Natural Resources
     and Environment

News, Publications & Announcements

March 2001
Education for Agriculture and Rural Development in Low-Income Countries
Implications of the Digital Divide

Education is a key strategy for bringing about the changes necessary to ensure that all people in the world can enjoy reasonable levels of food security, health and well-being. New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) bring about interesting opportunities for such education. Students in traditional schools, technical institutes and universities can benefit from the resources that ICTs can bring to the classroom. Learners outside of such classrooms can benefit from the learning, networking and distance education possibilities that ICTs offer. Unfortunately, such opportunities are not equally distributed among the world's population. The "digital divide" refers to inequitable access to ICTs both between wealthy and poor countries, and, within all countries, between relatively privileged and relatively underprivileged social groups. The digital divide threatens to further marginalise those groups, such as the rural poor in low-income countries, that are most vulnerable to insufficient and insecure food supplies. This presentation will outline the parameters of the digital divide, and describe what FAO is doing to bridge this divide and make education for agriculture and rural development available on a more equitable basis.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Communication & Education  
March 2001
Effective Management in Extension Advisory Services in Central and East European Countries

The management practices necessary for effective operation of extension services in Central and Eastern Europe have been reviewed. The difference in operational requirements between public extension and commercial consultancy services has been recognised. Then factors influencing the setting of clear aim, importance of stakeholders involvement in the preparation and operation of business plans, etc.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Research & Extension  
March 2001
The First International Workshop on Farm Radio Broadcasting

The First International Workshop on Farm Radio Broadcasting, organized by the Extension, Training and Communication Service, was held from the 19 - 22 February, 2001, at FAO Headquarters in Rome (Italy). The title of the workshop was "Information and Communication Technologies Servicing Farm Radio: New Contents, New Partnerships". The Workshop was attended by more than forty participants representing unions, federations, African, European and North American farm radio networks, institutions supporting farm radio, and communication experts as well as persons from other FAO technical services.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Communication & Education  
February 2001
LCCS: Land cover classification system

Despite the high demand of natural resources information, many existing maps/digital databases are not developed to really meet multi-user requirements. One of the basic causes (generally underestimated) of such situation is the type of classification/legend used to describe basic information such as land cover and/or land use: many of these classifications/legends are generally not comparable one to another and very often single project oriented. Although there are many classification systems in existence throughout the world, there is no single internationally accepted land cover classification system. Analysis of the physical and human resources information in many countries has revealed the following difficulties: basic information on environment and natural resources are often limited in extent; the quality of existing information is extremely variable and the way it is presented is often not optimal to support decision-making; topographical maps and thematic maps, when available, are heterogeneous; the information provided by the various institutions are often duplicated or inconsistent within the same country; it is extremely difficult to integrate or compare the existing information made available by departments and organizations.

Available in:

For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Resources  -Geo-Information  
January 2001
2. Good practice guidelines for agricultural leasing arrangements

Leasing offers an important way of improving access to land. These guidelines aim to assist governments and civil society in understanding how agricultural leasing and related agreements work, and what the advantages are of providing an appropriate framework for equitable arrangements that balance the interests of the tenant and land owner. They deal with policy issues and provide a practical guide to matters that should be considered by the land owner and tenant when negotiating over the leasing of agricultural land.

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For related information, see the following theme pages: -Land Tenure  

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