Moving from “Small is beautiful” to a “Sea of Transformative Change”: Applying a system-wide, country-owned and empowering capacity development approach to mainstream biodiversity across agriculture sector
Addressing FSN Forum Question: How can the technical and institutional capacity needed to promote sustainable agriculture and reduce the impact on biodiversity be developed?
Mainstreaming biodiversity within and between agriculture sectors requires addressing complexities across biophysical, technical and socio-economic levels and multiple actors.
Who will own, drive and be accountable for this mainstreaming process and results, particularly at country level? How can the process become country-owned, sustainable and reach scale? What are the national and subnational capacities across people, organizations, institutions, networks and policies that need to be enhanced?
In line with development effectiveness principles, the proposal is to take a system-wide, country-owned and empowering capacity development approach to enable transformative, country-driven and impactful actions to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity resources.
A participatory and iteractive process, system-wide capacity development means to interdependently strengthen:
- individual capacities (e.g. knowledge, skills and competencies),
- organizational and institutional capacities (e.g. performance of organizations, cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder coordination mechanisms) as well as
- the systemic capacities (e.g. the enabling environment such as sound regulatory and policy frameworks, effective governance, institutional linkages, institutional political economy, networks, political commitment and will).
Practically and operationally, this means to jointly with all stakeholders and across all capacity development levels to:
(a) assess capacity strengths, needs and priorities
(b) define and design contextualized capacity development interventions and
(c) define meaningful results and track progress
General guiding tools, methods, and experiences are available by a variety of development actors that can be further contextualized for biodiversity. This includes, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) such as:
- Enhancing Capacities for a Country-Owned Transition towards Climate Smart Agriculture. FAO. 2017. http://www.fao.org/climate-smart-agriculture-sourcebook/enabling-frameworks/module-c1-capacity-development/c1-overview/en/
- Institutional Capacity Development Assessment Approach for National Adaptation Planning in the Agriculture Sectors. FAO. 2018. http://www.fao.org/3/I8900EN/i8900en.pdf
- Capacity Development at Multiple Levels for Effective Implementation of Sustainable Land Management. FAO. 2017. page 82 in Sustainable Land Management (SLM) in Practice in the Kagera Basin. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i6085e.pdf
- Measuring Capacity Development Results- What and How. FAO. 2015. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i5243e.pdf
In sum, mainstreaming biodiversity across agriculture sectors will need to address complexities across biophysical, technical and socio-economic spheres. It will require meaningful inclusion of and facilitated dialogue among all actors to nurture trust across sectors and administrative levels. Above all, the process needs to foster joint-ownership, joint-commitment and mutual accountability to achieve biodiversity improvements the planet so urgently requires.
A system-wide, needs-based and empowering capacity development approach across people, organizations, institutions and the enabling policy environment can make a tangible and meaningful contribution towards this aim.
Disclaimer: This is a contribution to the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition on “Mainstreaming Biodiversity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry for improved food security and better nutrition”. It is a personal opinion with reference to institutional approaches on effective capacity development of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).