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Introducing: The Restoration of Rural Landscapes Expert Group

The food security discourse has weak focus on the agro-pastoral systems typical for sub-Saharan drylands. These regions have 40% planetary land cover and host 1/3 of its population – often among the poorest. Much of these lands are degraded for food security and livelihood potentials. Trees are important structural components in these systems and related to attempts of restoration. Synergies and trade-offs between trees, agriculture, water resources, climate aspects and livelihoods and food security are complex and under-researched for these regions. Thus traction between new scientific knowledge in combination with developing policy and societal change will be needed for sustainable restoration of these degraded drylands. The aim of this Expert group is contribute to such a discourse.

The role of this expert group will be to bring research results and questions to a broader context and set of stakeholders and policy makers as well as to broaden the geographical perspective, by inviting experts from other sectors/areas/countries with relevant experience and knowledge.

In the Swedish arena communication with stakeholders that could influence Swedish foreign policy, trade and development assistance policies will be an important task. The group will also aim to guide research policies and prioritisation. On selected local arenas we will communicate directly with local policy makers and farmers, and seek local realities and problems to be communicated into research and policy. On the international scene the expert groups’ activities will aim for better inclusion of drylands in both agricultural and forest productivity and climate discourses.

Internationally the group will aim to bring restoration issues higher on the international agendas for development and development assistance. This is much needed in international policies. It will also enable both the Swedish and the local African voices to be better heard in international discussions/negotiations.

The expert group will have its first meeting on June 12th, e.g. setting the program of meetings, seminars, workshops and policy contributions for coming fall. Anyone interested to suggest and/or contribute, please contact Gert Nyberg.