Stakeholder talks signal strong interest and need for landscape approach in Cote d’Ivoire

“Bilateral meetings held between key stakeholders and IDH on 23 – 27 March in the wider Tai forest area, Côte d’Ivoire indicate a strong appetite and need for a landscape level approach to tackling sustainability issues in the area,” says ISLA senior global manager Daan Wensing.

“Bilateral meetings held between key stakeholders and IDH on 23 – 27 March in the wider Tai forest area, Côte d’Ivoire indicate a strong appetite and need for a landscape level approach to tackling sustainability issues in the area,” says ISLA senior global manager Daan Wensing.

What are the main sustainability issues ISLA will target in the wider Tai forest landscape in Côte d’Ivoire?

The main sustainability issue that ISLA will target is deforestation. Agricultural expansion, immigration and other developments have led to deforestation and with less and less land available for development/agricultural production the pressure on the remaining forests is mounting. A solution is needed by a coordinated effort of the private sector, government and other stakeholders.

Where are the landscape borders? Where will ISLA be active?

ISLA will be working in the south-west of Côte d’Ivoire, focusing on the remaining forest in the forest reserves near Giglo and the buffer zone of the Tai National Park near Soubre. This is where agricultural expansion, development and sustainable natural resources management need to be balanced.

How important is a public-private landscape management for this region?

 There is currently no public-private partnership (PPP) structure in the landscape that ISLA will work in, and all stakeholders acknowledge that it is needed in order to address the issue of deforestation in a coordinated and sustainable manner. Bringing the key stakeholders together and support in setting up a PPP that will address these issues is what IDH aims to achieve through the ISLA program.


Why should international and domestic firms get involved in ISLA program in Côte d’Ivoire?

Everyone is aware of the need for action and a lasting solution. It is acknowledged by all stakeholders that it won’t be easy, but needed.

What did the bilateral talks entail?

The meetings were centered around the interest of stakeholder in ISLA, their needs, their possible contributions and the focus of the program and its interventions. We understood that there is an overwhelming need and support for the ISLA approach in Côte d’Ivoire.

What kind of intervention do you envision?

We want to help safeguard the remaining forests by helping land-use planning, reforestation, creating a landscape investment fund, and agroforestry.

Who will be involved in the interventions?

The fundamental philosophy of ISLA is to leverage the role of the private sector (local, national, international) in multi-stakeholder coalitions that include government and local community representatives. The coalition defines the interventions and then selects the partners needed to jointly implement the actions.

What are the main obstacles, challenges to achieving this vision?

The program faces the challenge of balancing social, economic and ecological interests. This requires a clear business case for each of the stakeholders, plus long-term commitment around a shared vision for sustainable development of the landscape.

Will the ISLA program collaborate with other IDH programs and partners?

The ISLA program is very much linked to the IDH cocoa program in Côte d’Ivoire, as ISLA builds on the network and commitment of that program. Many similar partners will be engaged in a coordinated effort, and additionally the national and local government and relevant knowledge institutions.

Next steps for ISLA Côte d’Ivoire? 

We will organize a multi-stakeholder meeting in June to determine the draft governance structure of the landscape coalition, identify the first pilots and start with the long-term intervention plan for the landscape.