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Funded by : Cambridge Conservation Initiative. Preparing teaching materials & building capacity in biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services & climate change Kiragu Mwangi Outline. Why bother with these links?

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Funded by: CambridgeConservationInitiative

Preparing teaching materials & building capacity in biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services & climate change

Kiragu Mwangi



Why bother with these links?

Genesis of the project

What is the project

Subject matter - Outputs

How does it work?

Target group feedback

Lessons learnt

impacts of a warming global climate
IMPACTS of a warming global climate
  • Over the next decades, it is predicted that billions of people, particularly those in developing countries, face shortages of water and food and greater risks to health and life as a result of climate change. Concerted global action is needed to enable developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change that are happening now and will worsen in the future.
  • Even with a temperature rise of 1– 2.5°C the IPCC predict serious effects including reduced crop yields in tropical areas leading to increased risk of hunger, spread of climate sensitive diseases such as malaria, and an increased risk of extinction of 20 – 30 per cent of all plant and animal species.
  • By 2020, up to 250 million peoplein Africa could be exposed to greater risk of water stress.
  • Over the course of this century, millions of people living in the catchment areas of the Himalayas and Andes face increased risk of floods as glaciers retreat followed by drought and water scarcity as the once extensive glaciers on these mountain ranges disappear.
  • Developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts because they have fewer resources to adapt: socially, technologically and financially. Climate change is anticipated to have far reaching effects on the sustainable development of developing countries including their ability to attain the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by 2015 (UN 2007). Many developing countries’ governments have given adaptation action a high, even urgent, priority.
basic facts
Basic Facts…

"Developing countries need international assistance to

support adaptation in the context of national planning

for sustainable development, more capacity-building and

transfer of technology and funds. Systematic planning

and capacity-building are also needed to reduce the risk

of disasters and raise the resilience of communities to

increasing extreme events such as droughts, floods and

tropical cyclones."

(UNFCCC 2007: Impacts, Vulnerabilities and adaptation in developing countries).

basic facts1
Basic Facts…

"With 1.3 billion young people (age 15-24) now living in developing countries - the largest ever youth group in history - there is a critical need to invest in youth at this time. A failure to train them more effectively to be active, responsible citizens, could lead to widespread disillusionment and social tensions"

(World Development Report 2007: Development and the Next Generation, The World Bank).

case study caterpillar fungus tibet china
Case study : Caterpillar fungus – Tibet China

Basam, workshop attendee from Tibet, China.

  • 90% of Tibet is internationally important grassland, 10% forest and wetlands
  • 90% of population are pastoralists herders
  • Significant cash income is from collecting Caterpillar fungus – winter worm
  • Hotter summers and milder winter causing 21% of medicinal plants including C/fungus
how did it all begin
How did it all begin?
  • The conservation organisations involved in the project are all directly or indirectly involved in capacity building.
  • Common recognition of a steady debate and information accumulation at the international scene on climate change, ecosystem services and how they are linked or impact on biodiversity conservation.
  • Debate on subjects steadily building up at the international level there was far less support at the local, sub-national or national level. These aided a common desire to design capacity building materials for the target groups working in the biodiversity conservation front-line to use at site level.
  • This will empower them to engage with local stakeholders at various levels informed by well synthesized materials easy to comprehend and toned-down from the jargon often found on literature used at international scene.
  • The project team would bring their international expertise to facilitate a collaboration amongst organisations working on the same issues but who have not come together previously to identify priority topics best suited for conservation practitioners.

The CLP angle

To empower conservationists to lead and affect change for a sustainable world and better future for all life on Earth.

what do clp grantees know on impacts of climate change to species and habitats of interest
What do CLP grantees know on impacts of Climate change to species and habitats of interest?

Data from CLP application forms - Only 3% of respondents (n=97) of 2010 & 2011 shortlisted projects could explain their choices confidently with references.

tba angle
TBA angle

Has over 15 years providing high standard of ecology and conservation training to African and European biologists alike, thereby strengthening the international scientific and conservation community.

mphil cons leadership angle
MPhil Cons Leadership angle

…focus on issues of management and leadership.

…to develop conservationists with enhanced research skills and greater awareness of the complex drivers of biodiversity loss… develop the ability to act and lead effectively.

unep wcmc cpsl angle

…supporting business leaders to build sustainability in operations.


“individuals can be powerful agents of change, serving as catalysts for organizational and societal change as well.” UNDP Capacity Development Group 2009

project purpose
Project purpose

…bridge the knowledge gap by developing and delivering targeted messages to early- and mid-career conservation practitioners and business leaders who have the potential to facilitate change at a local level, where the greatest impacts of climate change are felt.

This is a project entirely focused on capacity building for complex subjects related to biodiversity


Produce a generic resource pack of training materials for various target groups, … partitioning materials to the learning outcomes required for each target audience.

Target different groups within CCI’s ambit to increase awareness and knowledge … delivering training courses on the topics…

Facilitate ongoing learning, knowledge sharing and networking among each of the applicant organisations.

Project life: 1stAug 2010 to 31st Aug 2012

outcomes to date
Outcomes to date
  • Over 20 authors from 9 institutions involved in production of materials up from 12 originally identified adding to expertise needed.
  • 2. Prioritized 10 technical subjects on links of biodiversity conservation to ecosystem services and climate change in a synopsis framework.
outcomes to date continued priority subjects of identified by project
Outcomes to date … continuedPriority subjects of identified by project:
  • Introduction – transforming the chapters into teaching materials
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Climate Change
  • Valuing Nature and Evaluating Environmental Risk
  • Biodiversity and Climate Change Interactions
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
  • Reducing Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity and Adaptive Management
  • Ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation and impacts of adaptation activities on biodiversity
  • Forest based approaches to climate change mitigation: REDD-plus
  • Policy Responses for the Future
outcomes to date continued
Outcomes to date… continued
  • 3. Production of concise information on factsheets on the subjects identified on a standard format as follows:
  • Conceptual message
  • Case studies
  • Key questions
  • Key tools
  • Key References
outcomes to date continued2
Outcomes to date … continued

Sample Factsheets…


Outcomes to date … continued

TBA workshop: Understanding Ecosystem Services

Workshop held at Amani Nature Reserve, Tanzania 18th to 22nd June 2011

trained 17 African conservation scientists from 14 institutions in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Uganda and Brazil.


“This is a very good platform for conservationists and scientists in general to learn of new techniques and upcoming issues in research. Personally it was a big boost “

Ghanaian participant

outcomes to date continued4
Outcomes to date … continued

Southwest Forestry University, Kunming City 2nd to 6th May

Trained 16 Chinese conservation scientists from across the country including Tibet.

teaching methods class field visit
Teaching methods: Class & field visit

“The workshop programme taught both theoretical knowledge about ecosystem-services… and climate change adaptation, it has strengthened my understanding of these issues through learning international and national case studies, Climate Change Adaptation project tools and adaptation case studies.” Basam, workshop attendee from Tibet, China.

outcomes to date continued5
Outcomes to date … continued

Greater understanding of how the participants work at a local scale is connected to national studies on climate change and ecosystem services.

Trainees to the two national workshops in Africa and Asia developed new skills on using freely available tools to test for climate change vulnerability, valuing ecosystem services, designing climate change adaptation plans for conservation projects and evaluating national adaptation plans for biodiversity relevance.

Collaboration amongst Chinese conservation scientists to explain the factors influencing range expansion east-wards into China since 2006 for the Asian Open-billed Stork (Anastomus oscitans) which could be related a change in the climate.

outcomes to date continued6
Outcomes to date … continued

Some participants to the trainings have passed on the learning from the workshops to peers.

Some training participants are in the process of designing human and biodiversity adaptation plans for conservation projects and initiatives.

Workshop participants were exposed to national climate related data that can be of help design biodiversity related research linked to ecosystem services and or climate change.

case study caterpillar fungus tibet china1
Case study : Caterpillar fungus – Tibet China

Basam, workshop attendee from Tibet, China.

  • Improved awareness is helping to identify potential responses to CC impacts working with pastoralists
  • Developing local recourse/development plans
  • Increasing collaborations/networks amongst herders collecting Caterpillar fungus – winter worm
  • Adequate lead time
  • +/- 6 months to consult and prepare the project proposal will thrash-out details of the project and its products – this will ease the preliminary stages of setting-up.
  • Preliminary plans
  • Define roles (ToRs) for different contributors of the various products and other project management stages defined and agreed by all,
  • Agree on a couple strategies early on e.g. communications and products quality management,
  • Establish early on a quality assurance group for the project and its products.
  • Be realistic –
  • Plan time carefully as collaborative projects suffer competing with other project/programme/institutional workplan priorities.
  • Snow-ball effect – as a multi-organizational project tackling wide-ranging subjects saw a growing list of authors which had benefits as well as challenges of coordination and timely delivery.
  • Less might work best –
  • balancing a project budget across many can pose challenges.
  • Big collaborative projects with many partners means not much money per partner to achieve everything.  This puts huge pressure on NGO's to find the time to manage and complete the projects.
    • Maybe it gives the wrong impression about how much can really be achieved for a given budget.  
    • It would have been good to have had more "scoping" or preparation time and funding.

Keep talking – Engaging with

others working in similar areasmay reveal new insights to enrich your work.


Funded by: CambridgeConservationInitiative

Project participants

Melanie Heath - BL

Robert Munroe - BL

Jenny Birch - BL

Robin Johnson - BL

Nicky Jenner - FFI

Robyn Dalzen – CI/CLP

Stavros Papageorgiou - CI

Mario Chacon - CI

Rosimeiry Portela- CI

MiroslavHonzák - CI

Natasha Calderwood - CI

Jane Carter Ingram - WCS

James Watson - WCS

Marisa Arpels - WCS

Rosie Trevelyan - TBA

Claire Brown - UNEP-WCMC

Nathalie Doswald- UNEP-WCMC

Margaret Adey- CPSL

Martin Roberts - CPSL

Nigel Leader-Williams - Uniof CambsGeogDept

Peter Damerell - Beijing Forestry University

Paulo A.L.D. - Nunes CIESM

Natasha Calderwood – CI

Kiragu Mwangi – BL/CLP