As the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) meets this week, the Landscapes Blog continues to turn its attention to integrated landscape management and activities. Resilience is a particularly critical topic in the drylands, where more variable climate and the increased frequency and intensity of drought events makes planning for stresses and uncertainty necessary. In the semi-arid cattle corridor districts of Uganda, this need is especially pronounced due to high fluctuations in seasonal rainfall and a primary reliance by local people on small-scale rainfed agriculture.
In response, the United Nations Development Programme and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has undertaken to support the integration of sustainable land management in the planning in the six semi-arid cattle corridor districts: Sembabule, Lyantonde, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Kamuli and Kaliro. The region also supports a network of smallholder coffee farmers. Still in its early stages, the program has over 400 farmers in the region implementing conservation agriculture practices to minimize tillage, prevent soil erosion, and conserve water, which have helped boost farm yields and weather periods of water scarcity.
But the program has recognized that focusing on one intervention in one sector will not necessarily lead to long-term resilient communities. Currently under development, the Community Based Resilience Analysis (CoBRA) model examines physical, human, financial, natural, and social elements of sustainable livelihoods, helping to identify strengths and gaps in a participatory manner. In the Ugandan landscapes, the use of the tool has emphasized the need for integrated support in agriculture and other sectors—diversifying sources of income, accessing higher education, etc.—which together will better enable Ugandans to weather the impacts of drought and other socio-economic and environmental challenges.
This is just one example of a tool that takes a more integrated approach to assessing and managing long-term risk. What others can help build resilience in agricultural landscapes?