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It’s Good to Talk: Green Negotiated Territorial Development Toolkit can make everyone’s voice count


At the heart of sustainable development lies one simple question: how do we ensure that the social, environmental and economic needs of people and planet are all met?

Considering this question is crucial in territorial development so that land and water is used and managed appropriately – to ensure food production and provide economic benefits without tapping out resources and ecosystem services, and to protect vulnerable communities, particularly farmers.

While the competing needs, ownership issues and mechanics of territorial development are undoubtedly complex, the first step to answering the question is surprisingly straightforward: we all need to talk to each other. 

This is what Green Negotiated Territorial Development (GreeNTD) aims to make happen, by bringing together all concerned parties to and aim to ensure that everybody gets what they need for as long as they need it.

“As populations grow and humanity alters the natural world with growing pace, we are seeing greater competition for dwindling resources,” said FAO Territorial development specialist Paolo Groppo. “The only way to deal with this, and to head off potential conflicts, is to ensure that everybody agrees on what is going to happen when development takes place.”

Unfortunately, trade-offs often exist when considering social, environmental and economic needs. In resource-scarce environments, choices may need to be made between conservation and production options, between short-term and long-term needs, and between agricultural development models that affect food security, equity and rural poverty in various ways. 

If not properly thought out, these trade-offs can cause problems. For example, inadequate land-use planning and tenure contributes to increasing the vulnerability of communities exposed to hazards. 

On the flip side, better land access and secure tenure enable food production and provide an incentive for landholders to improve their land through soil protection measures, tree planting, improved pastures, water conservation technologies or sustainable crop production. Such measures benefit everybody.

Making the right decisions requires a clear understanding of the trade-offs, of the implications of various options, and how to find the best possible solution. The only way to attain this understanding is to know the needs of all concerned.

The Toolkit for the application of Green Negotiated Territorial Development, from FAO’s Land and Water Division, sets out methods and tools to bring everybody together, gather the needed information and attain agreement on how to move forward.

GreeNTD, which was introduced by FAO in the previous working paper, is, at its core, a people-centered approach that takes into account human rights and gender sensitivities. The inclusion of all actors in territorial development allows the recognition of the key role that each of them plays. Crucially, it leads to the creation of a Socio-Ecological Territorial Agreement (SETA), an agreed approach to holistic and negotiated development that finds the best-possible combination of trade-offs. 

The toolkit’s approach is based on many years of experiences and projects carried out around the world. It can be used by anybody facing a difficult negotiation, from governments and companies to communities, dealers and nongovernmental organizations.

The toolkit takes users through simple steps, from understanding those who need to be engaged and the territory to be developed, how to develop and negotiate proposals, how to seal the deal with a SETA, and how to ensure it is implemented correctly.

Humanity’s ability to communicate is its greatest asset. By using the toolkit, we can put this asset to its best possible use.

Download the Toolkit for the application of Green Negotiated Territorial Development>>