IGAD Directors of Conservation and Directors of Economic Planning Conference: “Environment and Natural Resources as a Core Asset in the IGAD Region for Wealth Creation, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainable Development”
IGAD - the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, and IUCN - The World Conservation Union are convening a major and high level conference on the importance of environment and natural resources in poverty reduction, wealth creation and sustainable development. This conference will be attended by senior (Director) level participation from the countries of the IGAD region (Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia) with some observers from neighbouring countries. It is expected that senior decision makers from the Ministries with responsibility for macro-economic planning (Ministries of Planning and National Development, Presidents Office, Ministries of Finance) and Conservation (Forestry, Wildlife, Environment, Fishery, Water, Range management). Other Ministries will also be invited, for example Agriculture and Health (with respect to HIV/AIDS and the use of herbal medicines), as well as some representation from civil society.
This conference which will be held at an appropriate conference centre on the Kenya coast during October 2007, will address the following major issues:
1. Livelihoods (wealth creation, poverty reduction): This will explore how natural resources are a core component of people's livelihoods in the region and make major contributions to the achievement of the MDGs and PRSPs;
2. Natural resource governance (rights, equity including gender, devolution): Devolved governance structures are becoming an increasingly important component in the region. This will be explored in the context of natural resource governance and how this improves rural people's livelihoods and reduces risk;
3. Market chains and value adding on Natural Resources: Rural people need to be better able to engage in the market place so that larger proportions of income from natural resources are trapped at the community levels. This theme will analyze the incentives and perverse incentives that either support or mitigate entry into such markets;
4. Natural resource economics and national accounting: Natural resources are a central aspect of rural people's livelihood strategies, yet are, to a large degree not reflected in national accounting, PRSP indicators and other measures of national growth. This theme will explore how this can be improved in practical ways, including Strategic Environment Assessments (SEA), and market and trade analysis; and
5. Emerging issues: There are a variety of emerging issues which have a potential important impact on the overall theme for the conference. These include Invasives, Climate change and adaptation, GMOs, Carbon trade, "food miles", pandemics such has HIV/AIDS, effects of globalization, and conflict and insecurity.
The Overall theme of the Conference is "Environment and Natural Resources as a Core Asset in the IGAD Region for Wealth Creation, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainable Development". While the purpose is to understand the extent to which environmental assets (goods and services) are important to livelihoods of people in the IGAD region and the extent to which such values are integrated into macro-economic planning (PRSPs) and so support national and regional delivery on the MDGs.
There are four main Objectives for senior decision makers in National Planning and Conservation related Ministries to:
1. Create Awareness and understand of the importance of the environment, and in particular the natural resources in improving the livelihoods of people in the IGAD region;
2. Demonstrate the importance of the environment and natural resource base as a key asset in livelihoods (PRSPs, MDGs, performance - indicators);
3. Focus and explore linkages and possible interventions with existing instruments and facilities; and
4. Discuss and agree to actions that will need to be undertaken to improve the integration of the environmental goods and services into macro-economic planning and PRSP performance towards the achievement of the MDGs.
In preparation for the conference national situation papers will be prepared by consultants. These will be summarized in focused two page summary sheets. A regional synthesis will also be provided and summarized.
This is a technical meeting designed to explore the interface between livelihood improvement and sustainable development and so to the achievement of both the MDGs and PRSPs in the countries in the region. It will agree on a variety of suggested actions and interventions for implementation at both national and regional levels.