Co-investing in landscapes with Smart Tree-Invest

A new project will study co-investment by farmers, business and government in the environment and agriculture for mitigating and adapting to climate change, say Amy Cruz and Tess Beyer



An inception meeting for the Climate-Smart, Tree-Based, Co-investment in Adaptation and Mitigation in Asia (Smart Tree-Invest) project was held 22–24 April 2014 in Cebu, Philippines.

The meeting was attended by World Agroforestry Centre scientists, representatives from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), researchers working on IFAD-funded projects and other researchers with an interest in the project.

Smart Tree-Invest meeting, Cebu, IFAD, climate-smart, tree-based, mitigation, adaptation, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Vietnam

Smart Tree-Invest inception workshop participants. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Robert Coombs

Smart Tree-Invest will be implemented in Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam. The project will develop environmental co-investment schemes based on climate-smart, tree-based solutions for the chosen sites. Smallholding farmers, government agencies and private companies in the areas will be involved as co-investors.

World Agroforestry Centre researchers gave updates on the project’s development and IFAD representatives their organization’s perspective on the project. There were also presentations on gender and communications, which are both cross-cutting issues.

After the initial presentations, the participants were split into working groups to discuss community and landscape assessments and the policy links and implications of the project.

Smart Tree-Invest uses an approach that considers the perspectives of both locals and outsiders to identify desirable outcomes for a landscape. This is what scientists call a ‘landscape approach’.

It argues that landscapes are to be seen not only as a collection of land covers and uses but also as containers of livelihoods and social aspects, such as cultural identity. Consequently, the Smart Tree-Invest project will explore gender-sensitive ways of operating and solving problems.

A landscape approach also emphasizes that site-specific analyses and methods should be used but these must also have links to national and regional frameworks to enable comparisons within, and between, countries.

As with any other IFAD-funded project, knowledge management is an important consideration. Aside from providing a venue for discussions about further refining the project, the meeting served as a knowledge-sharing event for the participants. Dr Ujjwal Pradhan, the regional coordinator of the World Agroforestry Centre Southeast Asia urged all participants to share the information widely for the benefit not only of the project participants but also the wider national and international communities.

In addition, researchers working on other IFAD-funded projects in the three countries talked about lessons they had learned, which helped to establish stronger links between the scientists for more efficient use of knowledge and implementation of the Smart Tree-Invest project.

Not only will Smart Tree-Invest develop new methods, the scientists working on it will also improve existing ones, which will ultimately provide benefits to co-investors and the wider communities.



Rob Finlayson

Robert Finlayson is the Southeast Asia program's regional communications specialist. As well as writing stories for the Centre's website, he devises and supervises strategies for projects and the countries in the Southeast Asia region, including scripting and producing videos, supervising editors and translators and also assisting with resource mobilization.

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