Chapter 9 described some opportunities for collaborative research at the regional level. A regional resource centre for neighbouring countries can also:
act as an information clearinghouse;
preserve the region's main indigenous knowledge systems;
identify knowledge gaps best addressed through collaborative research.
A regional resource centre or centre of excellence can also act as conduit for transfer of sophisticated technologies from industrialized countries to developing countries.
Countries that share similar resources (cultural and/or biological) and problems can also collaborate through twinning arrangements and cosponsored activities. Twinning involves short- and long-term exchange of experience between universities or research organizations through staff visits, collaborative research and training, and exchange of publications. FAO has supported such exchanges through the Forestry Research Support for Asia-Pacific (FORSPA) and the Forestry Research and Forest Research Networking in Sub-Saharan Africa (FONESSA) (Sène, 1995).
Agencies of the United Nations, the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) support programmes that relate to their mandates of alleviating poverty and improving food security for the poor. International NGOs, such as the World Conservation Union (IUCN), support efforts to promote sustainable management of the world's ecosystems.
Among UN agencies, FAO has taken the lead on NWFPs per se by exchanging information on sustainable production, harvesting, marketing, community organization, etc. FAO is also leading efforts to:
harmonize the trade classification of NWFPs;
develop methodologies for analyzing market chain interactions and resource assessments;
compile trade statistics and assess the impact of trade regulations.
A volume of guidelines to support national biodiversity policy reform resulted from a collaboration of UN Agencies, the World Resources Institute and IUCN (WRI-IUCN-UNEP, 1992).
In the CGIAR system, the research centres that deal most with NWFPs are: the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor, Indonesia; the International Centre for Agroforestry Research (ICRAF) based in Nairobi, Kenya; the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria; and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, D.C., USA.
The Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica, carries out research and training related to various aspects of NWFPs in Central America.
The GEF is a relatively new source of international support for local forest management initiatives, helping developing countries protect biodiversity and other resources. Jointly implemented by UNDP (technical assistance), UNEP (policy guidance) and the World Bank (trustee and investment), GEF supports projects in various countries that expand the roles of indigenous communities in environmental research and management (Poole, 1993). The Facility is committed to working with community-based NGOs on projects of up to US$ 50,000 (Braatz et al., 1992).
Text box 10.2: Support for local wildlife management in Zimbabwe
The Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) started in 1988 to maintain wildlife resources through local management and use. The legislation that most promoted CAMPFIRE was Zimbabwe's Parks and Wildlife Act, which facilitated decentralization.
CAMPFIRE consists of the Zimbabwe Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, the University of Zimbabwe's Centre for Applied Social Science Research and two NGOs: World Wide Fund for Nature and the Zimbabwe Trust. CAMPFIRE provides communities with managerial support and technical assistance for wildlife management.
CAMPFIRE district councils manage and effectively own the wildlife resources in their areas, employing hunting quotas, strategically located water pumps and fire management. Economic evaluations have focused on the programme's financial impact at the household level (IFPRI, in press). The programme and its interdisciplinary support system, with policy support from the relevant government department for promoting community participation, has shown success and flexibility (Erdmann, 1993).
The international Expert Consultation on Non-Wood Forest Products held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in January 1995 recommended that, to provide institutional support, international organizations should (FAO, 1995b):
make NWFP activities an important component of their policies and programmes, with more support for national institutions and programmes;
compile and disseminate industrialized-country experience with non-wood forest resource management and use;
support interdisciplinary composition of international programme management teams;
further examine the implications of international agreements and conventions (CITES, GATT and others) on local development of non-wood forest resources and refine them to foster wise resource use;
disseminate existing information relevant to producers' needs more broadly (in proceedings, published research and extension materials) through national information centres and networks;
support South-South cooperation through collaborative activities i.e.: studies, research programmes, seminars, etc.
In this way, international agencies can reduce the burden on developing countries, where the potential for sustainable utilization of NWFPs and the danger of over-exploitation of resources are the greatest.
Use awareness campaigns to reverse negative attitudes about rural traditions in which NWFPs play a role.
Implement policy adjustments for developing the NWFP sector. Key changes should: (1) clarify tenure and access rights, (2) review trade regulations to promote long-term investment and ensure scale-neutrality for small enterprises and (3) refine mechanisms such as intellectual property rights (IPR) to compensate communities and protect their interests.
Maintain community control against outside commercial pressures using legal enforcement of clearly defined rights of use and strong social institutions.
Government agencies should ensure that producers receive better information and guidance on: resources and tenure; techniques for harvesting, processing and marketing; and the effects trade regulations. Innovative government-NGO collaborations can enhance support for education and training on these topics.
Use flexible credit mechanisms (including acceptance of physical product stock to guarantee loans, and forest inventories of economic species as collateral) to extend credit availability and improve rural productivity.
Secure intellectual property rights for forest/rural communities in the national legal framework.
Improve public accounting of NWFP contributions to local and national economies by using comprehensive classification systems, better information on NWFPs and improved systems for estimating environmental assets, gain and losses.
Establish regional collaboration on technical issues and international support for sharing experience and strengthening institutions.
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