This 15-case collection illustrates how biodiversity conservation is critically linked to the journey to self-reliance and helps deliver development results.
Productive Conservation in Amazonian Landscapes
April 14, 2020
USAID Biodiversity Integration Case Studies
Recognized by the judges as a compelling example of USAID/Peru’s comprehensive approach to integrated design and the use of geospatial mapping to support integrated design.
USAID/Peru’s Amazonia Verde project aims to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services in priority areas of the Peruvian Amazon and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and land use change. To achieve these goals, an inter-office design team at the USAID/Peru Mission spent two years designing an integrated project that supports biodiversity conservation, combats illegal logging and deforestation, addresses negative impacts of extractive industries, strengthens Indigenous people’s rights and resources, and supports Peru’s international commitment to reduce GHG emissions. This example shares USAID/Peru’s integrated strategic planning and design process, which resulted in a set of five integrated biodiversity conservation and sustainable landscapes (SL) activities. USAID’s SL activities reduce GHG emissions from the land use sector.
USAID/Peru’s collaborative design process employed an innovative, spatially explicit exercise to rank biodiversity priority areas and landscape threats within the Peruvian Amazon. Staff incorporated scientific data and threat maps prepared by the USAID GeoCenter and the USAID/Peru Environment and Sustainable Growth Office. The mission first defined their biodiversity objective and identified possible interventions based on an analysis of drivers and threats to biodiversity. They then categorized high-carbon areas under elevated threat of deforestation to map hotspots for potential sustainable landscapes efforts. As this analysis did not reveal substantial overlaps between biologically significant geographies and high-emission geographies, the design team then analyzed the drivers of emissions and the intersections between landscape threats and biologically significant areas. This additional step enabled the design team to clearly define both biodiversity and sustainable landscapes objectives and their overlap. The team then used this analysis to design an integrated Project Appraisal Document, which articulates the mission’s project design and serves as the baseline for project implementation, adaptation, and evaluation.
Once the mission identified priority areas and activities for its integrated portfolio, they collaborated with the Office of Acquisitions and Assistance to identify the most appropriate mechanisms. Discussions with the Office of Acquisitions and Assistance helped ensure the environment portfolio included distinct, complementary activities with non-overlapping scopes of work. USAID/Peru’s Bilateral Amazonia Verde Project Appraisal Document has five activities: an interagency agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, two contracts, and two Global Development Alliances. The mission selected the Global Development Alliances to facilitate a co-created collaborative design and implementation process with the private sector, Indigenous communities, and local authorities, as well as to work towards self-reliance by engaging local investors.
The mission engaged multiple stakeholders in their design process. USAID staff from the mission and Washington — including the Bureau of Economic Growth, Education, and Environment’s Office of Forestry and Biodiversity, Office of Global Climate Change, and the Office of Land Tenure and Resource Management, as well as the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and the USAID GeoCenter — collaborated on the design process. The Government of Peru, civil society, academia, other donors, and the private sector facilitated buy-in and approval of the proposed design. The mission involved the Office of Acquisitions and Assistance in this process to ensure the team was aware of what is procurement sensitive.
During the start-up phase, the Amazonia Verde design team developed situation models and theories of change. This process allowed USAID/Peru to review each mechanism’s main objectives and ensure that all activities would contribute to Amazonia Verde’s goals of conserving biodiversity and reducing GHG emissions. USAID staff emphasized that developing theories of change across all the Project Appraisal Document’s activities helped to share objectives across teams, identify similar interventions and stakeholders, and establish channels of collaboration.
The mission concluded that integration of biodiversity conservation and sustainable landscapes in the strategic planning and design phase has promoted a cohesive, efficient approach during the activities’ implementation phases. USAID/Peru’s integrated approach is now contributing to reducing emissions from land use change, strengthening the Peruvian forest sector, reducing the negative impact of extractive industries, and securing the rights and resources of indigenous peoples for the sustainable management of forested lands. The project expects to contribute to a 16% to 20% reduction in GHG emissions over the next five years.
- Start integration during the planning cycle and identify key people who will develop and support the process.
First, ensure the Mission Director’s support and buy-in. Next, form groups and designate a strong leader to lead each phase and keep the team informed. An integrated design process takes time: allocate both people and time to the process, understanding that some team members will have to dedicate significant time. Organize and prepare your team to ensure everyone knows what to expect and understands individual roles and responsibilities. USAID/Peru spent two years developing the Amazonia Verde Project Appraisal Document, with some key staff spending approximately 50 percent of their time on the process.
- Collaborate with other USAID offices and regional programs throughout design and implementation.
Collaborate with other offices and sectors, such as the GeoCenter, to develop situation models and map actors. Continue collaboration during implementation and monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
- Recognize and leverage individual strengths.
Do not teach all your team members how to use and manage computer tools and systems that support planning processes. Instead, allocate responsibilities based on individual abilities and strengths. Consider using an external facilitator for key meetings to help the team see the bigger picture.
- Share challenges and gaps with all team members.
Be transparent with your colleagues about the process and key challenges. Your team members may suggest innovative solutions that others may not have considered.
- Carry out technical and political analysis with high-level government officials to engage them in the process.
Share initial results with external stakeholders to facilitate their engagement and then ensure buy-in during implementation.
- Promote knowledge management throughout the process.
Record all your meetings, validations, and recommendations for future questions and justifications, and document every single step of the design methodology.
- Explore more case studies on the USAID Biodiversity Integration Case Competition website.
- Learn more about biodiversity integration with other USAID technical sectors on the Biodiversity Conservation Gateway.
- Visit USAID’s website for more information on biodiversity conservation and sustainable landscapes.
Marisel Allende, Forest Management Specialist, USAID/Peru
Mallende (at) usaid (dot) gov
This blog was originally published by USAID Biodiversity Integration Case Studies.