Blog post 4: African Landscapes Dialogue

The finance matter - a question of mapping, coordination and infiltration

Imagine a group of 20 people sitting around a big table. The scenery is a terrace with a beautiful exotic view from the warm hearted Hoarec Centre in Addis Abeba. The subject is money. Hard moolah. The discussion is lively, the outcomes more than usefull. Next steps can be taken. Finance can be learnt, a community of practice will be set up. This is the first of a series about finance and how to bridge the gap.

By Baud Schoenmaeckers

Just four months ago, December 2016 in Cancun during the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) most of the ‘green’ participants were hardly interested in the question how to finance nature, how to bridge the gap between the finance world and the one of biodiversity.

It couldn’t be more different in Addis Abeba, March 2017, during the African Landscapes Dialogues. The question of finance was prominently present. Not only because money rules, also because first steps have been taken since 2014, because sustainable landscaping is seen as one of the major opportunities for development and for finance institutions.

In 2014 the ALAP came out, the African Landscape Action Plan. “But”, as the group stated, “We are not moving fast enough on the finance matters. Which does not mean nothing has happended”. On the contrary. Best cases were developed such as the Lake Naivasha and the Tree Fund – amongst others ( The cases all have in common that they are financed mostly with blended funds that aim to allocate finance to multiple sectors and landscape stakeholders including farmers and sme’s. They build on a multitude of existing structures and incentives. No judgements about being this good or bad, the only thing the group was asking itself: what can we do to avoid drawing the same conclusion we did four years ago? In summary three things matter: Mapping, Coordination and Infiltration in the financial sector in order to reach landscape stakeholders in a meaningful way.


Start with a financial and economic baseline. Identify the economic actors and inventorize the financial streams going in and out of the landscape. Use scorecards. Work in partnership with financial organisations.


Establish a trustworthy landscape coordination entity. This is as a central element to enable blended finance that reaches landscape stakeholders. Build a financial infrastructure with using existing structures and mechanisms in the landscape, country and work with intermediates. Work towards a quality labeled landscape attracting the right investments such as is the case for e.g Herbal Mathe in Argentina


Include landscape criteria in existing standards like Equator principles, IFC criteria. Link to national programs in order not to duplicate. Work with development Banks in Africa. Build the financial literacy of landscape partnerships by building a learning finance community linked to FAO, Landscape Academy. Learn from Healthcare how to absorb big finance streams from disasterss. Work with landscape embassadors, champions and develop roadshows for investors once there is a proposition.

This 3 elements fit well with the current Action points of the ALAP. These action points are:
1: Coordinate finance across sectors and initiatives;
2: Mainstream landscape investment into financial institutions;
3: Mobilize microfinance and local finance to support landscape investments;
4: Bring an investment mindset into landscape initiatives.

With special thanks to: Andre Brasser, Caroline van Leenders, Lucy Garrett

Find selected ALD photos by following the links:

March 16, 2017