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IV. Capacity-building for sustainable agriculture and rural development

1. Human resources development
2. Institutional strengthening
3. Legal instruments
4. Information systems
5. Technical cooperation and networking

1. Human resources development

Small island developing States often have unique population dynamics: high population growth (more than 3 percent in the Pacific); the larger part of the population under working age; a shortage of labour, yet high unemployment rates; high rates of emigration including many of the better-educated population; and lack of economic opportunities to entice educated islanders abroad to return home.

Extensive training, communication and extension programmes, public awareness about sustainable development principles can be used for capacity-building and should target:

* policy-makers, legal officers, those responsible for standards and controls, policy analysts in sector planning units;

* managers of programmes and projects, research staff, and extensionists, trainers and communication specialists;

* farmers, managers of rural institutions, NGOs, private sector operators, communication systems, and the media and the public at large.

Most national agricultural, forestry, and fisheries research institutions concentrate on specific components of technology, along commodity or disciplinary lines. In future, a more holistic approach is needed with interdisciplinary and usually multi-institutional studies of ecosystem management, biological inter-actions of mixed crop, tree and animal production systems, including aquaculture. Prominent among these temporal and spatial interactions are nutrient flows and the effects of production practices on waste management and pest control. Assessment of indigenous knowledge and traditional production systems, and development of appropriate technologies with due attention to the differences between areas of high/intermediate potential and to those of marginal/low potential should be included in these studies. Fostering this indispensable collaboration between hitherto compartmentalised institutions will initially not be easy.

"Rural Development to Combat Poverty in Sao Tome et Principe"

In Sao Tome And Principe at independence, cocoa and coffee production: decreased without being substituted by other export crops. The country suffers from increased poverty and related health and nutrition problems, especially in rural areas. Low production and limited access to goods and services are the main cause of rural poverty. In 1992 measures were adopted for the privatization of agriculture and distribution of land to small and middle-range farmers. The success of these measures depends on a strategy for rural development and this Programme (1993-1997) aims to promote favourable conditions for the enhancement of rural quality of life under the following three headings a decentralized, participative structure for the creation, management and coordination of activities; diversification of productive activities and employment to promote food self-sufficiency, increase rural incomes and enhance rural health and nutritional status; establishment of an action programme for the creation and maintenance of basic infrastructures (e.g. schools, health centres, sewage treatment).

The vital contribution of agricultural research to rapid expansion of food and agricultural production in the developing countries has long been recognized. More recently, it has been seen that agricultural research can and must also play a key role in ensuring that increases in production are obtained in a manner that does not damage the environment and thus jeopardize future production potential. Nevertheless, agricultural research will always have to compete with the many other sectors of agricultural and rural development, and other national priority areas, for such essential but scarce resources as finance (both capital and current) and suitably trained persons. To do so effectively, it must begin by presenting a reasoned case for its resource requirements. Each national system must establish detailed priorities, based not only on specific national needs but also taking account of what can most readily be borrowed and adapted from that already achieved elsewhere, both by the international research centres and by national research bodies in other countries with similar agricultural situations and problems. It is equally essential that national systems should demonstrate their capability to organize and manage the scarce resources allocated to them, and evaluate the impact of their work on agricultural production. In meeting such challenges, the exchange of information and experience between national agricultural research systems in countries with similar conditions can be most helpful.

Awareness of the importance of technology and research in the sustainable agricultural development process has been the subject of a number of meetings within the framework of FAO's Programme on Agricultural Research Management. This programme is composed of regional seminars/courses for agricultural research managers aimed at strengthening their ability to recognize the challenges facing them and to adopt strategic planning as a tool for meeting the evolving challenges related to sustainable agriculture and self-reliance. The Organization encourages technical cooperation among developing countries and collaboration between developed and developing country institutions in this field. FAO's role is mainly catalytic and supportive, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the development at national level of endogenous capacity for productive and cost-effective research.

"FAO Expert Consultation on Technology Assessment and Transfer for SARD in Asia-Pacific Region, Kuala Lumpur, 14-18 December 1992"

This consultation provided a response to the technological challenges in the area of sustainable agriculture posed by UNCED and Agenda 21. The Consultation developed guidelines, concepts and indicators for technology assessment and elaborated a comprehensive approach to technology assessment and transfer through sectoral linkages and capacity-building. The conceptual framework for agro-ecological zones, resource endowments, production systems, indicators and technological options included specific treatment of island countries.

Capacity-building in the food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors chiefly addresses the establishment or strengthening of formal (government) and informal (NG0s, community groups, etc.) institutions, the private sector and individuals. The aim is to enable them to be better able to face their responsibilities in policy and decision-making and in implementing rural development programmes more efficiently. This also implies decentralization down to local level, and providing incentives for local community initiatives and people's participation. To this end, clear rights to resource use have to be established at local level, including those of rural women. Voluntary organizations and those representing the interests of the various parties/interest groups should be involved: they have a capacity to train community leaders (user groups, cooperatives and other rural organizations) and to assist in consolidating grassroots organizations. In-service training of government staff in participatory techniques is an essential complement to the involvement of local groups.

As part of education and training, and broader regional cooperation, appropriate Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) arrangements among small island developing States should also be fostered. This is already happening to some extent: for example, students from the Maldives in the Indian Ocean undertake university education in Fiji in the South Pacific. There is plenty of scope for expanding such types of exchange. Networking between national agricultural research institutes, extension services and NG0s should also be encouraged.

"The FAO Plan of Action on People's Participation"

In conjunction with the mobilization and participation of local people, the Plan of Action enables local communities to take increased responsibilities in the sustainable management of local resources and in the protection of their environment. This approach covers project related to forestry, agroforestry, watershed management, wildlife and protected area management, and fisheries. Assistance is provided to small farmers in their efforts to strengthen their operational structure to become a solid, self-reliant and sustainable movement capable of integrating the entire chain of services to their member farmers and thus contribute to increasing the income of the farming population. For example, a project in Grenada has facilitated the creation by farmers of the first national, independent, farm business cooperative, the Grenada Farmers Cooperative. This multi-purpose cooperative will provide inputs, marketing, education, training, information and other services. Another assistance required by farmers' organizations is cost-effective linkages to extension services, agricultural research and other sources of information and technologies to increase productivity, income and sustainability of farming activities.

2. Institutional strengthening

In most small island developing States national administrations are usually small and frail, ministries often having less than ten professional staff. As a result, many administrations lack the full range of in-house expertise to respond to the changes required for sustainable agriculture and rural development. Most islands are therefore reliant, on an ad hoc basis, on specialist foreign management and development advice. Administrative demands (e.g. normal bureaucratic management responsibilities, vessel licensing, etc) placed on local personnel leave professional staff limited scope to engage in research and other work of a technical nature. Where staff engage in research, their physical isolation and lack of ready access to published materials and research findings, as well as the unavailability of peers with whom to interact professionally, constitute severe constraints.

Another common feature of many small islands' administrations is the high rate of staff turnover due to the fact that advancement can only be obtained elsewhere in the country or overseas. This impairs continuity of policy and the maintenance of "corporate memory". Thus bureaucrats trained in a specific sector commonly work in other ministries or regional/international organizations, migrate overseas on a temporary or permanent basis or move to the private sector, leading to an attrition rate of 50 percent for well-educated and trained fisheries personnel in these States.

The drain of the best trained civil servants to the private sector is also common and while this movement disadvantages the public sector and necessitates an ongoing human resource development effort in excess of its establishment needs, the economy overall is not normally disadvantaged and may well even benefit.

As a consequence of the fluidity of the above, administrations are often staffed by personnel that are not well trained or experienced in appropriate management and development practices. Ongoing training and education programmes designed to provide and enhance management and development skills are therefore needed. However, funding shortages from national sources for such programmes, and the difficulties associated with the release of staff for longer-term courses, generally constrain training and education programmes.

Short-term and long-term training and education programmes for the staff of agriculture, forestry and fisheries administrations can be undertaken in-country or overseas, on-the-job or more formally. The nature of such training should be carefully selected and closely matched to the management and development skills required in the administration. While in-country training has many advantages because it is provided in a familiar environment and tends to be more cost-effective, overseas training has the benefit of exposing personnel to new management and development experiences, concepts and practices. However, where overseas education and training is required, training and education on a regional basis should be encouraged because it will be more relevant.

Although it is clear that institution strengthening is a priority for sustained use of natural resources, several questions remain about its implementation. Which are the areas of intervention for governments and which for the private sector? How will people's participation be promoted and secured? What is the potential and role of local and expatriate NG0s? What kind of services can be shared among neighbouring small island countries to reduce costs and secure durability of such services? How will critical issues like land cadastre, information flow, property rights and land use be integrated in operational programmes that contribute to natural resource use and conservation?

"Management of Agricultural Services for Small Farmers in Grenada, Jamaica, and, Trinidad and Tobago"

A series of case studies on the organization and management of If agricultural I services for small farmers was undertaken in 1992 in collaboration with the university of the West Indies. The sub-regional workshop which took place in Kingston in May 1993 discussed the findings of the case studies, and made recommendations revolving around the broad areas of agricultural delivery services under the following themes: marketing and credit; technology transfer and training; policy and institutions; and: extension models and linkages. National follow-up activities include the further strengthening of delivery services to small farmers on the basis of surveys evaluating what is offered and its effectiveness. At the sub regional level, studies, policies, and integrated, well-coordinated activities have been proposed with respect to rural development, marketing and credit, land tenure and regional research, and technology generation and transfer.

"South Pacific Forestry Development Programme"

Forests and trees play an important role in the socio-economic well-being of the communities in all countries in the Pacific region. Forestry has a relatively low priority in most of these countries for the allocation of resources by governments and is outside the effective ambit of the existing regional agencies. Nevertheless, regional activities such as training and research can reverse the negative impacts of reduced forests and tree cover. The UNDP/FAO South Pacific Forestry Development Programme was launched in 1988 with the objective of upgrading the status of forest development in participating counties. In the process, the Programme developed into an important focal point for forestry, agroforestry and related activities in the region. The first phase (1992-94) of this Program aims at providing technical training and other support to 15 member countries (Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, W. Samoa) to improve their capacity to better use, manage and develop their forest resources on a sound and sustainable basis. It has developed appropriate mechanisms for cooperation among all interested parties (member countries, agencies and donors) through the annual Heads of Forestry Meetings. Particular stress is placed on activities aimed at protecting and enhancing the role and economic contribution of the sector and the interests and well-being of local communities, women and the environment. Phase II of the programme will be executed by a regional institution to be determined by the Heads of Forestry of project countries.

3. Legal instruments

Most small island developing States are members of the UN, and proportional to their total population, they have significant opportunities to voice their concerns at international level. Although economic issues dominated their concerns in the past, environmental problems have long been included, more implicitly than explicitly, in their agendas. It was, however, only in 1990, after the Second World Climate Conference, that sea-level rise, the common threat to all small islands, fostered the unification of these countries and focused their attention on environmental issues. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) was created and subsequently the concerns of small island developing States were included in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 followed by the General Assembly Resolution 47/189 calling for the first UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

At regional level, several conventions regulate the scientific exploitation of natural resources (both terrestrial and marine), and transboundary pollution problems. In these conventions, arrangements for legal coordination are often loose or do not provide for the participation of inter-governmental organizations to promote regional integration.

Institutions and regional legal instruments are vital to the development of small islands which often do not possess sufficient financial means or appropriately qualified staff to establish national focal points. A regional approach can help in overcoming these constraints. The absence of specific environmental legislation is a major obstacle to moving towards sustainable development of many small island countries. Even where legislation exists, it is often not implemented. Amongst areas of concern in this respect are climate change, plant protection, animal health, biodiversity, integrated coastal zone management, and high seas fishing.

Many regional and subregional initiatives have, in fact, been of particular importance to small island developing States. Examples include:

* the preparation of legislation and a regional instrument for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) implementing the International Plant Protection Convention;

* work on the international Code of Conduct for Pesticides with special focus on legislation for pesticides control which will benefit many small island developing States;

* a regional instrument for animal quarantine currently under preparation in the context of moves towards the establishment of a Caribbean Common Market; and

* activities related to the legal aspects of the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources, which, while not focused on small island developing States as such, will be of importance to them.

At a more general level, considerable work is being done for small island developing States on an individual basis in the form of preparation of laws and regulations concerning environmental law, fisheries, forestry, wildlife, water, land, including land tenure and land use planning, and plant protection. This work includes the preparation of legislation or regulations giving effect to regionally or sub-regionally agreed instruments on such subjects.

"Regional Approach to the Surveillance and Prevention of Amblyomma Variegatum Tick in the CARICOM Countries"

Caribbean livestock production is threatened by the presence of A. variegatum and its associated diseases which is an important vector for the causative agent of heartwater (cowdriosis.) in ruminants. Following a sub-regional project in 1997-89, a programme for the eradication of A. variegatum from the Caribbean was formulated for implementation by the CARICOM Secretariat. This project (1990-94) aims at: advising governments on the establishment of effective tick surveillance and quarantine methods; training necessary support staff to carry out tick surveillance and quarantine regimes; assisting some countries to continue their tick control programmes in infested areas; and advising governments on necessary legislation to support a tick control/eradication programme. In order to meet the latter objective, all relevant legislation in each country (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago) was reviewed and model legislation was drafted, including regulations to be enacted by each country. The CARICOM Secretariat will provide advice and legal consultation to the member and associated member countries on how to adapt and implement model legislation developed by this project.

4. Information systems

Data bases, essential for planning purposes, are generally very weak or non-existent in small island developing States. Several questions can be asked in this regard: What kind of information is required? How can the small island developing States overcome the paucity of information? What kind of collaboration and services can be shared to accomplish this task? How can better decisions be made and more effective policies formulated with the available information? How can small island developing States maintain an updated data base?

"Development of Agricultural Statistics in the Pacific"

The economies of the Pacific island countries are predominantly agricultural. In recent years, considerable resources have gone into the development of the sector, but despite this, growth has stagnated. The lack of reliable, timely and pertinent statistics has been widely cited as a development constraint. For the same reasons, it has been difficult to formulate long-term development strategies. This project (1986-92) was designed to assist countries to establish capability in agricultural statistics, and thus provide a regular flow of information for policy, planning and decision making. With twelve countries participating in this project (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Niue, Palau Samoa Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu), all at different stages of development, the project adopted a flexible approach, and provided support to national programmes within the context of the regional development programme. National programmes: with emphasis on sustainability were designed and countries were encouraged to move forward at a pace commensurate with the own, priorities and resources. The project considered training in all aspects of agricultural statistics-as-the key to developing national capabilities Stress was placed on meeting the demands of the users Of agricultural statistics in a timely manner and constant and active dialogue between the producers and users was encouraged. The conduct of agricultural censuses featured heavily in the programme of the project which supported censuses by supplementing other resources available at the national level. This interaction of national and regional activities was very successful and was a key feature of the project strategy. The development of statistical services is, by nature, a long-term process. Currently, there is no regional institution capable of assuming overall responsibility for assistance to the countries of the region to develop their: statistical capacities. A suitable support service should therefore be established within an appropriate regional institution, such as the South Pacific Commission, for which further Cal assistance will be required. At the national level, better coordination between the: agencies involved in collecting agricultural statistics, the integration of activities in the national statistics programme and creating formal links between the producers and users of agricultural statistics should be stressed.

In small island developing States the planning framework for agricultural development, and the methodology for collecting, processing and analyzing data on food and agriculture is readily available. Most of the essential -elements for developing a small island country information system have been conceptualized. Most small island developing States, however, lack adequate statistical organization and personnel, and understanding and coordination between statistical offices and economic analysis, planning and decision-making agencies is virtually non-existent. These problems are exacerbated by the rapid turnover of limited trained staff already referred to.

Reliable agricultural statistics are essential for measuring sustainable agriculture and rural development. Particular attention should therefore be paid to establishing an institutional framework, firmly embedded in an interdisciplinary national effort, to promote a continuous dialogue between producers and users of statistics.

The objectives and actions adopted by governments at UNCED are many, and the most immediate challenge at national level is to set priorities and ensure appropriate distribution of responsibilities among the institutions concerned. Additional data, new methods of data analysis, and appropriate tools to integrate environmental, social and economic considerations in decision-making are required for this purpose. A major need is to make conventional statistics compatible with the geographic information systems being developed with the help of remote sensing and computers. In addition, new types of data sets, which are necessary to establish cause/effect relationships for decision-making and to assess and monitor progress in sustainable development, have still to be determined and collected.

"Agricultural Land Information System in Barbados"

The objective of the FAO/UNDP project (1989-94) was to produce a land use map, including a GIS-based Land Information System (LIS). Since the Canadian International Development Agency 1 was implementing an air-photo project for the Leeward and Windward islands, they agreed to include Barbados in their air-photo coverage and to change technical specifications to correspond to this project's requirements (i.e. to use true colour film and photoscale of 1:10,000). Procurement of good quality, aerial photography took four years (1989-92) due to poor weather conditions. The project surpassed its expected output, since, thanks to the photographic coverage, ortho-photographs were produced which could be used as field documents for identifying land limits and delivering temporary land registration certificates. This has provided managers with more flexibility in using the information generated by the project and its integration with other relevant geographic datasets (e.g. topography, soils, monthly rainfall and temperatures, plantations, administrative boundaries, etc.) significantly enhanced its potential applications. A cooperation agreement was obtained with various organizations to support the initiative and the good results convinced donors of the relevance of such an approach to the whole region A network was therefore proposed to strengthen national capabilities in remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) through regional cooperation, where benefits would be clearly defined for all participating countries- As a follow-up to this project, TCDC agreements are now being sought for management and implementation with both the private sector and government agencies participating in the proposed network. This would include: annual rotation of the network secretariat; information exchange; training and workshops; standardization of methodologies; geographic data formats and LIS products; and implementation of joint pilot studies. This project has considerable potential for replication in the Pacific and other island countries.

Census and socio-economic surveys and mapping should be considered a priority to locate specific opportunities/initiatives to be supported, bearing in mind local traditions and constraints. Assessment of available documentation/information and identification of needs/requirements according to possible, funding should be carried before any large-scale intervention. As far as remote sensing is concerned, any island could be covered by satellite at a 1125000 scale for geographical representation of land and near off-shore resources. Fiscal/legal cadastre at a 1/2000 scale from photogrammetry could be obtained if funds for aerial photography over highly-valued lands are available.

Establishment of land-use maps and GIS-based Land Information Systems is essential to:

* provide more reliable and timely information to agricultural policy-makers and managers;

* plan crop diversification based on irrigation potential;

* plan more efficient protective measures against soil erosion;

* integrate current land use with crop census data; improve monitoring of farm incentive programmes;

* experiment models for crop yield estimates; and

* improve geographic monitoring of coastal fisheries through systematic inclusion of recorded landings in databases.

"Training Courses on Application of Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems"

The German Foundation for International Development, in cooperation with FAO and the ABEAM Institute of Forest Management, offers training courses on remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The main objective is to provide background knowledge as well as practical experience in the environmental application of remote sensing (air-borne, and: space-borne) and the handling of GIS techniques in monitoring and managing tropical rain forests and natural resources. The region of special interest is South East Asia. Participants m the courses are foresters, geographers, landscape planners and persons with related professions who already have experience in either the application of remote sensing or GIS application for forestry, and environmental purposes. The training courses last six weeks and are offered every year for about 20 participants. They provide an overview and practical experience as well as providing some initial ideas for further decision-making. The courses do not replace other knowledge transfer possibilities such as on-the-job training or detailed programmes with a longer time frame.

Gaps and discrepancies in available data make it difficult to broaden the scope of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) to address sustainability issues. Currently, EIA procedures are mostly confined to projects: they should also cover the "upstream" aspects of policy, plans and programmes implemented by these projects. EIAs should also become part of broader sustainability analyses or sustainability audits at national level addressing the long-term aspects of socio-economic development.

"Using Computers to Analyse Sustainability Issues in Agriculture Scenarios"

The Computerized System for Agricultural and Population Planning Assistance: and Training (CAPPA) is a computer software package for agriculture-sector projections and scenario analysis. It may be used as both a training and operational tool for planning. It is used to produce estimates of population and labour force, food demand, agricultural and animal production and inputs requirements CAPPA is not a model of a country's economy or agricultural sector. Rather, it is a set of interlinked projections, sub-programmes and consistency mechanisms to facilitate the construction of medium or long-term scenarios. It contains a country-specific data base which FAO can supply for 90 countries; ready-made data is available: for six of the small island developing States (i.e. Cyprus Mauritius Dominican Republic Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago). On the basis of the experience acquired, a new version of CAPPA, called K2, is, being developed It is designed for operational purposes and will also: include, besides sector analysis tools, tools for policy analysis and for assessing the impact on the environment and on sustainability of policies simulated. Indicators of sustainability (socio-economic and environmental are being developed (resources, such as land and water, inputs, such as seeds labour, capital, and outputs such as products, income, bio-physical or social impact) for each production module (crop, animal, forestry., land and water, etc.). Temporal and spatial statistical data are integrated to measure changes in the state of a natural resource. K2 would project these indicators in each scenario constructed: with the software allowing an assessment of the likely impact of alternative sets of policies on sustainability.

ECOZONE is a knowledge-based computer system for training in environmental impacts of agri-projects. The system includes a network of potential environmental impacts of agricultural development activities in different regions of the world It also provides an encyclopedia of textual information, including definitions, mitigation measures explanations of causalities, etc. ECOZONE may be used in training sessions from half-a-day to a week, and does not require any previous computer knowledge.


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