CCF in Somaliland

Building Sustainable Futures: Community-Centered Conservancy in Somaliland

  • by Abdirizak Warsame March 1, 2024
Building Sustainable Futures: Community-Centered Conservancy in Somaliland

The governance meeting for establishing a community-centered conservancy in the Awdal and Maroodi Jeex regions of Somaliland was recently initiated, led by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). This meeting set the stage for a series of four workshops attended by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (MoECC), Regional Governors, District Mayors, and Village Development Committees. The focus was on involving over 50 villages in the study of conservancy areas, aiming to actively engage local communities in conservation efforts. This approach seeks to improve the lives of local people while conserving areas through the creation of a protected area in Geed-Deeble and a Conservancy at Libaaxley Mountain.

A strategy to protect the biodiversity of these two sites was established, adhering to the principle of community-centered conservancy. This approach empowers residents to play a significant role in the management and protection of their environment, under the guidance of the MoECC.

In-depth discussions during the meetings and workshops explored conservation actions and the core principles of community-centered conservancy governance. These principles are designed to achieve desirable, long-term conservation outcomes that are both ecologically and socially equitable. The dialogue encompassed a multilevel governance structure, involving policymakers from the MoECC, regional, district, and village levels. Community groups engaged in discussions and meetings across villages and valleys to share their feedback and past experiences.

CCF staff conducting Monitoring & Evaluation for the program

The initiative to build a multilevel governance framework for conservancy was supported by efforts to promote equity and recognize the critical role of communities, including women, as agents of positive change. Solutions were reframed to address issues such as land grabbing and to implement a rights-based approach that ensures equitable living and benefits within conservancy areas. This approach allows community members and institutions to participate in decision-making and supports a community-led management structure for natural resources, with backing from higher governance levels, the central government, and external partners, including the private sector.

Abdiwile & Regional coordinators from Boroma, and Abdiresak - CCF's community liaison
Formal meeting with governors and village elders

Participants recognized the significance of the Community Centered Conservancy (C3) as an innovative, sustainable conservation and development program. They expressed strong commitment and appreciation for C3’s ability to sustain natural resources and provide equal benefits to all inhabitants, noting the program’s positive impact on wildlife and ecological improvement.

A debriefing session with the Somaliland Conservation Association in Hargeisa, which includes INGOs, local NGOs, and UN members, highlighted the enthusiasm for immediate collaboration among all stakeholders.

This project is generously funded by a grant from Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Rainforest Trust and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

CCF Consultant Fiesta Ochongo, Community Leader, Mr Mohamed Madar, MoECC Regional Coordinator is Mr Abdiwahab Hussein

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