Land Resources

SLM at national level

Why multiple scales

In working with the many administrative or decision making units, it is most important that decisions are coherent within and across scales and made toward a commonly held vision with agreed upon objectives.

Multiple scales also refers to the resources associated with natural units. These can be the biophysical units (most notably climate, land form and geomorphology and vegetation and cover that make up homogeneous ecosystem units) as well as socio-economic units that include aspects of rural development (such as livelihoods, farming systems, demographics and cultural aspects, among others).

It is clear from a review of past efforts to promote SLM in SSA that there is no universal blue print development approach that will guarantee success. What works in a particular location will be influenced by a variety of area specific factors, such as:

(i) the limitations and opportunities imposed by the local climate and other ecosystem resources
(ii) household and community level perceptions as to the nature, severity and consequences of existing degradation on local natural resource based livelihoods
(iii) the social and cultural norms that influence individual, and communal, behaviour within the local society
(iv) the presence or absence of effective community organisational and institutional structures with strong and respected leaders
(v) access to secure land tenure
(vi) the nature of the political system that governs the implementation of national and local level development policies
(vii) the capacity and availability of local advisory support services and
(viii) the type of local market structures and opportunities.

The objectives of activities at country level should naturally be directed towards:

• the reform of government interventions (e.g. plans, projects, policies, regulations, organizational structures or incentive schemes) that are found to provide barriers or disincentives to SLM (i.e. that negatively impact on the achievement of winning conditions at field level)
• the coherence of government interventions, to minimize the risk of mixed signals being sent to the field through different interventions
• the design and implementation of cost-effective SLM-friendly government interventions, if and when such interventions are best managed at country level
• the decentralization of resources and responsibilities for SLM interventions at sub-national level, if and when this is expected to enhance their relevance and efficiency
• the development of national capacity for the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of SLM interventions

Potential approaches and lessons learned for SLM at national level:

Components of an approach at national level will generally include a combination of:
• Partnership development, participatory assessment and policy dialogue
• Policy analysis, research and advocacy
• Strategic investments (e.g. infrastructure, education, incentive programmes)
• Institutional strengthening and reform

The scope of interventions at national level will generally fall in one or several of the following categories:

• Support to decentralization
• Land-use planning
• Country-level priority setting
• Development of assessment and project implementation tools 
• Modification of direct and indirect incentive structures
• Modification of laws, regulations and policies related to relevant sectors such as economic development, land-use, environment, agricultural research and extension
• Reallocation of national resources ,

Properties and Mangement of Dryland CD Rom, 2005
Farmers preparing land for planting tree to avoid soil erosion – Asia
Properties and Management of Drylands CD Rom, 2005
Farmers planting tree seedlings to avoid post-harvest soil erosion – Asia