ACLIE 2021 intends to foster and build on African cross-sectoral engagement and the exchange of solutions with a theme of Connecting for Resilience. Considering the most pressing issues of our time - climate change, biodiversity loss, Covid-19, and the spectre of future pandemics - efforts to maintain ecological and human resilience are critical. The ability of ecosystems to maintain their functions and services is foundational to sustainable development, human health, and the environment. Ecosystem function is dependent on landscape connectivity, and linear infrastructure and development (which includes road, rail, power lines, pipelines, fencing and waterways), in Africa poses a risk to this. Consequently, mitigating the impacts of linear infrastructure is central to efforts to maintain ecological and human resilience on the continent.
Linked to the overall theme, ACLIE 2021 will explore four sub-themes, with each day of the conference covering one sub-theme at plenary level.
The need to adapt to climate change has significant implications for the ways in which linear infrastructure and development is planned, designed, operated, and maintained on the African continent. The current and future impacts of climate change on linear infrastructure are well-understood, leading to global, regional, and national efforts towards developing climate-resilient infrastructure. The impacts of linear infrastructure on the ability of ecosystems and humans to adapt to climate change are far less researched. Understanding this dynamic is particularly important on the African continent, which is disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
ACLIE 2021 aims to play a role in mainstreaming the topic of linear infrastructure into climate change adaptation discussions and research (and vice versa), viewing this as critical for holistic planning and sustainable outcomes. Linked to climate change adaptation and linear infrastructure are opportunities related to invasive alien plant management and the restoration agenda, which will be addressed under this sub-theme.
Innovation is the process of turning ideas into practical, context-appropriate solutions, and tends to occur where there are strong cultures of collaboration. On a global scale, there are multiple examples of innovation for effective mitigation of linear infrastructure impacts on the environment, from data collection systems to engineered solutions to prevent mortality of wildlife species. With Africa being host to a third of the world’s biodiversity and planning major investment in linear infrastructure development, practitioners working in the fields of engineering, conservation, and technology development have significant collaborative work to do.
ACLIE 2021 hopes to highlight existing African and global examples of innovation while promoting stronger communities of practice, knowledge-sharing, and policy which can support the development of context-appropriate mitigation solutions for linear infrastructure in Africa.
Many of the new infrastructure development corridors being planned and constructed on the African continent are composed of parallel linear infrastructure projects, including railways, roads, powerlines, pipelines, fences, and ICT infrastructure. Assessment of cumulative environmental impact requires strengthening in many contexts to enable informed decision-making in terms of mitigation. Coordinating these types of parallel projects can be particularly complex from a mitigation perspective, especially with project-to-project variation in timelines and engineering requirements.
ACLIE 2021 aims to further the discussion on planning for cumulative impacts by highlighting research, good-practise, examples of coordination, and opportunities for policy development and implementation.
There are three critical points in the life of a linear infrastructure project which are reliant on economic tools and finance for securing effective mitigation of environmental impacts. The upstream application of economic tools is an essential but underutilised approach for considering how to reduce the negative impacts of linear infrastructure projects on the environment. Once a project has been given approval, financing for mitigation is a critical determinant for positive ecological outcomes. The question in many projects, however, is not whether there is sufficient finance for mitigation and ongoing monitoring, but rather how this finance is spent. In the operations phase of a project, retrofitting may be required to mitigate unforeseen environmental impacts, often requiring substantial finance.
ACLIE 2021 will aim to foster cross-sectoral and practical discussions on how practitioners in Africa can engage with the full suite of economic tools and financing for improved mitigation outcomes.
Abstract submissions may touch on any number of sub-themes, given their cross-cutting nature.
Submissions are composed of answers to listed information categories/questions, a 300-word text abstract, and a 20 second (or less) introductory video. See the Submission Table below. The introductory video should include the presenter introducing themselves, what they do, where they work and the title of their presentation.
Professionals and students from various fields are encouraged to submit a proposal, including but not limited to those with expertise in engineering, ecology, finance, economics, law, geography business, community-based natural resource management, anthropology, technology development, environmental assessment, mitigation, protected area management, coordination and partnership development.
ACLIE 2021 hopes for geographical representation from across the continent and world.
Representatives from African Francophone countries are encouraged to submit presentations in French.
Once an On the Ground abstract has been accepted by the ACLIE Scientific Review Committee, the participant will be required to prepare their video. Videos will need to be submitted on the online portal by Friday, 6 August 2021. Please ensure that you consider lighting and sound when recording your videos.
Cross-cutting Curated will be a series of one and a half hour special sessions designed to encourage cross-cutting, inter-disciplinary thinking on linear infrastructure and the conference theme/sub-themes. These sessions will be proposed and organised by a consortium of institutions or individuals around a specific theme. The chosen theme should provide for commentary on more than one type of linear infrastructure.
Session organisers are encouraged to curate a diverse session in terms of country representation, expertise represented, and demographics. Youth engagement should be mainstreamed in the session. The inclusion of African francophone participants is encouraged. Organisers are also encouraged to adopt a dynamic and interactive format that goes beyond the traditional series of PowerPoint presentations followed by Q&A.
On the Ground will be a series of virtual landscape visits over the course of ACLIE 2021. Each landscape visit should showcase opportunities for and/or results of mitigation efforts at key sites. Videos can include but are not limited to interviews with landscape stakeholders, identifying key sites of interaction between linear infrastructure and biodiversity, explanations of on-the-ground mitigation, demonstrations of technology etc.
20x20 will be a series of engaging sessions over the course of ACLIE 2021. Each presenter will present a series of twenty images for twenty seconds each (400 seconds total) about an initiative, project or research . Each 20x20 presentation should also speak to one or more of the conference sub-themes.
An image can be a photograph, a map (static or interactive), a drawing, or a diagram but with no text.
In the Lions’ Den will be a series of dynamic sessions over the course of ACLIE 2021. It will provide a space where participants can pitch their solutions-focused ideas related to linear infrastructure and ecosystems to a panel of leaders (“the Lions”) in relevant fields.
Each participant will provide a three-minute pitch to the Lions on an imagined solution OR an already-existing solution which needs scaling. A solution should contribute to the harmonisation of infrastructure and ecosystems in Africa and can relate to planning, processes, design and technology, partnerships, policy, etc. Out-of-the-box ideas are encouraged. Each pitch should also speak to one or more of the conference sub-themes. Participants will need to think through both the time frame for implementation of the solution as well as a rough cost estimate if applicable. Participants will be able to use visual aids.
The pitches will be followed by comments and possible endorsements from the Lions. The online audience will be invited to ask questions throughout the session, with answers and discussion to follow after the Lions have provided comments. Note that the Lions will not have real money to provide to participants but, along with other session attendees, may be able to provide social capital to support the implementation of a solution.