasibility assessment and supported design for the measurement of biophysical outcomes, including outcomes related to biodiversity, conservation, and greenhouse gas emissions.

To learn more about this activity, contact Ramy Razafindralambo at USAID/Madagascar

Securing land rights to protect biodiversity

Inclusive land use planning and land and resource governance (LRG) are cost-effective ways to empower women, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities and also to achieve significant biodiversity conservation gains. LRG underpins conservation strategies either through formal protected areas or through collectively managed lands, which are essential for long-term conservation and which can provide important socioeconomic benefits. Yet land rights in and around many key conservation geographies remain insecure or wholly unregistered. USAID’s Mapping Approaches for Securing Tenure (or MAST), a blend of participatory mapping approaches and flexible technology that allows communities to document and secure their land and resource rights, can be a critical tool for achieving biodiversity conservation and other environmental goals. Over the past 6 months, INRM staff have traveled to Tanzania and Zambia, to meet with USAID’s biodiversity conservation implementing partners on the ground and identify and refine existing use cases to apply MAST in support of inclusive and equitable natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.

To learn more about this activity, contact Ioana Bouvier at ibouvier@usaid.gov

Curating biodiversity resources in the ENRM Resource Library

Are you looking for resources to help integrate the environment and natural resource management into your activity design and implementation? Do you want to learn more about how biodiversity conservation intersects with your sector’s work? The ENRM Resource Library is a one-stop shop, providing a curated collection of environment and natural resource management resources, all in one location. USAID technical experts from across development sectors suggested resources that will benefit colleagues working on programs in a range of areas, including resources for integrating biodiversity considerations into your sector’s programming.

Use the library to quickly find ENRM resources across the USAID Program Cycle and within different sectors or development themes. Within each section, find information on how to connect with sectoral experts who can provide technical assistance on specific topics.

To learn more about this activity, contact Jenny Kane at jkane@usaid.gov

USAID resources on integrated biodiversity conservation activities

ENRM Integration Essentials: Biodiversity

This resource provides key information about biodiversity integration across the Program Cycle, including top-line goals, mandates, requirements, and examples of integrated programming.

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Incorporating Land and Resource Governance into Biodiversity Programming

This reference sheet outlines existing evidence on the links between LRG and biodiversity conservation, providing practical guidance for integrating LRG considerations across the Program Cycle.

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Integrating Biodiversity and Sustainable Landscapes in USAID Programming

This document explores both the benefits and potential challenges of biodiversity integration to help USAID staff make informed choices about whether and how to integrate funding, objectives, and/or considerations.

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USAID’s Indigenous Peoples’ Guidance on Biodiversity

This resource provides a practical tool for USAID Missions and Operating Units to more effectively engage and partner with Indigenous Peoples in natural resources management and biodiversity conservation activities.

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Biodiversity Integration in Practice: A Case Study of USAID in Western Honduras

This case study illustrates the approach and process used by USAID's Honduras Mission to integrate its biodiversity, education, food security and nutrition, and governance sectors.

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Biodiversity Integration in Practice: A Case Study of USAID in Mozambique

This case study illustrates the approach and process used by USAID’s Mozambique Mission to integrate its biodiversity, education, food security and nutrition, and health sectors through the Integrated Gorongosa and Buffer Zone (IGBZ) project.

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Connect with INRM

Buying into INRM is flexible and straightforward. For more information on how INRM can support cross-sectoral work at your Bureau, Mission, or Operating Unit, please contact COR Janet Nackoney at jnackoney@usaid.gov and/or ACOR Olaf Zerbock at ozerbock@usaid.gov.

Thanks, and have a great month!

Janet Nackoney, Contracting Officer Representative, USAID INRM