"The Designing Integrated Financing Strategies (DIFS) training programme can be a complementary part and influential element of any National Action Programme (NAP) to implement the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)".
Mr Moghadassi, Deputy Head of Forestry and Range Organization for Iran, GM side-event: DIFS to combat desertification: experiences from North Africa, West Asia and Meso-America
One of the major bottlenecks in UNCCD implementation has been that while NAPs have identified priority actions for sustainable land management (SLM), the means of locating and mobilizing the relevant finance to implement these actions have been sorely lacking. Effectively navigating the various hurdles was the subject of a side event organized by the GM, DIFS to combat desertification: experiences from North Africa, West Asia and Meso-America.
Opening the side-event, the GM made a presentation outlining the systematic approach of the GM’s DIFS training programme, which enhances national competencies to improve investment flows for NAP implementation. While helping to mobilize the appropriate blend of funds – namely internal, external and innovative – the strategy also uncovers barriers associated with resource identification, allocation and disimbursment. A cornerstone of the training programme is strengthening teamwork among participants – including National Focal Points, ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Finance and International Cooperation and civil society organizations (CSOs) - from the same country and between countries, to enable them to jointly develop integrated financing strategies leading to an SLM investment framework through a process of learning-by-doing.
During the side event, country representatives themselves presented first-hand experience of undertaking the main components and interlinked activities of the training programmes. Mr Noureddine Kaabi, Director General for the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation of Tunisia, focused on the first steps in the process namely the need to identify the barriers, challenges and opportunities in resource allocation and the various entry points in mainstreaming SLM into national planning processes and overarching development frameworks. Presentations were then made on the role of DIFS in improving access to internal, external and innovative funding sources respectively by Mr Moghadassi; Mr Louis Spinosa, National Focal Point for Honduras; and Mr Roberto Motta, National Focal Point for Guatemala.
There is no ‘quick-fix’ to boost investments for SLM. Lebanon is a case in point, where financial resources for SLM have successfully been mobilized, supported by the capacity building and knowledge enhancing elements under the DIFS programme. This has culminated in an IFS Action Plan. During the side event Mr Hussein Nasrallah, National Focal Point for Lebanon, pointed to the fact that the programme had helped mobilize some USD 23 million from a variety of funding sources for SLM-related projects and programmes.
Momentum is rapidly growing around the DIFS programme. The GM has been approached by a number of development partners, including the United Nations Development Programme to integrate DIFS into their own programmes. Furthermore, the GM is planning to further assist new country Parties in the coming year, including in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries through the GM project scope / acp - financed by the European Commission’s EuropeAid.
It is hoped that DIFS will support the development of a critical mass of individuals within countries in taking the lead to advance resource mobilization in a country-driven process. A particularly encouraging recent example of this bearing fruit was indicated at the side event, where in Iran the DIFS training has instigated a capacity building ‘’domino effect’’ within the country: CSOs who participated in the Iran DIFS workshop are currently incorporating the same methodology and functioning as trainers-of-trainers to capacitate other CSOs at the local level. Replicating such efforts promises to yield very positive results for financing implementation of the Convention.
For more information:
Mr Roshan Cooke, Programme Coordinator, Asia and Pacific
Tel. +39 06 5459 2156
ro.cooke (at) global-mechanism.org
Mr Walid Nasr, Programme Officer, Asia & Pacific
Tel. +39 06 5459 2605
w.nasr (at) global-mechanism.org