Building Forward Better

Building Forward Better – The Rationale

Conflicts and fragility nowadays are at the core of some of the most daunting challenges and they have highly negative impacts on any development attempt. Countries affected by vulnerability, experience socio-economic emergencies that deteriorate food security and health, while malnutrition and undernourishment can exacerbate tensions and enhance the risk of future violence. Crises generated by global pandemics, such as COVID 19, can have further negative effects on fragile contexts.

A most critical challenge in conflict or post-conflict situations, natural resources management, and in particular land and water management, is largely acknowledged as a key factor in the wider process of peace-building and sustainable development. Although environmental factors are rarely, if ever, the sole cause of conflicts and social unrests, the exploitation of natural resources and related environmental stresses can be implicated in all phases of the conflict cycle from contributing to the outbreak and perpetuation of violence to undermining prospects for peace.

The effective management of natural resources for agricultural production is a key strategy, therefore, not only to reduce food insecurity, but also to prevent historical fragilities from turning into violence that reverses any development gain.

The impact of conflicts on natural resources management pertains different areas, as it goes from losses in human capacity at the institutional, technical and individual levels to wide-scale destruction of food production and health infrastructure and damages to agriculture and security services. Capacity development programs offer precious recovery opportunities for changes, modernization and for “building forward better” – opportunities that must not be missed. A capacity-building project is instrumental to tackle such challenges, address the knowledge gaps in natural resources management created by fragility and conflict, and rebuild the local human capital at different levels – individual and institutional.

Building Forward Better – The Scope

The initiative aims at building and enhancing human capital in various domains related to natural resources management in Libya, Mali and Niger, by providing training opportunities to national governments experts and professionals. Though the degree of conflict, fragility and violence in the three countries is different, they are equally confronted with the need to improve natural resources management, strengthen national institutions and boost human capital to enhance agricultural productivity, improve food security and progress towards the SGDs.

Furthermore, the spreading of global pandemics increases the number of countries put at risk by ineffective management of natural resources that could, on the opposite, contribute to boost food production and improve health conditions.
In order to tailor specific country-level training programs, each country decides, through a baseline stakeholders’ consultation process and the following participants’ assessment surveys, which training areas are more relevant and the level of training. The flexible design of the program then allows the adaptation of training activities, both in terms of topics and modalities, and according to priorities defined through participatory processes. Training activities are not limited to single induction events but conceived as a comprehensive suite of continued learning opportunities, including series of e-administered courses, e-nuggets and face-to-face training. Training partners in the different sessions are international resources from academia, research centres and private sector, as well as FAO experts.