Unity aspirations give birth to Global Landcare Alliance
Landcare began in Australia in 1986 when landholder groups initiated community-based activities to protect and regenerate landscapes. Through its rapid and inexpensive ways of disseminating agroforestry practices among thousands of farmers, the voluntary community movement has been growing exponentially. It has been long expanded from Australia to New Zealand and the Philippines, and continues to spread to other countries including the United States, South Africa, Uganda and Tanzania among others.
Key landcare bodies saw it necessary to have one umbrella body that can unify and guide future direction. The culmination of a series of meetings resulted in the Global Landcare Alliance (GLA). Distinguished Board Research Fellow of the World Agroforestry Centre and GLA Chair Dr Dennis Garrity says “This now paves the way for more unified communication with the public, policymakers and donors, and offers an opportunity to build on the great momentum of international Landcare.”
GLA members will work in a cooperative way to initiate and coordinate activities, programs and training with communities in various countries interested in taking on the Landcare approach.
Dennis says “the formation of the alliance has been possible in part due to the efforts of a number of groups, including Australian Landcare International, the Secretariat for International Landcare and Landcare International.”
The chief bodies involved in the alliance are Australian Landcare International (ALI) which boasts more than 4000 community Landcare groups, 2000 Coastcare groups and many thousands of volunteers across the country and Landcare International which is based in Nairobi, Kenya.
As the alliance matures, its key guiding principles will be first and foremost to provide a unified voice on issues associated with the extension of Landcare. In this way, members are confident that GLA will help promote and support the Landcare movement throughout both developed and developing countries.
Proponents say Landcare practices appeal to each farmer’s innate interest in learning and sharing knowledge about new technologies that earn more money and conserve natural resources in order to spread sustainable agriculture through appropriate technologies, partnership building and institution building. They iterate that smallholder farmers play a crucial role in Landcare initiatives because they can make significant contributions to combating soil salinity and erosion through sound land management practices and sustainable productivity.
Landcare encourages collective action by landholders, businesses and communities. This partnership between government and the community is critical to sustainable management of the rural landscapes. It is seen as an effective way to improve land and water management through community action and useful partnerships between communities, governments, research bodies such as the World Agroforestry Centre, NGOs and corporates.
The objectives of the Alliance centers on the need to;
- - mainstream Landcare into global organisations and processes
- - work collaboratively with the Australian government on Landcare support
- - build a strong group of professionals to support Landcare
- - guide the development of country Landcare programs
- - promote research into international Landcare”
Dennis says “Our next steps will be to develop a unified mission statement and governance structure so that all parties are clear on their commitments before we engage with the wider community. I believe this marks another great step in the advancement of Landcare around the globe.”
Image credit: pasturetoprofit.blogspot.com