ECOTRUST provides a platform, a programme of activities, through which different community – led actions are aggregated to achieve scale in a cost–effective manner that enables US$6 out of every US$10 committed for climate action to reach the intended beneficiary in form of direct cash transfers. ECOTRUST uses a “blended financing approach – Private, Public, Internal Revenue and Community contributions to achieve conservation outcomes.
According to IIED, 2020, there is need to re-imagine both the conservation and climate finance system because only US$1 in every US$10 of climate finance committed is currently reaching local level climate action (IIED, 2017). But evidence from international development bilateral and climate funds that focus on reaching local communities has shown that certain local programmes, like TGB, can deliver a ‘triple win’ – producing more sustainable results at lower cost, developing local capacity, and generating climate positive local economic development benefits, such as improved livelihoods, reduced pollution, and access to clean energy (IIED, 2017).
ECOTRUST’s TGB model has been published (Byakagaba et al, 2021) as an example of a sustainable landscape financing scheme that delivers $6 out of every $10 to the smallholders and provides innovative ways of reducing risks and barriers that limit financial flows and the capacity to integrate trees into smallholder dominated agricultural landscape.
Our Programs Draw from Key International & National Policies
We are responsive to the National Sustainable Development Agenda such as Uganda’s National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), the National Climate change Policy (NCCP), the National Development Plan (NDP III), Uganda’s Green Growth Development Strategy; Climate Change Bill; Vision 2040, and SDGs 15, 13, 16, 7, 6, 5, 2 & 1. Our programing over the outgoing strategic period (2017-2021) has been aligned to the global and national sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and climate change agendas.
ECOTRUST ensures optimal participation of all key stakeholders, including District Local Governments, CSOs and CBOs in all the operational districts across Uganda
We draw from Uganda’s National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) that prioritizes community tree growing; land degradation management; drought adaptation, climate change and development planning.
National Climate change Policy (NCCP) – provides a harmonized approach towards a climate-resilient and low-carbon development path. Adaptation sectors include Forestry, Wetlands, Biodiversity, Ecosystem services, Human settlement, and social infrastructure; disaster risk management (and technology transfer; and scaling out of clean low carbon technologies).
National Development Plan (NDP III) 2020/21 – 2024/25 – prioritizes addressing the widespread forest loss and forest degradation across the country for sustained economic growth and long-term human development – UGANDA’S VISION 2040
The Uganda Wildlife Act, 2019 – provides for the conservation and sustainable management of wildlife. Contains sections addressing wildlife conservation areas; protected species; wildlife use rights; hunting and trapping; management of problem animals; and international trade in species and specimens.
ECOTRUST programs are also in line with the Common Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in Uganda and the Water/Environment Sector Response Plan which aim to increase environmental protection and forest restoration and improve sustainable energy use by displaced populations and their host communities.
ECOTRUST programs are being implemented in line with the Uganda Forestry Policy of 2001 which promotes the development and sustainable management of natural forests on private land. The policy encourages the development of collaborative partnerships with rural communities for the sustainable management of forests. It promotes the growing of trees on-farm in all farming systems. The policy affirms GOU support for sustainable forest sector development through appropriate education, training and research.
Land Act (Cap. 227) – makes provision with respect to a wide variety of matters regarding land in Uganda such as land tenure, customary ownership, grant of land in freehold, management of communal land, management of land by the Uganda Land Commission, landuse control and functioning of land tribunals.
Green Growth Development Strategy – provides mechanisms through which Uganda will deliver upon its national and international commitments especially the Uganda National Climate Change Policy (2013) and the Paris Climate Agreement,
The National Environment Act, 2019 – repeals, replaces and reforms the law relating to environmental management in Uganda. Provides for the management of the environment for sustainable development.
Provides for emerging environmental issues including climate change. Provides for biodiversity offsets and strategic environmental assessment. Addresses environmental concerns arising from petroleum activities and midstream operations
National Forest and Tree Planting Act, 2003 – provides for the conservation, sustainable management, and development of forests for the benefit of the people of Uganda. Provides for the declaration of forest reserves for purposes of protection and production of forests and forest produce. Provides for the sustainable use of forest resources and the enhancement of the productive capacity of forests. Provides for the promotion of tree planting and trade in forest produce. Provides for conservation of biological diversity, and the devolution of functions and powers in the forest sector
Uganda’s Vision 2040 – aspires to raise the forest cover from 15% in 2010 to 24% in 2040 and recognizes Uganda’s unique environmental endowment, which is largely constituted by its water resources and wetlands, biodiversity and ecosystem health, land resources, fisheries resources, forests, and minerals.
The REDD+ Process in Uganda – Initiated at UNFCCC COP16 calls on all participating countries to (a) Reduce emissions from deforestation; (b) Reduce emissions from forest degradation; (c) Conserve Forest carbon stocks; (d) Sustainably manage forests; and (e) enhance forest carbon stocks. To achieve these goals, Uganda has developed a national REDD+ strategy that determines a national forest reference emission level
ECOTRUST programing over the outgoing strategic period (2017-2021) has been aligned to the global and national sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and climate change agendas. ECOTRUST programs seek to contribute to the proposed targets and outcomes where it matters most – and influence, in whatever small way, the overall implementation for the benefit poor rural communities. Below are the key international processes and opportunities that will influence ECOTRUST programing over the next period.
SDG 15 specifically calls for the protection, restoration, and promotion of sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combating desertification, and halting and reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss. SDGs 13, 16, 7, 6, 5, 2 & 1.are also critical.
Target 15.2 seeks to ensure that by 2020, the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation globally.
Target 15.b seeks to significantly mobilize resources from all sources
and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance sustainable forest management, including for conservation and reforestation.
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030. FLR is a process that restores ecological integrity while at the same time improving human well-being through multifunctional landscapes
The 2020 target was launched at a high-level event in Bonn in 2011 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Government of Germany and was later endorsed and extended to 2030 by the New York Declaration on Forests of the 2014 UN Climate Summit.
In September 2014, Uganda committed to the Bonn challenge by pledging to restore 2.5 million hectares of previously deforested and/or degraded areas. It is estimated that with the successful restoration Uganda could realize as much as USD$ 785 million while at the same time sequestering 0.24 Gigatons of Carbon dioxide equivalent.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat on 12 July 2021 released the first official draft of a new Global Biodiversity Framework to guide actions worldwide through 2030 to preserve and protect nature and its essential services to people. Vision: Living in Harmony with Nature
Goal 1: The integrity of all ecosystems is enhanced, with an increase of at least 15% in the area, connectivity and integrity of natural ecosystems, supporting healthy and resilient populations of all species
Goal 2: Nature’s contributions to people have been valued, maintained, or enhanced through conservation and sustainable use supporting the global development agenda for the benefit of all.
Goal 3: The benefits from the utilization of genetic resources are shared fairly and equitably
Goal 4: The gap between available financial and other means of implementation closed
The 2015 Paris Agreement requires each country to outline and communicate their post-2020 climate actions, known as their nationally determined Contributions (NDCs), for reducing greenhouse emissions.
Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+) is a framework negotiated under the UNFCCC to facilitate intergovernmental cooperation on forests and climate change.
Forests are vitally important for achieving the goals of the Paris
Agreement, and the REDD+ framework is therefore recognized in Article 5 of the Paris Agreement. The Convention requires all Parties, keeping in mind their responsibilities and capabilities, to formulate and implement programmes containing measures to mitigate climate change.
Sites that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity – 11 criteria grouped under five categories which can apply to all taxonomic groups (i.e., species) as well as ecosystems
1.Threatened biodiversity: The site holds species at risk of extinction or ecosystems at risk of collapse
Geographically restricted biodiversity: species or ecosystems found in only a few other places on Earth or, sometimes, nowhere else.
Ecological integrity: The site remains ecologically intact, unaffected by industrial human influence
Irreplaceability: high irreplaceability for the global persistence of biodiversity. Biological processes: The site holds a significant proportion of a species’ population during one or more of its life stages (e.g., during nesting), making it important for that species’ continued survival.
Our Program Strategy
Efficient and effective program design and delivery with measurable results and sustainable impact in target communities and landscapes defines our success.
Program delivery is at the core of ECOTRUST existence. Efficient and effective program design and delivery with measurable results and sustainable impact in target communities and landscapes defines our success. The program strategy for the next 5 years (2022-2026) builds upon the achievements of the previous period (2017-2022) and the over 20 years of experience that ECOTRUST brings since inception in 1999. The program strategy defines our program aspirations and desire to succeed. It defines our focus – trimming our ambitions to match our resources – and articulating our best practices that we need to take advantage of and sustain. The new program strategy will also enable us to define some new stretch targets that will force us to compete in innovative ways and accelerate the pace organizational learning, as well as attain seemingly impossible new levels professionalism and leadership. The program strategy defines 3 main features: Program Design and Structure, Program Implementation and Management, and Program Growth and Development.
Our Strategic Objectives and Key Result Areas
Efficient and effective program design and delivery with measurable results and sustainable impact in target communities and landscapes defines our success.
Strategic Objective 1
Market-Based Incentives To Promote Smallholder-led Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) as a Business (RAAB) Delivered
The overall investment objective under SO1 is to transform the smallholder investment horizons from short to long-term ones that are characteristic of reforestation investments. Smallholders mainly invest to meet their short-term subsistence needs and would, therefore, find the conventional longterm gestation periods of tree growing unsuitable for meeting their needs. The ECOTRUST TGB model provides a payment for environmental services (PES) based sustainability incentive that motivates smallholders to participate in tree growing as a business. Other innovative market-based incentives and rewards for environmental outcomes will also be delivered. ECOTRUST uses a blended financing model (Public, Private and Internal Revenue) to reduce its transaction and operational costs to only 4 out every 10 dollars paid by the private sector buyers. Every participating farmer is, therefore, able to receive 60% of all their carbon payments directly into their accounts. Each farmer then contributes 10% to the Community Carbon Fund (CCF) that serves as self-insurance fund that supports the same farmers in addressing any external shocks as well as providing start-up grants for multiple forest-based enterprises for sustainable forest management. Blended finance will, thus, be used as a de-risking tool to enhance smallholder participation. The main mechanism in SO1 will be scaling out TGB. The TGB model is designed to de-risk smallholder investments to ensure long-term investments in tree growing. SO1 will support interventions that build the capacity of households, communities, and their natural capital to prevent, mitigate and cope with risk, and recover from climate induced shocks through 4 Key Result Areas:
including voluntary recruitment under TGB, Conservation agreements, outright purchases, and leases. These would we accompanied by intensive baseline surveys, mapping studies, and community engagement and landowners’ engagement models.
including Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EbA), Afforestation, Reforestation, Regeneration, improved forest management, and Ecosystem mitigation interventions. This will include all tree planting interventions either through agroforestry, enrichment planting, boundary planting assisted natural regeneration, and natural regeneration. This will also include wetland restoration. It will include interventions for technically specifying conservation initiatives in line with market standards as well as monitoring, verification, and reporting (MRV) systems for aggregating verifiable emission reductions (VERs). Interventions in this result area will promote the planting of mixed native tree species for enhanced biodiversity.
including interventions focusing on designing and delivering sustainability incentive mechanisms rewarding environmental outcomes from various conservation initiatives. Renewable energy and climate smart technology interventions will also fall under this result area
including designing forest-based green enterprises for TGB farmer groups to sustain woodlots beyond carbon payments
This is the oldest of ECOTRUST programme areas dedicated to improving the management of land outside the protected area system. SO2 will continue to support interventions and partnerships that hold land in trust on behalf of individual PFOs, Community Groups and other stakeholders for improved forest management and biodiversity conservation. This will include establishment of community conservancies responsible for preservation of natural resources (e.g., Community Land Associations) as self-governing entities and developing ecotourism, eco-lodges and other green business opportunities.
This another program area that has become prominent especially in the Murchison Landscape. SO2 will support interventions that further support restoration of connectivity of in wildlife corridors – especially those connecting forest reserves in various landscapes. SO2 will support interventions that survey and map critical connectivity linkages that need restoration. SO2 will support land acquisition, ecosystem restoration and sustainability investments and partnerships for the restoration of connectivity in key corridors
This is already an on-going programme area supporting the establishment of an enabling investment environment for private sector conservation investments; multistakeholder investment platforms (e.g., NARC-G, Kiiha Partnership Platform) coordinating landscape-wide investment plans; bankable business cases across landscapes to attract private sector capital inflows; and designing financing instruments to support green propositions. SO2 will also support the documentation of business models emerging from these investments.
Of marginalized groups in conservation investments. This will support interventions in gender mainstreaming methodologies (e.g., Gender Action and Learning Systems (GALS)) in partner communities and landscapes; Gendered green investments campaigns for youth and women; and youth and women conservation initiatives; and advocacy initiatives for Gender in Conservation
Strategic Objective 2
Investment Partnerships and Policy Engagement with Private Forest Owners, Government, Communities and other Stakeholders to ensure Protection of Functional Habitat Connectivity and Contribution to Sustainable Livelihoods
SO2 will support investment partnerships and other interventions aimed at establishing other effective area-based conservation measures (OEACMs) that can achieve effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas. An ‘other effective area-based conservation measure’ is defined by the CBD (2018) as a geographically defined area, other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the insitu conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values. Many private and communal forests in partner communities and landscapes fall into this category while others will be supported to join the category for improved forest management. OCEAM is a fairly new category in conservation in Uganda so SO2 will support policy engagement interventions towards legal, policy and institutional reform to enable the appropriate recognition of OEACMs. SO2 will support increased coverage of ecologically representative areas of particular importance to biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services through trusteeships and investment partnerships. SO2 will also support interventions that foster engagement with a range of rights holders and stakeholders who contribute to area-based conservation outside protected areas. SO2 will support interventions that enhance connectivity between protected areas across landscapes – restoring wildlife corridors as conservation areas. SO2 will address climate change by contributing net zero policy engagement and awareness: and building resilience to the physical impacts of climate change through nature-based solutions. SO2 will also support sustainable landscapes and livelihoods through landscape-wide business cases that attack private sector investments; and multi-stakeholder investment platforms coordinating landscape-wide investment plans. Key result areas under SO2 will include:
Strategic Objective 3
Co-Arrangements To Protect The Ecological Integrity And Functionality Of Natural Capital In Protected Areas And Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) To Generate Goods And Services That Benefit Local Communities And Biodiversity
Interventions under SO3 will enhance the flow of environmental services in support of socio-economic transformation in protected areas. SO3 contributes to Sustainable development Goal 15 that seeks to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Without tangible benefits from conservation, communities will not value the protected areas, which is likely to result into increased risks as communities focus on the unsustainable extraction of resources for their own use. It is against this background SO3 will support organized community-based organizations to acquire equitable and inclusive resource access and benefit sharing from protected areas through nature-based solutions. SO3 will support sustainable tourism initiatives and use eco-tourism as a tool to reduce threats to biodiversity and conserve critical ecosystems across diverse landscapes to ensure sustained economic growth. Key result areas under SO3 will include
To organized community groups (CFM, CBOs, Consortia) to enable interact with and benefit from protected areas through nature-based solutions as provided by law. This will include grants to community groups responsible for OEACMs and convergencies to develop eco-businesses and eco-enterprises within Pas and OEACMs. Grants will be administered through several facilities within the ECOTRUST Green Investment Ventures (GIVES) Platform – a grant making framework
Direct engagement and professional contributions to key national and international biodiversity conservation, climate change and sustainable development policy frameworks. This will include providing expert advise to government, donor partners and other stakeholders in designing incentives schemes for conservation. This will also include undertaking join research with prominent research institutions and publishing articles and models in peer reviewed journals.
Innovative community-based monitoring programmes for tracking threats and opportunities to conservation leading to behavioral change communication programmes; Using multi-media to document and communicate relevant aspects of OEACMs as well as the evolution of policies and best practices of OACMs as protected areas; Running capacity development events and facilitating lesson sharing among diverse rights holders and stakeholders
ECOTRUST operates across Uganda with a focus on three main landscapes: Queen Elizabeth National Park landscape and Murchison-Semliki landscape in the Albertine region of South-Western Uganda, and the Mount Elgon Landscape in Eastern Uganda. These are all landscape of global biodiversity significance, but they are also hot spots for climate change induced disasters – especially floods, mud slides and changing weather patterns that result in frequent and unexpected droughts and changes in rainy seasons