Due to the climate, environmental and food crisis that is hitting the driest regions of Latin America, the DAKI Semi-Arid Vivo project was born, an unprecedented initiative that was presented on August 18th via webinar, promoted by the Latin American Semi-Arid Platform and the Brazilian Semi-Arid Articulation (ASA,) associated with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The DAKI-Semiárido Vivo Project ("Dryland Adaptation Knowledge Initiative") is a unique and innovative initiative that will enable people in the semi-arid regions of Latin America to work together to address the climate crisis, develop resilient and sustainable livelihoods and, above all, live in dignity.
In Latin America, there are three dry areas that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and they are also among the poorest in each country. These are the Gran Chaco Americano (in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia), the Brazilian Northeastern Semi-Arid and the Central American Dry Corridor.
The rural population living in these regions, dedicated to family agriculture, faces many limitations in order to live in minimally humane conditions and to satisfy basic needs, such as food and access to water, as well as deficient production and commercialisation of their agro-food products, among others.
Given that these difficulties may increase in the future, through the DAKI project - the product of an alliance between different institutions - we will work with agricultural producers, civil society organisations and governments to face this challenge and ensure that the populations can live in better conditions in these regions.
"In addition to their climatic characteristics, Latin America's semi-arid regions have very deep similarities and cultural and biological diversity that give the region enormous potential for development and for improving the quality of life of families and communities," explained Gabriel Seghezzo, Executive Director of Fundapaz and focal point for the Semi-Arid region of Latin America. He added that indigenous and peasant organisations in these semi-arid regions "have been sharing similar struggles for decades and can debate and think together about proposals for the future.
"SEMI-ARID IS A POLITICAL, CLIMATIC, SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL CONCEPT, NOT JUST A CLIMATOLOGICAL DEFINITION".
The rich exchange between the rural, peasant and indigenous communities of these three major regions, already connected by their similar struggles, is expected to bring solutions to the climate, environmental and food crisis affecting them. In this regard, the project seeks to manage knowledge in order to scale up the local good practices of these populations to the continental level.
MOVING TOWARDS RESILIENT AGRICULTURE
To achieve this, the DAKI project will identify and systematize successful experiences of Climate-Resilient Agriculture (CRA) and train technicians and farmers to monitor and guide the transition from a conventional to a climate-resilient agricultural system. "Resilient agricultural practices are very important and that is why this project will document them, as well as train technicians and rural producers, who can be multipliers of these new techniques," says Claus Reiner, IFAD's director in Brazil.
Thus, the project is expected to play an important role in developing local capacities for the promotion of agro-ecology in semi-arid regions and for the strengthening of family and peasant agriculture.
On the other hand, DAKI not only seeks to give visibility to the experiences, but also to propose public policies, since it is presented as an opportunity for dialogue between communities and public authorities. "This type of project is sustainable over time when it is aimed at innovation in the field and the scaling up of public policies. They must be part of the governments' commitments," said Zulema Burneo, coordinator of the ILC LAC UCR.
DIVERSITY AS A KEY STRENGTH
"Daki is a very diverse project because of its geographical scope, the multiplicity of actors involved, the excellent inter-institutional alliances and articulations within and between countries, as well as the different identities and peoples. This is possible because there has already been work to bring together these different actors in favour of the semi-arid zones which we hope this project can strengthen and amplify," explains Zulema Burneo.
The project was coordinated by the Brazilian Semi-Arid Articulation (ASA) and the Latin American Semi-Arid Platform, organisations with a long history of working in these regions and which are respected and trusted by the inhabitants.
DAKI - Semiárido Vivo is a project financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a funding agency linked to the United Nations system and focused on rural populations.