Green Livelihoods Alliance

Green Livelihoods Alliance

This project focuses on local community capacity building and awareness raising, media awareness raising, coalitions and networking with Civil Society Organisations and social media advocacy to be able to mobilise public support for campaigning against the drivers of deforestation and to also contribute to public discourse on sustainable governance of forest landscapes

The project builds the capacity of local communities in the use of mobile technology in monitoring forest and mining operations, as a means of containing illegal logging and contributing to the implementation of the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement in Ghana. This is done through our “This is My Backyard” (TIMBY) project which is a key component under the GLA.

This will generate data that could influence decisions on day to day management of natural resources, improve detection and reporting of forest illegalities, to help identify risk areas quickly, identify abuses by companies and thus contribute to strengthening law enforcement, transparency and remediation. Through the project, local communities will gain increased capacity to claim their legal rights for benefit sharing in natural resource management sectors and for respect of other (human) rights in relation to land and natural resources. 

 Also together with GLA partners and other CSOs the project lobbies and advocates for reforms in the laws and policies governing the administration and management of natural resources in Ghana.

A basic premise of the GLA is that local communities play a key role in protecting and using the forests sustainably. Local knowledge for sustainable land-use integrated with global best practices will ensure that forests maintain their crucial ecosystem functions and continue to provide critical natural resources. Sustainable management of their lands and forests is in the communities’ interest because of their reliance on water, food, building materials, medicines and the natural processes that support their lives. The GLA asserts that three conditions are required for communities to manage their lands in a sustainable way:

  • Secure land tenure or access to land: to encourage conservation and sustainable management of lands and forests, and discourage illegal and damaging practices
  • Participation in government and private sector land-use decision-making processes: although participation may be written into legislation and policies, it is often not enforced, so that communities’ rights are ignored in favour of exploitation and profit
  • Other nature-based approaches for forest and land management to add to communities’ own traditional knowledge and techniques: agroforestry, agroecology, home gardens, natural forest regeneration and other methods are consistent with local knowledge and techniques, and contribute to sustaining the forests’ natural services. They are even more effective when combined with global best practices, but this does require technical skills and support and positive policy incentives if they are to be competitive with short-term profitable yet destructive alternatives.

The existence of these three conditions will provide the incentive for communities to invest in sustainable management of forests and land. But these conditions require the right local, national and international legislation and policies that support communities to engage with public and private sector stakeholders to jointly make land-use management decisions through inclusive and sustainable governance of forested landscapes. 

The GLA will pursue these policies and practices at local, national and international levels. Central to the GLA’s strategy is to use the experience of the GLA partners to strengthen the capacity of its other civil society organisations to technically, politically and economically empower and represent local communities and join with them in lobbying and advocating for inclusive and sustainable governance of forested landscapes.

The programme has two main components:

  • Building the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) for lobby and advocacy
  • Practical implementation of lobby and advocacy actions.

Capacity development for Lobby and Advocacy

Civil society organisations play crucial roles in society. By giving communities and marginalised groups a voice, together they hold governments and corporations to account when they don’t do what’s right. They fight bad activities to change the status quo and the balance of power. They are especially strong when they come together in coalitions to organise public pressure for change and to influence policies and actions. They support communities to use their lands in more sustainable ways and to better protect the forests they rely on. Building this capacity will ensure civil society becomes increasingly effective in supporting people’s rights and environmental protection.

Lobby and advocacy interventions

Lobby and advocacy is focused on policies and practices that enable or threaten inclusive sustainable governance of forested landscapes, the aim being to improve local livelihoods. The GLA is pressuring local, national and international governments and private sector to adopt policies and practices that secure communities’ access to land, involve communities in land-use decision-making, and use nature-based approaches to forest management.

Confrontation and collaboration are the methods of intervention through which the GLA and civil society partners are representing and empowering local communities in dialogue and networking, and empowering civil society to press for change in public and private stakeholders’ policies and actions.

The lobby and advocacy strategies of the GLA will:

  • emphasise the contribution made by forest users, women, forest-dependent and indigenous communities, small-scale farmers and other land users to the sustainable governance of forested landscapes;
  • through innovative solutions illustrate the importance of community access to, and control over, land and resources;
  • emphasise the role of nature-based approaches in solving problems such as climate change, food and water shortages, and biodiversity loss;
  • press national governments to incorporate binding international agreements into national law and practice, and urge private sector companies and financing institutions to adhere to ecological and social standards in the area of climate, food and water security, biodiversity, inclusiveness and gender;
  • argue for innovation in policy regimes nationally and internationally, for example for low carbon development strategies and alternatives to the food and energy systems as far as they directly impinge on forested landscapes.

Different activities are taking place in the different partner countries depending on the problems and opportunities for change that exist in each. Have a look at the Ghana programme and the activities FoE-Ghana is undertaking. The main partners for the GLA in Ghana are: Tropenbos International GhanaA Rocha Ghana and Friends of the Earth Ghana

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