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“ICT, NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT”

BACKGROUND PAPER FOR THE IDRC REGIONAL ICT AND LOCAL


DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP

“ICT, NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT”


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WORKSHOP
LIST OF ACRONYMS

CSO Civil Society Organization

CTA Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation

DFID Department for International Development (UK)

ENDA TM Environmental Development Action in the Third World

FAO United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

GIS Geographical Information System

GPS Global Positioning System

ICT Information and communications technology

ICT4D Information and communication technologies for development

IDRC International Development Research Centre

IT Information technology

ITU International Telecommunications Union

LADP Local Area Development Plan

LEAD Leadership for Environment and Development

MDG Millennium Development Goals

NRM Natural Resource Management

NEPAD New Partnership for African Development

NGO Non-governmental organization

PDA Personal Digital Assistant

PGIS Participatory Geographical Information System

PRSP Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

SMS Short Messaging System

SSA sub-Saharan Africa

UNDP United Nations Development Program

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VOIP Voice Over Internet Protocol

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Introduction..............................................................................................................................4
2 Terms of reference and objectives...........................................................................................5
2.1 Objectives..........................................................................................................................6
2.2 Terms of Reference...........................................................................................................6
3 Methodology............................................................................................................................6
4 Key concepts............................................................................................................................7
5 ICT, NRM and local development.........................................................................................10
5.1 Overview.........................................................................................................................10
5.2 ICTs in NRM and local development: Past and current experiences ............................13
5.2.1 ICT Projects and initiatives .....................................................................................13
5.2.2 Researchers and research organizations ..................................................................25
5.2.3 ACACIA - IDRC ....................................................................................................27
5.3 Lessons learnt and challenges ahead ..............................................................................29
6 Using ICTs to meet new challenges in NRM and local development...................................31
6.1 Introduction ....................................................................................................................31
6.2 Disaster risk management...............................................................................................32
6.2.1 Climate change.........................................................................................................34
6.2.2 Food security............................................................................................................35
6.3 Decision making ............................................................................................................36
7 Emerging issues for further research and action: Some suggestions for discussion..............41
7.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................41
7.2 Using ICTs to strengthen Decision Making Processes for Local Development.............41
7.3 Using PGIS for an enabling land reform policy and conflict prevention ......................42
7.4 ICTs and EcoHealth: Reinforcing trans-disciplinary research methods ........................44
7.5 Web 2: Changing the face of local development?.........................................................44
8 Conclusion.............................................................................................................................46
9 Bibliography...........................................................................................................................48
10 Annex A: Internal consultations..........................................................................................53
11 Annex B: External consultations..........................................................................................53
12 Annex C: Internet resources.................................................................................................53

1 INTRODUCTION

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The advent of information and communication technologies (ICTs) created
particularly in the early 1990’s excitement and hope as the international development
community argued the case for the role such technologies would play in accelerated
and improved development action. Today it is possible to start seeing and measuring
the initial impact ICTs has had, and begin to evaluate where and how to best take
advantage and use these ICT tools for development.

In natural resource management (NRM) and local development ICTs have until now
been applied in a variety of ways and for a range of purposes, and continues to have
an increased impact on activities. Whether they are mobile phones to facilitate
communication among communities, internet to access and diffuse information, or
satellite images to support territorial management, including managing land rights,
ICTs offer tremendous possibilities that are being implemented across the continent.

In sub-Saharan African (SSA) the use of ICT for development (ICT4D) is more recent
than in the North. Today there have been a large number of initiatives and research,
across the development field. The literature is mostly addressing these by domain,
such and water, forest, and land management and not from an ICT4D perspective in
general as it by its very nature a trans-disciplinary field.

Institutions such as IDRC has played a critical role in addressing this knowledge gap
and ensuring more knowledge of the ICTs applied to development is available, and in
pushing for further research and knowledge of the area.

This background paper will firstly attempt to give an overview over current initiatives
around ICT, NRM and local development, through a review of available literature.
The overview will be followed by a selection of case studies, documenting initiatives
where ICT plays a prominent role and suggestions for further research and projects
to inspire discussion for the future research programme. This is as part of a process
to develop a pan African research programme exploring ICT innovations in, and the
consequences of their possible application to NRM and local development.

ICT4D, NRM and local development are extensive fields, and it is not possible to
address all aspects in this paper but only what has been found to be of greatest
current importance. When applying ICT to local development and NRM, it has been
found that the most important challenges that local communities are currently facing
are the responsibilities that have been transferred to them through recent
decentralization. In this document this aspect will thus be deliberately focused upon
on along with the ICTs that are of most relevance to these communities meeting their
new responsibilities.

2 TERMS OF REFERENCE AND OBJECTIVES

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2.1 Objectives

The objectives of this background paper are to: i) guide and stimulate the discussions
at the regional IDRC ICT and local development workshop which will take place in
May 2009 in Dakar; ii) contribute to the exploratory phase for the development and
adoption of their related pan-African research programme.

The paper will not provide a complete review of the current ICT initiatives around
NRM and local development in SAA, as this would involve longer term research and
consultations, but it does aim to further inspire the workshop participants and the
research agenda developments.

2.2 Terms of Reference

The specific terms of reference for the paper are to provide a review of current
developments in the field of ICT and NRM, in Africa and around the world.
Specifically the Terms of Reference are to:

• identify and report on current existing capacities and initiatives of usage of


ICTs in natural resources management in the context of development (ICT4D)
in Sub-Saharan Africa;
• identify the most important applications of ICTs for natural resources
management for local development in Sub-Saharan Africa; and
• provide an overview of emerging issues in NRM and ICTs in the region

3 METHODOLOGY

The preparation of this paper has been done in the framework of the exploratory
phase for the development of the IDRC pan-African research programme and with
the view to stimulate and inspire discussions at the May 09 workshop. No original
research was conducted during its preparation, as the ultimate objective is to give to
the participants attending the workshop an overview of current developments in the
field of ICT, NRM and local development and suggestions for potential research
avenues on ICT4D for NRM.

It is based on a short period desk study and draws from existing practice and thinking
related to the use of ICT in NRM and local development.
The methodology for preparing the paper included the following steps: i) review of the
available literature and; ii) internal consultations with Enda TM and LEAD experts;
and iii) consultations with members of IDRC’s ACACIA programme, and; iv) feedback
from consultations with external experts in different fields such as ICT, NRM and
gender around specific aspects. Some of the main questions and issues raised in the

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internal and external consultations were with regard to both current and most
promising applications of ICT4D in their fields and examples of these.

4 KEY CONCEPTS

During meetings and workshops it important that all participants have a common
understanding of the key concepts they are addressing.
Since this document is an introductory note for a workshop, which will be attended by
experts and specialists from different backgrounds and perspectives, it is useful to
present and discuss some of the key concepts and references used in the document.
By doing so the purpose is to delineate the scope of the concepts and put them into
perspective rather than providing a strict definition accepted by all and to encourage
participants at the workshop to agree on the same operational meaning for each
concept.

Local development: The concept of local development refers to development


efforts that are undertaken at community level (as opposed to central level). It is
based on addressing community priorities and involves a plurality of actors ranging
from community-based organizations to local NGOs and hometown associations.
Local actors, including local leaders and organizations play a key role in the planning,
implementation and monitoring of local development.
Local development in general refers to development initiated and driven by local
leadership and organizations which aim to address priorities for an improved well
being of communities in urban and rural areas.
More than a concept, local development is a learning process involving individuals,
organisations and collective praxis.
The notion of local refers to the concept of territory and to the scale at which the
decision making process takes place. Discussions regarding the relevance of a
territory are articulated to its administrative limits which do not always coincide with
communities settlements
There are several schools of thought regarding the definition of local development.
Some refer to the process as a bottom-up approach with a focus on participation that
uses locally-grounded planning tools and frameworks. This school of thought finds
that local development is a voluntary approach focused on a limited area and which
sees development as a bottom-up process giving priority to local resources. A
second school of thought refers to a system approach which puts emphasis on the
role of institutions and building partnership among a plurality of actors; A third school
favours the sources of initiatives (who initiates and controls local development?) such
as initiatives coming from the grassroots and which are solidarity-oriented.
Over the last two decades, several Sub-Saharan African countries, passed
decentralization laws in order to transfer more responsibilities to local communities.
This consisted for central government to transfer competencies, including the
decision-making on development planning and resources allocation to locally elected
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officials and bodies in a number of areas such as social sectors (health, education),
natural resource management, social affairs management and cultural development
as well as land planning and development.

Regarding Natural Resources Management local communities ended up having


increased responsibilities such as: land distribution and management; community
forest management, including hunting (hunting zones and concessions, cattle runs,
water resources and control of bush fires). In the case of Senegal, the
decentralization policy led to the creation of three types of local governments:
regional council (at region level), municipalities (at urban district level) and rural
collectives (at rural district level) called “communauté rurale”. The rural Community
(“communauté rurale”) covers a set of villages which are the basic administrative
entities. The bulk of natural resources are located in the territory of rural communities
that are in most of the cases managed by the population, but under the guidance and
responsibility of a rural council, whose function is to plan, fund and implement local
development activities on behalf of and for the benefit of populations living within the
community.

Natural Resources Management (NRM): There are many different definitions of


natural resource management (NRM) depending on the perspective and approach.
Still, most of the definitions in the literature refer more or less to the same
components.

A broad definition of natural resource management is ‘the management of all


activities that use, develop and/or conserve resources relating to water, land, plants,
animals, even micro organisms, and the systems they form’1.

The term natural resources refer to a wide range of environmental assets, which
include air, water, land, plants, animals and micro organisms. All these assets are
interconnected to form complex ecosystems of varying scale such as rivers, lakes
and wetlands, estuaries and coasts, forests, fields, geological systems and
resources, and mountains2.
Natural resource management seeks to manage resources in a sustainable manner
for the long term, achieving a balance between economic and social development
and the need to protect the environment. What really determine the success of
natural resource management is the level of community involvement and the
adoption of ecologically sustainable practices across the community.
It is in reference to the significance of the role of the communities in Natural
Resource management, that the research community came up with the Concept of
Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM).

1
Social Entrepreneurship Development Center, LUMS McGill http://sedc.org.pk/portal/general/theme_desc.php?themeid=57
2
Op.cit.

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CBNRM is understood as the management of natural resources under a detailed
plan developed and agreed upon by all concerned stakeholders. The approach is
community-based in that the communities managing the resources have the legal
rights, the local institutions, and the economic incentives to take substantial
responsibility for sustained use of these resources. Under the natural resource
management plan, communities become the primary implementers, assisted and
monitored by technical services.

From a research perspective, especially in relation to water, agriculture, forestry and


fisheries, the concept of Natural Resources Management evolved towards the
concept of Integrated Natural Resources Management (INRM).

INRM can be defined as the responsible and broad-based management of the land,
water, forest and biological resources base - including genes - needed to sustain
agricultural productivity and avert degradation of potential productivity (TAC 1997).

INRM is an approach to research that aims at improving livelihoods, agro ecosystem


resilience, agricultural productivity and environmental services. It aims to increase
social, physical, human, natural and financial capital. It does this by helping solve
complex real-world problems affecting natural resources in agro ecosystems3.

Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D):


Information and Communication Technologies for Development is a general term
referring to the application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in
the field of socioeconomic development. ICT4D directly concerns overcoming the
barriers of the digital divide. ICTs can be applied either in the direct sense, where
their use directly benefits the disadvantaged population in some manner, or in an
indirect sense, where the ICTs assist aid organizations or non-governmental
organizations or governments. In many impoverished regions of the world, legislative
and political measures are required to facilitate or enable application of ICTs,
especially with respect to monopolistic communications structures and censorship
laws.
ICT4D initiatives and projects may be designed and implemented by international
institutions, private companies, governments, non-governmental organizations, or
virtual organizations.
ICT4D projects address one or more of the following issues: i) Infrastructure:
providing suitable computer hardware, operating system, software and connectivity to
the Internet. These would include the affordability of software and hardware, the
ability to share software and the ability to sustainably connect to the internet; ii)
Capacity building and training in ICT: installing, maintaining, and developing
hardware and software, ergonomics, digital literacy (technological and informational)
and e.awareness; iii) Digital content and services e.services (e.learning, e.health,
e.business, e.commerce) including concerns related to local-language solutions in

3
CGIAR Inter-Center Working Group on INRM, 2000
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computing, and the Open Access agenda; iv) Regulation of the ICT Sector and digital
rights: Universal Access vs. monopolistic structures, Intellectual Property Rights,
privacy, security, and digital identity.

ICT refers to a spectrum of technologies and means that are related to computing,
online and virtual technologies and processes; the combination of hardware and
software and the means of production that enable the exchange, processing and
management of information and knowledge.

They include for instance technologies that link producers to the market (e.g. mobile
phone), assist local communities to map their territory and plan for their natural
resources management (PGIS for forestry and land management), allow online
education and health services (internet), help coordinate social movements and
campaigns etc., traditional technologies like community radio broadcasting, and
newspapers that are now having a greater reach and impact due to digitalisation.

Action research: Various definitions of action research exist, such as implicit


research, research for development, participatory research etc. According to
Beaulieu and Orindi (2008) action research is an approach for research for
knowledge, solutions or means in order to improve some conditions/situations which
implies the implementation of activities in the field and the assessment of the related
outcomes. So for the researcher the aim is to generate some practical/workable
knowledge which is redefined by the activity itself.

5 ICT, NRM AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

5.1 Overview

The following chapter attempts to give a general overview of current development in


the field of ICT and NRM in sub-Saharan Africa. The existing literature addressing
the field of ICT and NRM for local development has little in the way of analysis and
evaluation of ICTs impact, being such a recent area of development on the continent,
but also because most are focused on various disciplinary areas across NRM and
local development instead of on the application and impact of the ICT tools. Thus this
overview will look at certain areas of NRM and local development and attempt to
show where ICTs are being used, for what purpose and to an extent with what
impact.

The management of natural resources has never been an easy task and as the
majority of the world and especially Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in particular is facing
increasing threats to its resources, and thus development in general. As those
threats are being further exacerbated by climate change, the challenge is only
increasing

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Specific challenges to the availability and access of natural resources is exemplified
by current studies and projections of climate change impacts, such as that by 2020
75 to 250 million people4 in Africa, out of an estimated population of 1.3 billion5, will
be exposed to increased water stress, compromised agricultural production,
threatened local food supplies and sea level rises affecting coastal areas. Climate
change is further predicted to cause further conflicts, natural disasters and increased
migration, thus threatening the development progress that have been achieved to
date (World Bank, Global Monitoring Report 2009).

Initially the approach in SSA to the management of natural resources had an


ecological perspective and often did not involve the social dimension integrating the
needs of the local population. This has led to imbalance where the local population
has been separated from the surrounding land, often loosing the rights to exploit the
resources. While the approaches have now evolved considerably in the right
direction, a key challenge in SSA is still to ensure that any NRM model, as to be
sustainable, takes complexity of the socio-ecosystem into consideration

The advancement of ICT and the tools it brings to development are an invaluable and
essential addition to addressing these challenges and an addition that deserves and
is already playing a key role in the response.

When attempting to establish the challenges to natural resource management, not


only the threats to natural resources caused by either human consumption or climate
change needs to be examined, but also the structures on all governance levels, i.e.
where the ‘management’ are happening.

In SSA in general the most recent major change to natural resources governance is
the new responsibilities (management of land and forests etc.) transferred to local
communities, which have resulted from the decentralization process. Local actors are
obliged to develop new approaches and adopt new decision-making systems in order
to meet their new responsibilities as to manage local development and thus also the
NRM process. Two main concerns arise from this:
i) The commitment and inclusion of all stakeholders in the NRM and local
development planning process to ensure that the concerns of all
including the socially disadvantaged are taken into account,
ii) The harmonization of local interventions that are implemented by several
types of institutional bodies intended to be complementary, but are
generally competitors (government services, development projects, local
communities, NGOs, social organizations, etc.). It becomes essential to
promote overall coherence of activities undertaken in the field, by
fostering dialogue to guide these interventions (systems of financing
modalities to support local ownership use of proximity operators, etc.).
4
Fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (2007)
5
http://esa.un.org/unpp/p2k0data.asp
Current estimated population in Africa is just above 1 billion and 860 million in SSA. http://esa.un.org/unpp/p2k0data.asp

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Local Area Development Plans and the way they are being developed and
implemented are thus of utmost importance for sustainable development of
communities and regions and for the management of natural resources. These will of
course also need to be guided by effective management systems on national,
regional and international level. However for the purpose of this paper the main
concern will be around the local aspects.

The effective management of natural resources in such challenging circumstances is


of utmost importance and requires new more efficient approaches and technical
innovations to be successful, and ICT is a critical part of this response.

Of course ICTs are also further assisting some of the natural resource ‘mis-
management’ however for the purpose of this paper the focus will be on initiatives
that further the management of natural resources and attempt to benefit local
communities and their development.

During the last two decades the development of information and communications
technologies (ICTs) and their application to local development have increased rapidly
all over the world.
ICT is creating new market opportunities, enabling new sources of finance and
improving opportunities for trade across the world, at all levels and now plays an
increasing role in local development.

Natural resource management in local development has the possibility to benefit from
ICTs in a variety of ways, especially through removing some of the risks and
uncertainties associated with NRM, such as from variable rain fall, soil erosion, pests,
disease, climate change, fluctuating market prices etc, and enabling the access to
timely information of which this field is so dependant. This has been the case over
the last decades in the ‘developed’ parts of the world, where ICT is part of more or
less all natural resource management processes.

In SSA, the application of ICT, has not reached the same level as the ‘northern’
countries, however there has been a great increase in the access and use of the
internet, mobile phones and other ICTs. For example, according to ITU usage of
mobile phones has gone from 16 million mobile phone subscribers in 2000, to 136
million in 2005. Consequently, local actors, such as community groups, authorities
and individuals are increasingly using ICTs, for purposes such as obtaining
information from the internet, communicating via mobiles and interacting with the
media, which furthers their knowledge of and influence on local development matters.

Given the opportunities ICT bring the development arena in SSA, there has been
great interest in ICT in SSA from NEPAD to the Africa Commission, in areas such as

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governance, early warning systems, healthcare, in commerce and international
trade6. Substantial resources have been committed over the last years, both from the
continent and from external sources, to support and enable countries to access and
use these ICTs. Even though it has been suggested that this interest is on the
decline from international parties such as the G8, the interest and commitment on the
continent remains high 7. In 2007 for example more than US$50 billion of largely
private sector investment was pledged to develop Africa’s ICT sector at the Connect
Africa Summit which was attended by African heads of State and more than 1,000
representatives from the industry8.

The following two sections will present, in more detail, some of the research, action
research and other practical initiatives that have and/or are currently underway as a
result of these developments. Possible avenues for further research and discussion
will then be addressed based around some of the key challenges facing local
development and NRM today and in the foreseeable future.

5.2 ICTs in NRM and local development: Past and current experiences

ICTs and their application in local development, have only been really noticeable in
SSA over the last two decades, and begun to have a measurable impact over the last
5-10 years. The common usage has been mainly around facilitating communication
such as use of the mobile phone, and some communities (mainly urban) benefiting
from access to information via the internet.

In relation to local development processes local actors still sometimes hesitate to


take advantage of ICTs, considering these tools to be designed for top-down
planning exercise which they consider discrepant with participatory decision-making
processes that are for them critical for local development. In addition, the high cost of
most of the technologies, the lack of relevant electrical sources and limited
distribution networks are still keeping ICT access away from the majority and in the
control of governments, private companies and international organisations.

5.2.1 ICT Projects and initiatives

A multitude of projects and initiatives utilising ICT for NRM and local development
have been implemented over the last decade. Mapping for land management, GIS
for surveying resources, GPS for tracking wild life as just a few of these. The
application of ICT is not only used for top down initiatives, but also to ensure that
local communities are able to be directly involved in decision and planning
processes.
6
Heeks, R (2007) e-Africa and m-Africa, How ccan ICTs deliver, Centre for Development Informatics, IDPM, University of Manchester,
UK, p 1
7
Op. Cit.
8
http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=75122
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The intention here is not to show all the applications of ICT to development and
NRM, as clarified above, but examples from the literature where local communities
are being aided by ICT to manage the responsibilities transferred to them by recent
decentralisation. The examples are grouped around five main areas; Community-
based resource management (GIS, PGIS); accessing market and generating income
(Mobile phones); monitoring carbon stocks (mobile GIS); tracking wildlife (PDA) and;
multi purpose development projects.

5.2.1.1 Using GIS and PGIS for community-based resource management (forests,
water, land)

A geographic information system (GIS) captures, stores, analyses, manages, and


presents data that is linked to location. Participatory geographic information system
(PGIS) is an added dimension to GIS that integrates the different stakeholders’ topics
and perspectives to guarantee that their needs and interests are taken into
consideration. The combination of GIS with participatory research and activities and
their results (PGIS), enables the creation of an information system that is critical for
any policy dialogue and negotiation exercise.

The following examples shows how GIS and digital imaging is fighting forest fires
(South Africa); enabling large scale NRM and community participation (the Congo
Basin), community based natural resource management (Namibia); land use
management and harnessing ICT for land reform (Senegal); and combating crop
disease and enabling agricultural forecasting (Uganda).

• South Africa: Fighting forest fires: Digital imaging, GIS and Firehawk
software

The Zululand Fire Protection Services (ZFPS) which is a commercial enterprise,


monitors forest fire and maintains conservation area. Through the use of Firehawk,
an electronic forest fire detection system with a network of cameras instead of
manned lookout towers, ZFPS has the capacity to detect fires more rapidly and limit
the damage to the environment and timber industry. The system covers 150.000
hectares and is based around the KwaZulu Natal coastal zone, which is central to the
South African forestry industry.

Firehawk works through sending images from the digital video cameras to the
Kwambonambi Operations Centre where the Firehawk software analyses the
images. The software can distinguish between fire, smoke and glow and
automatically raise alarm. The cameras can further be operated from the central
Operations centre and be used to zoom in on the affected areas. The software is

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connected to a geographical information system (GIS), which provides further
information of the area in question and provides exact coordinates9.

The enterprise has been running for over 10 years and is continually
expanding its operations to deliver services to yet more areas and to upgrade the
effectiveness of the Firehawk system.

• Congo basin: Protecting forest resources: Landsat satellite-derived maps


and geospatial databases.

The Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) is an USAID
initiative involving a consortium of government and NGO partners, which works to
reduce the rate of forest degradation and loss of biodiversity by supporting the
increase of local, national, and regional natural resource management capacity. This
is mainly done through a landscape approach to NRM using, amongst other, tropical
forest zoning maps consisting of high-resolution satellite images that have been
combined with geographic information system (GIS) data sets containing information
on the vegetation as well as socio-economic data. This information assist the
planning and monitoring for the areas such, as for example the communities and
policy makers in identifying which forest areas and plant and animal species are
under threat from logging, cultivation and other human activities.
The Congo Basin covers a vast area and is in many areas unknown territory. Prior to
the production of the maps, knowledge of the region was limited. The work of CARPE
and their partners using the information gathered about the natural resources is now
helping the protection of the area and the management of the natural resources,
protecting wildlife, monitoring logging and efforts to combat climate change.
The CARPE program was initiated in 1995 and initially proposed as a 20-year
regional initiative divided three strategic phases. On completion of the second phase
in 2011, the third and final phase will run until 2016, when the activities will be turned
over to Central African institutions.

• Congo: Community participation in Forest management: Handheld


GPS

The Tropical Forest Trust provides guidance in environmentally sustainable forest


management, the protection of traditional land use and human rights of indigenous
people.
One of their projects in the Congo sees indigenous semi nomadic Pygmy
communities included in forest management, through communities using specially
developed GPS mapping technology to communicate their concerns over the use of
the forest. The project, working with the forest management company (Congolaise
Industrielle des Bois) towards FSC certification for more forest areas, is involving the
communities by developing appropriate technology applications, training of

9
http://www.zfps.co.za/ and http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/(issue)/19

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communities in using GPS hand held mapping units, the physical production of
community maps, demarcation by communities of significant cultural/resource areas
and the incorporation of these areas into forest management plans. This then goes
towards ensuring that the forest management company adheres to official company
policy respecting and protecting Indigenous Peoples rights10.
The project activities are currently ongoing and the project anticipates further
expansion and FSC certification of forest areas, and aims to further work with the
participation of indigenous populations with the use of the GPS mapping units.

• Namibia: Community-based resource management: PGIS mapping

“Collective management of resources” is happening with the help of ICT in Kasika, in


the eastern part of the plain of the Chobe River in the northeast of Namibia.
The project aid local people to use GIS to produce detailed colour maps indicating
the location of wildlife and subsistence resources. Before the GIS system mapping
land use, these communities used hand-drawn maps which posed serious problems
to the development of tourism, but also that of new subsistence activities, as
outsiders had difficulties understanding the maps.
The novelty in the Namibia project is the use of this participatory approach to improve
the maps drawn by hand, and matching information from handwritten data cards.
Village mapping workshops and meticulous recording allows the integration of local
knowledge relating to place names, the localisation of natural resources such as
pastures, cropping areas and useful plant species, and locations where wildlife and
their movements can be seen. The final GIS maps use as much colour as possible
and icons to make them accessible to people with low literacy.
A major challenge facing the continued implementation of similar initiatives will be to
ensure that local people develop their new skills in GIS can create their own
customized cards according to their needs11.
This participatory approach continues to be used in other conservancies
implemented by IRDNC in the areas.

• Senegal Ross-Béthio: Land use, Council of St Louis, Mapping

In order to better control the potential for conflict between different stakeholders, the
rural council of Ross-Béthio in the Saint-Louis region in Senegal, developed and
implemented with partners ‘POAS’ (Plan d’Occupation et d’Affectation des Sols - land
use plan). The POAS ‘tool’ was developed by and with the rural communities to
"control" their land under new decentralization structures.

"The POAS is considered a framework to guide local managers for planning and
development at the local level. It is also a tool for dialogue between people and
institutions, which can enrich or influence the conduct of any operational planning
and development in light of the constraints of land use and their impact" (d'Aquino et
10
http://www.tropicalforesttrust.com/index.php
11
www.irdnc.org.na and http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/Feature-Articles/ICTs-in-Namibia-s-communal-area-conservancies

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al., 2001).

This plan which development process was conducted jointly by research institutions
and rural councils between 1997 and 1999 had on three major objectives:

• The establishment, within the local communities of a mechanism for


internal consultation and negotiation with external partners on issues
relating to the management of resources;

• Reaching a consensus extended to all institutional actors (state and


local) on the rules for managing land and natural resources;

• Furthering the process of decentralized development planning led by


local authorities with the support of research institutions and support
agencies.

From an operational point of view, the POAS has three essential elements
• Rules governing the management of space and natural resources in a land
where competition has been exacerbated by the transfer of frontier areas in
the rural community of Ross-Béthio;

• An organizational framework for decision making and monitoring /


evaluation;
• Cartographic Materials to guide and inform decision-making processes.

The process was aided by satellite imaging and GIS enabling the operational
planning process and development regulation in relation to all farming and pastoral
land. The visual tools aided the discussions and involvement of the local
stakeholders who were involved and continue to be involved in all aspects of the
POAS framework.

The latest developments (2009) resulting from the POAS framework are; formal
registration of cattle trails and water points; the formulation of a regulatory framework
to improve relations between farmers and pastoralists; and local development plans
for agricultural/pastoral activities. Furthermore the region of Ross Bethio has been
able to further monitor desertification and are implementing projects involving all
stakeholders to improve local conditions resulting from desertification.

• Senegal: Harnessing ICTs for Land reform and NRM: CNCR

The Organisation for National Dialogue and Rural Cooperation (CNCR) - an umbrella
organisation of farmers’ organisations in Senegal – conducted, between 2000 and
2004, a study of the farmer movement on land reform. The purpose of this study was
the formulation by farmers themselves of proposals for amendments to the national

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lands Act, to national legislations and codes relating to land and natural resources
and proposals for land policy and sustainable management of natural resources. The
study was centred on family farming and the land-related conditions for its
transformation, with the purpose to submit to the State, as well as economic and
social players a set of proposals to start negotiations on the legislation concerning
land and natural resources.

The proposals made by rural people have emphasized, among other things, the
transformation of property rights into land titles. In the opinion of CNCR, the new
legislation should recognize the rights holders’ possibility, at any time to, transform it
into a lease or land title. For this option not to cause a rush for the registration of
lands and not be circumvented by the holders of capital, a discouraging land tax will
be fixed for those who do not have a development project sufficiently profitable to pay
property taxes.

The registration of land is a real challenge. The boundary approach currently adopted
by the technical services (Land and Tax department) is not satisfactory. Indeed,
these services are located in the administrative centres of regions, and the
mobilization of surveyors to demarcate the plots, making sketches and records is too
expensive for farmers and unprofitable, in the case of lands having a low level of
productivity. While the NDA allows the grantee who is developing a piece of land to
have it registered, in order to obtain a land title or lease, there are very few people
who have done this, due to the high costs.

Alternatives to old boundary techniques should be found, which are less


cumbersome and expensive. In this perspective, the CNCR recommended the use of
techniques that are more flexible, and which rely on ICTs and GPS. Interesting
experiments have been conducted by the Centre de Suivi Ecologique (CSE) in
assisting several rural communities for delineating land areas rural housing or crop
production. .

• Uganda: Combating Crop diseases and agricultural forecasting -


Grameen Foundation Pilot

The Grameen Foundation is conducting a seven-month pilot project in 2009 in two


Ugandan districts, whereby community workers collect and disseminate information
on crop acreage and projected harvests through mobile device surveys.

The pilot has distributed mobile phones with cameras (cost US$30 to $330 – testing
different models in the pilot) to community workers from farmers groups who are then
collecting the data, which then gets sent on to the foundations database for
agricultural forecasting.

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One of the major current challenges is to find community workers that are literate and
fluent in English and also finding women participants. Further challenges are the
network connectivity and lack of electricity in many parts, and also ensuring that the
collected data is accurate.12

The above examples go some way to show how ICTs are invaluable assets to NRM.
PGIS is especially showing itself as a key tool to aid the decision making process in a
‘decentralised’ setting, and aid the local community to meet their new NRM
responsibilities. From large scale mapping and land reform challenges in the
example from Ross Bethio in Senegal, to the smaller scale mapping exercises in
Namibia, the decision making process is aided by the availability of participatory
processes. This enables the involvement of all stakeholders, be they government
bodies, community members or organisations, that all have a stake in the usage of
natural resources and the local development plans.

5.2.1.2 Using mobile telephones for accessing market and generating income

The mobile phone is the most commonly used communication tool and no longer just
a tool for making calls but increasingly a communications package, with camera,
GPS and internet access among some of the possible functions. The below graph
depicts the dramatic increase in mobile subscribers and penetration in Africa in the
period from 2002 to where it is expected in 2012.13

12
http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=83805
13
International Télécommunications Union (ITU)

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The impact and usage of the mobile phone on local development, is not only through
easier communication between parties that often are separated by long distances,
but also to reduce poverty through increasing income.

The example below show how mobiles are allowing farmers and fishermen/women in
Senegal to access current market information, lessening transaction costs and
making the agricultural sector more effective.

• Senegal: Empowering agricultural sectors: WAP enabled mobiles, data


bases

The project is a virtual network providing value-added services (primarily internet-


based market information) to players in the agricultural sectors. It aims to empower
rural farmers (fruit and vegetable producers) and fishermen in Senegal who are often
illiterate and unfamiliar with ICTs (including mobiles) by providing access to accurate
real-time price information for their produce, as well as weather forecasts and other
relevant information. By eliminating or reducing the influence of middlemen in
transactions, fairer prices and better revenues can be obtained by the rural farmers in
urban markets.
WAP-enabled mobiles are used by rural farmers to access prices of foods and goods
for sale in and around markets in Dakar and Kyar. This price information is collected
by Manobi employees who are deployed to the various markets, and using their

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WAP-enabled mobiles, they relay the prices to a central database managed by
Manobi where it is then analysed and made available to the public.
Market prices are updated in real time, giving farmers and fishermen the opportunity
to travel to specific markets where they can get the best prices for their produce.

The hugely successful project is currently being run by Manobi-Senegal, a joint


venture between Manobi-France and Sonatel. Manobi-France has a 66% share of
the joint venture, and Sonatel the remaining 34%. The project is therefore entirely
private sector driven, and partnerships have been formed with organizations
representing producers and middlemen. During the initial stages of the project
several other partners were involved such as IDRC (involved in conducting research
on and contributed to funding and Ceasm, a French NGO specialising in the socio-
economics of the fisheries sector, and Alcatel, a manufacturer of the communications
equipment contributed.

The applications of the system have been extended to include health and e-
governance:
• e-government applications – Online land registration and management by
local authorities and GIS mapping linked to GPS.

• Health applications – Electronic birth registration by midwives


(UNICEF are major partners in this venture). Photos of the newborns
are taken on mobiles, and additional data such as name, weight, and
date of birth is transmitted to government authorities. This has now
been linked to the online land registration process to improve
efficiency and encourage uptake. Manobi trains and equips one
midwife from each village participating in the programme to serve as
‘project champion’14.

These initiatives and businesses is happening across the continent, taking advantage
of the widespread use of mobiles with great success and having a measurable
impact on the incomes of the local population.

5.2.1.3 Using mobile GIS for monitoring carbon stocks

As mentioned above the mobile is no longer just a phone, but increasingly able to
handle applications such as GPS and GIS etc. In the following example the mobile
combined with GIS software is enabling communities to monitor their carbon stocks
in areas of East and West Africa.

• East Africa, West Africa and the Himalayas: for monitoring carbon
stocks: Mobile GIS

The University of Twente (Netherlands) and ITC along with partners such as ENDA
14
http://www.manobi.sn/sites/sn/

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TM, started in 2003 a research project with the objective to enable community based
forest management to become eligible for carbon crediting. This involved researching
into the best means of gathering and managing geographic information, so as to
enable communities in developing countries to monitor the carbon stocks in forests.
As the communities were unlikely to have all the data required, the project aimed to
show that full community participation would shorten or replace some of the
procedures necessary for the formulation of climate projects, thus reducing the costs
of projects. The idea was to bring communities to hold their own carbon accounting
at a cost as low as possible. Until recently, the complexity of GIS technology and the
absence of portable devices limited the participation of local communities in
developing countries in initiatives such as these. With a mobile GIS, they can now
use their knowledge to quantify and monitor the carbon stored in their forests, and
strive for funding under mechanisms such as the Clean Development mechanism
(CDM - Kyoto Protocol)15. The last phase of the project was approved in June 2008
and fieldwork has continued in 4 locations in Tanzania, 4 in Senegal, 5 in Guinea
Bissau, 1 in Mali

This example again shows how the gathering of information in GIS, in this case
carbon stocks, is enabling the community to have documented records of their
natural resources. This combined with access to information on initiatives such as
CDM through the project, and possibility to apply to these initiatives, is thus giving
them more control of their environment.

5.2.1.4 Using PDA for tracking wildlife

PDA (Personal digital Assistant) or handheld computer is not only being used in its
ability to store data ‘on the go’, but can now also act as a mobile phones, web
browsers, or as a portable media player. In the example from Botswana it is used for
tracking wildlife, by enabling trackers to record their observations.

• Botswana: Tracking wildlife in the Kalahari: PDA

At Lone Tree, a village in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, CyberTracker is working


with traditional hunters and expert trackers to help them gather information about
local wildlife populations. Once downloaded onto a solar-powered PC, the collected
data can be displayed on screen in the form of maps, tables and graphs, and can be
used to establish an index of abundance for each species hunted by the community,
so that they can monitor population changes over time. At present, the Wildlife
Department allocates hunting quotas to the community on a yearly basis. However,
the quotas are fairly arbitrary since there is no reliable data on how many animals
there are. Traditional trackers have a good idea of how plentiful or scarce animals
are, even if they cannot quantify their numbers precisely. Using a personal digital
assistant (PDA) with CyberTracker software and an integrated GPS receiver,
trackers who cannot read or write can use the icon-based user interface to record
15
www.communitycarbonforestry.org

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their observations. CyberTracker version 3 also includes an ‘index of abundance’
feature that can help to quantify their observations. The software can be customized
by users with no programming skills and requires minimal technical support.16

Software like ‘CyperTracker’ for devices like the PDA and mobiles, are becoming
increasingly accessible, which further adds to the possibilities for the involvement of
local communities in the management of their natural resources. In this case it is
wildlife, but it can of course be applied to all areas of NRM and local development. It
has been adapted to the local conditions (taking illiteracy and innumeracy into
consideration) instead of using applications made for other purposes, increasing the
chances of success of the initiatives.
As with the carbon stocks project above, initiatives such as these goes towards
adding to the ‘library’ and access to knowledge of natural resources on local levels
thus easing management and local development.

5.2.1.5 ICT for multi purpose development projects: towards the MDGs and social
change

As seen in the above examples a combination of ICT tools are usually used in
projects and initiatives, which is also the case for multi purpose development projects
that aims to aid more facets of local development. Examples such as the
Mogalakwena HP i-Community below show the possibilities of introducing some of
the ICT tools to the grassroots, where local solutions to NRM and implementation of
ICT can then be supported.

• South Africa: The Mogalakwena HP i-Community: Various ICT tools

The Mogalakwena project is an “i-community project”17, that aims at promoting and


developing; Community engagement, Sustainable Information and communication
infrastructure, Capacity building, Economic development (mainly through new and
self-sustaining employment opportunities), Digital cultural preservation, E-service
delivery, Healthcare/telemedicine, etc.

Mogalakwena is a municipality located in the Limpopo Province in South Africa, and


generally poorly serviced in terms of water provision, waste management, transport
and access to ICT solutions. Agriculture, manufacturing and mining are the main
economic activities.

Technologies in the project and facilities created include: computer literacy training
rooms (33 Multi-user 441 Desktop Solution personal computers18, a business
resources centre, a call centre, a multimedia studio, a PC refurbishing centre, and a
satellite office has also been established. The entire Mogalakwane area is networked

16
www.cybertracker.co.za
17
An “i-community” is a community where ICT infrastructure is deployed to create sustainable social and economic development. This is
measured according to tangible criteria such as literacy, skills enhancement, job creation, income, access to government services, healthcare
and education, etc
18
The HP441 is an Open Source computing system that allows 4 users to operate simultaneously and independently from one computer
using separate keyboards and monitors.

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through a series of Community Access Points (CAPs) installed at public amenities
such as schools, clinics, libraries and community centres.

Ongoing training targeted at ordinary citizens, provincial and local government


personnel, and local business chambers is provided by HP and the Limpopo
Department of Education. An important milestone has been the development of
software and training materials in local languages – English, Afrikaans and Sepedi.

The project has been able to produce a number of graduates from the training
programmes, many of them women and many are now employed locally or have
been recruited by national companies. It is the first place in South Africa to have a
multilingual, municipal and community web site and it has developed an internet-
based radio station and a web-design cultural audio-video centre helping to preserve
the region’s cultural heritage. It is also the first ICDL training and testing centre for
open source software.

Multi purpose projects, such as the above project example from South Africa, goes to
address more community needs, such as capacity building, infrastructure and
awareness, as opposed to many of the single objective projects and initiatives. It
enables fuller participation from the community and is better able to respond to
community needs and requirements. Raising awareness, delivering training and
allowing access to ICT tools, also furthers the possibility for the communities to
develop locally suitable application of the tools, as opposed to when they are simply
trained to use one kind of ICT application.

In development where goals, such as the MDGs, are increasingly important, the multi
purpose project approach is possibly more effective, however questions of how it can
be made sustainable remains. Addressing an issue such as ICT in NRM in isolation
is not possible, and all social aspects needs to be taken into consideration to achieve
sustainability, and this is of course also the case with the choice of approach.

The examples above show many interesting developments in the application of ICT
to local development and all of their experiences go towards strengthening
knowledge of possibilities in the area. Whether it goes further than the specific
project area and whether the lessons learnt go on to influence policies on a regional
and national level is though questionable. Also the fact that the projects and
initiatives are mainly initiated and funded by external parties, leads to questions of
sustainability of the application of ICTs to NRM in local development. This has been
a central challenge for many projects, including for IDRC’s ACACIA initiative, where
similar conclusions were made after their first phase of research and piloting.

The responsibilities for NRM has been ‘decentralized’ but very often no further
capacity building or strengthening of local infrastructure take place to enable the local
actors to deliver on their new responsibilities. Ensuring that they have the knowledge
of and access to the ICT tools that can aid the development process of local

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development planning should of course be a priority for central government, however
the financial repercussions that this has along with administrative challenges, has so
far halted these advancements. It is shown through the Ross Bethio example from
Senegal that improved NRM, involving all stakeholders, can be achieved with the aid
of ICT, thus it is achievable.

5.2.2 Researchers and research organizations

In Africa, research around ICT4D and NRM is done at various levels and by a
plurality of organizations that are more or less in interaction. National organizations
include public universities (which often host research institutes), in particular their
engineering departments and research organizations. These national organisations
will often team up with universities, research institutes, government agencies from
developed countries (e.g. IRD, CIRAD, ITC, IIED), regional centres (e.g.
AGRHYMET, OSS, I2R), UN agencies and international NGOs (e.g. IUCN, WWF,
Enda) and research centres (ICRISAT, CIAT, WARDA). Often cutting edge ICT4D
NRM research originates or is led by organisations from developed countries,
regional and International organisations or by individuals from SSA with tight links
with them. This is changing, though, as more and more technological capacity is
found in African organisations. The private sector is also a crucible of NRM research
(e.g. export agriculture, renewable energies, impact assessment) and often involves
consulting firms from African and from developed countries. While still timid, there is
also some research linked to private universities, utilities companies, etc.

There are different types of research involved in ICT4D, each type having their own
priorities according to their mission. Academic research would tackle a development
problem, but is not necessarily accountable for adoption of research results: the main
goal is to produce scientific knowledge. On the other hand action-research19, which
is less known in the academe20, is geared towards development and often involves
national and international NGOs and centres such as CGIAR21 Some universities
such as UGB (Saint-Louis) are also more integrated into local and regional
development. It is good to note that some will use the term “research” to label a
process that is not, in fact, a true process of investigation, but instead a process of
transferring research results (in general this will not lead to scientific publications but
instead is building on them). There are essentially two ways of implementing action-
research: a) researcher’s led process, where researchers team with practitioners or
sub-contract them; b) development led process, where practitioners will team with
researchers or subcontract them.

19
According to Beaulieu et Orindi (2008) action-research is a process to find knowledge, solutions or means to improve a situation, which
implies implementing actions in the field and evaluations of the impact of these actions

20
A notable exception in West Africa is ENEA which is very much driven –and involved- in local development issues
21
CGIAR is a strategic alliance of members, partners and international agricultural centres that mobilizes science to benefit the poor.
www.cgiar.org

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Research in Africa is funded either by programs from the African States themselves,
by research programmes from developed countries (ANR, NSF, etc..), by
development programs from developed countries which are managed by specialized
aid organizations (IDRC, GTZ, ODI, USAID, etc..), by foundations (Hewlett-Packard,
Gates, etc..), international organizations (AUF, etc..), and development banks (World
bank, BAD, etc..).

The table below show a few examples in SSA that has been successful or
promising22.

22
*Type or organization: U:University or institute; S: State institution; A: State Agency; P: Private; N: National; I: International; NGO: non
governmental organization; Reg: Regional; I: international ; [SSA: sub Saharan Africa; DC: developed country; R: research; Organization]
**Type of research: R: academic research; AR: action research; DR: application of research results to development; I: interdisciplinary; T:
thesis

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Country(ies) Lead Institution, ICT4D Project(s), ICT4D tool(s) Funding
main partner Year**
institution*
Ethiopia Mekelle University Monitoring and Ground maps, Ireland
(rural) [N-U-LDC], n/a evaluation in desktop GIS AID
Begasheka
watershed (Tigray)
with PGIS(~2004)
[AR]
Kenya U. North Alabama Defining peri-urban Mental maps, n/a
(urban) [N-U-DC], U. West residential space desktop GIS
Virginia [N-U-DC] (Athi river town)
using PGIS (2001-
2004) [R-T]
Tanzania Rufiji Disctict Participatory Village paper n/a
(rural) Council [S-LDC], mapping for local maps, GPS,
IRD[S-RO-DC], management of remote
IUCN [I-NGO), natural resources in sensing
villages of the Rufiji
district [AR]
Madagascar Programme SIG et réforme Communal MAE
(rural) National Foncier [S- foncière Malgache paper maps, France
LDC/S-DC], CIRAD (2005-2008) [AR] remote
[S-RO-DC] sensing, land
tenure
certificate,
desktop GIS
Sénégal CIRAD [S-RO-DC], Les Pland Paper maps, CIRAD
(rural) SAED [A-LDC], d’Occupation et desktop GIS
CIRAD [S-RO-DC], d’Affectation des
ISRA [S-RO-LDC], Sols dans la vallée
Ross Bethio rural du fleuve
council [LE] Sénégal(1996-
2000)[AR]
5.2.3 ACACIA - IDRC

The ACACIA initiative is a renowned international IDRC research programme, with


the mission to “support research on ICTs that improve livelihood opportunities,
enhance social service delivery, and empower citizens while building the capacity of
African researchers and research networks”. IDRC initiated and hosts the
programme, which partners with key donors such as CIDA, Industry Canada, DFID,
SIDA, OSI and the Partnership for Higher Education, and have offices and country
partners across the continent.

The programme started in 1997 with Phase 1, which mission was to explore the
potential of the internet on poor, rural people23. The programme supported the
development of rural internet centres/telecentres and measured the impact of these
initiatives. Furthermore support was given to the development of ICT policies in
African countries to enable the use of ICTs for development. The lessons from this
first phase were especially that of the difficulties in “creating sustainable, affordable

23
http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-8455-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

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access models for the rural poor24” and also the need for relevant content and
applications.

The second phase (2001-2005) continued the work from phase 1, however more in
the way of research, compared the pilot activities of phase 1. The programme
focused on researching more sustainable and appropriate access models and ICT
innovation for the African context, such as lower cost technologies and effective
policy reform to bring down the cost of access. It furthermore sought to support
African initiatives on content in response to the findings from phase 1.

Acacia, now in the middle of the third phase (2006–2011), has three core research
themes that serve as a framework for the programme:

“People Empowerment: Understanding the individual and social changes that


Africans are experiencing that are being brought about through the use of ICTs.
Social Service Delivery: Research on how ICTs can help African governments with
limited resources to more effectively deliver services to their citizens.
Economic Development and Opportunity: ICTs in Africa are transforming both formal
and informal economies. This theme explores the broader impact of ICTs on social
and economic growth in Africa”.25

The specific objectives and measurable outcomes for the third phase have been set
as:

• Sustained Policy Dialogue: While ICTs have the potential to enhance social
and economic development, policy inevitably lags behind in this fast-changing
field. Acacia is committed to fostering ongoing, robust dialogues among
ICT4D researchers, policy-makers, and other key policy-related bodies.

• Thriving Research Networks: With 53 countries and comparatively few


strong research institutions, finding the capacity to carry out larger research
programs in Africa can be a challenge. Fostering regional research networks
can strengthen weak institutions through mentoring relationships. They can
also serve as fora for knowledge diffusion and can create an ideal vehicle for
parallel funding activities. By the end of the next five years we expect to see
ten or more thriving African ICT4D research networks that Acacia has
catalyzed and supported.

• Enhanced Research Capacity in ICT4D: There are very few institutions


anywhere in the world that specialize in ICTs for development. It is by its very
nature a trans-disciplinary field. Our objective is to increase institutional
strength in ICT4D research focusing on improved research methodologies and

24
Acacia Prospectus 2006-2001, Acacia, http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-113431-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html p 9
25
Op.Cit

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practices, increased numbers of ICT4D researchers, and research institutions
with specific ICT4D focus.

• More Social and Technical Innovation in ICTs: ICTs are enablers of both
social and technical innovation and Africa is home to a great deal of
innovation especially around the adaptation of low-cost ICTs to African needs
and conditions. In the next five years, we expect to stimulate innovation in the
development and use of new ICTs including mobile telephony, wireless
broadband, alternative policies and intellectual property regimes26.

Acacia have furthermore identified key areas of interest alongside the research,
which are remittances, PGIS and digital human rights27

ACACIA currently has a variety of studies and projects underway that are very
relevant to NRM and local development, such as a scoping study on ICTs and small
scale agriculture, environment and natural resources management in Benin, Ghana,
Madagascar, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda, and a scale up of electronic government in
Fez in Morocco. The experiences of their studies and experiences over the last
decade have had a major influence on the field and hopefully will continue to do so.

5.3 Lessons learnt and challenges ahead

As seen above the ACACIA programme currently focus their research around policy
dialogue, strengthening research networks, strengthening research capacity on
ICT4D, and social and technical innovation in ICTs.
In their 2006-2011 prospectus one of the main challenges to the research and
research in general in this area is that of speed of publication. ICT is a fast moving
field and for research to be relevant it will need to be able to keep pace to have an
impact on developments. The ‘new’ ICT tools themselves are of course also helping
the research efforts as researchers start having access to the various databases that
are slowly becoming established along with improved communication tools etc.
In this regard the emphasis of ACACIA to work towards strengthening the research
efforts on ICT4D on the continent is commendable. Currently they are amongst only
a few research institutions based in SSA that focus on the area and any expansion of
this can only be of value. Research agenda’s are often driven by institutions from the
‘North’, and even though these attempt to take the agenda of the national and
regional entities in question into consideration, and deliver useful research, the ability
to ensure integrated and effective results, without being based in the research
locations can be questioned.

Specifically for ICT in NRM and local development, ACACIAs emphasis on


strengthening research efforts also apply, however the emphasis on policy dialogue
26
Acacia Prospectus 2006-2001, Acacia, http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-113431-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html p 2
27
Op.Cit
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possibly even more so. There is a clear need for further dialogue around the needs of
local regions and communities to manage natural resources of which they now have
the responsibility since decentralisation, and with regards to access to tools that can
aid the management.
Furthermore integration of research agenda’s with the national and regional
development agenda’s, require further establishment and support of frameworks and
initiatives such as ACACIA, not only to ensure the research is relevant, but also that
it gets disseminated and used in development planning. Many of the projects utilising
ICT for NRM and local development are very successful, but isolated from national
and regional agenda’s which makes it difficult to capitalise on the lessons learnt from
the projects and documenting the research.

Through the examination of the current initiatives it has furthermore been noticed that
gender is yet to be fully integrated into the discourse around ICT and NRM. However
there are interesting developments and the literature review revealed previous,
current and ongoing research and initiatives around ICT and gender. The recent
CGIAR Gender & Diversity Bulletin (Gender & Diversity News, No 84, April 2009)
provides information of the most recent research on gender and Information and
Communication Technologies.

Another interesting recent source of information, in this case around policy, gender
and ICT, is GenderIT.org. Here, the inequalities occasioned by unequal access to
ICTs by men and women in particular are highlighted, along with the latest research
and publications from the field.

In the case of sub-Saharan Africa one of the most recent publications is “African
Women and ICTs: Investigating Technology, Gender and Empowerment”. It explores
how women in Africa use ICTs for empowerment and is based on an extensive
research project. It discusses issues such as ICTs against gender-based violence,
ICTs for empowerment and as agents of change amongst many others.28

The information society and its essential characteristics continue to change and
introduce new flavors to this societal issue. The question of the direction of change is
still blurred and there is no mutual understanding among the academics whether
ICTs will in fact narrow or exacerbate the existing gendered divisions in the society. It
does, however, remain evident that women are not as strongly associated in the
development project of the information society as men are. Some individual projects
do target women and women’s empowerment around ICTs, however further analysis
on the gender dimension and how it affects the development, choice and
implementation on ICTs around NRM and local development, is yet to be fully
explored. Again the ACACIA programme is determined in its third phase to further
support and develop research in this area, which can only positively contribute to the
developments around ICT, NRM and local development

28
AFRICAN WOMEN AND ICTs: Investigating Technology, Gender and Empowerment; ed. I. Buskens, A. Webb, Zed/IDRC, 2009

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If sub-Saharan countries are to face the new challenges in NRM and local
development, such as climate change, efficient and operational systems on all levels
are required. ICT has a central role to play and the following chapter will examine
how some of these new challenges can be aided with the new technologies.

6 USING ICTS TO MEET NEW CHALLENGES IN NRM AND LOCAL


DEVELOPMENT

6.1 Introduction

Climate change, desertification, and other environmental challenges have added a


new dimension to Disaster and Risk Management (DRM). The increasing effects of
climate change (floods, costal erosion, drought, migrations, etc.) have considerably
amplified the risk of natural catastrophes in SSA.

The Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has estimated
that each year, close to 250 million people around the world are affected by drought,
floods, cyclones, earthquakes, wildfires and others hazards29. Increasing population
density, environmental degradation, global warming and poverty compound the
impact of these events. Figures show that the average annual number of disasters
occurring in Africa rise by 25 percent every year.30

The deep running trend connected to the increase in the risk of catastrophes calls for
a new way of managing the disasters. For this reason, the concept of Disaster Risk
Management (DRM) is one of the most important challenges of the new century, and
the governing decisions made by and for local communities for issues related to
development, have never been so critical as today.

For considered decisions to be taken in a strategically wise and appropriate manner,


they should be based on adequate data collection and research coupled with a good
knowledge management, and decision support systems.

The chapter will address some of the new challenges and emerging issues to the
application of ICT to NRM and local development, such as disaster management in
relation with climate change, food security etc. Furthermore decision making
processes are addressed and how the application of ICTs, in research, data
collection and storage, knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, and
decision support systems, can contribute to these processes and towards improving
NRM and targeting local development challenges.

29
Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Emergency Disaster Database.
30
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

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6.2 Disaster risk management

Disaster Risk Management (DRM) refers to “the systematic process of using


administrative decisions, organization, operational skills and capacities to implement
policies, strategies and coping capacities of the society and communities to lessen
the impacts of natural hazards and related environmental and technological
disasters”31.

The international community has formulated many strategies and policies aiming
towards disaster risk reduction, such as the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015,
aimed at building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters32. The scope
of this Framework for Action encompasses disasters caused by hazards of natural
origin and related environmental and technological hazards and risks. It reflects a
holistic and multi hazard approach to disaster risk management and the relationship,
between them which can have a significant impact on social, economic, cultural and
environmental systems,

In the case of SSA strategies and frameworks such as the Africa Regional Strategy
for Disaster Risk Reduction and New Partnership for Africa’s Development exist
along with sub regional strategies. These frameworks and strategies call for the
integration of disaster risk reduction in development policies; advocacy, resource
mobilisation and capacity building; technological development and regional
cooperation.

The implementation of these disaster risk reduction strategies are however


hampered by many factors, such as deficient institutional and legal frameworks,
uncontrolled urbanisation, absence of land use plans, weak land regulation,
construction of infrastructure that does not take environment into the consideration
amongst many others serious obstacles.
The following were highlighted as key actions aimed at reducing vulnerability to
disaster and reducing risks at national and community level by ENDA RUP and
ProVention33 and these will be used to highlight the areas where ICT is playing and
can in the future play a key role:

1. Establish disaster risk reduction as a priority in national and local development


planning
2. Integrate disaster risk reduction into development, particularly poverty
reduction and emergency response strategies and programmes
3. Step up efforts to set up national platforms for disaster risk reduction

31
http://www.unisdr.org/eng/library/lib-terminology-eng%20home.htm
32
http://unisdr.org/wcdr/intergover/official-doc/L-docs/Hyogo-framework-for-action-english.pdf
33
Disaster Risk Reduction in West and Central Africa: Local perspectives, Enda Tiers Monde/ProVention, 2008
p.91
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4. Strengthen community capacities by training and raising the awareness of the
actors involved, allocating sufficient resources for this purpose and developing
partnerships among the main actors
5. Include disaster risk reduction in policies, strategies and programmes
formulated at the community level

To achieve this it is recommended by ProVension that the national risk reduction


mechanisms should be decentralised to the local level, involving all stakeholders and
that disaster risk identification and assessment should be improved. Thus:

1. Strengthening early warning systems and observation and research systems


and take advantage of GIS and space technology
2. Improve risk reduction information management, by widening research into the
subject, compiling an inventory of good practice, including local knowledge
and expertise in the area of risk reduction and disseminating it
3. Raise public awareness about disaster risk reduction
4. Strengthen capacities of local authorities, private sector, civil society and
NGOs to promote culture of disaster risk reduction

ICTs have a key part to play in achieving these goals and implementing the above
actions, from the research, data collection and storage, establishment of knowledge
and management systems, decision support systems and early warning systems
through ICTs. The technology is available; however the access to the tools and the
knowledge and capacity to implement them is still a challenge.

Initiatives such as the ‘The Advancing ICT for disaster risk management (DRM) in
Africa’ (AIDA) project, which is run by a number of partner organisations and
institutions (VITO, ITC, EUMETSAT, NetQI, GEOSAT Technology, Tech sans
frontiers, ARU, IER, FUTM CSIR34) aims to share knowledge about affordable ICT
solutions in the support of disaster risk management in Africa. AIDA recognises that
the majority of the actors are able to access ICT for DRM, thus they are working to:
reduce the risk of natural disasters; improve the capacity to respond to disasters; fill
the ICT information GAP; promote existing successful ICT solutions; open
GEONETCast35 for alerting purposes; strengthen the European leadership in ICT
solutions; and to pave the road for a long-term ICT cooperation with Africa.

One of the most impressive examples of initiatives currently being implemented is not
in SSA, but in India. It is the nationwide community watershed management
programme, implemented by the central government, in where satellites assist
planning activities, monitor progress in the many community disaster rehabilitation
schemes, and evaluate the impact of projects. This process has lead to further

34
http://aida.vgt.vito.be/partners.html
35
GEONETCast is a near real time, global network of satellite-based data dissemination systems designed to distribute space-based, air-
borne and in situ data, metadata and products to diverse communities.

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support from cooperation agencies, as it is transparent and accountable approach,
and it has led to the replication of similar schemes in many Asian regions.

Applying this to SSA would be of great benefit, because the region is amongst the
most vulnerable to disasters. Implementing these would involve solving many
organisational challenges that would need to be overcome to enable this to happen
and further cooperation between nations to combine resources and capacity36.

6.2.1 Climate change

Climate change and DRM are inseparable topics today, and the impact of climate
change in SSA is predicted to be severe. Global warming will in fact affect Africa
most and especially West and Central Africa are predicted to experience some of the
highest temperature increases anywhere in the world. The range of impacts will
affect agriculture and water resources, food security, coastal zones and human
health. Other key assets at risk include natural resources as well as transport
infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports and ports), energy infrastructure, water and
sanitation systems and coastal defences. The situation will be worsened by the
interaction of various other social, economical, technological and institutional factors
related to development. These include extreme poverty, the rapid growth of the
population, lack of access to finance, technology and information, the degradation of
the environment, and conflicts.

Any future development of strategies, involving management systems, by African


governments, institutions and relevant stakeholders alike, cannot afford to not take
climate change into consideration and again ICTs can play a key role in the
development of sustainable solutions.

ITU (International Telecommunications Union) has found that ICT is able to


contribute to the fight against climate change in various ways. Firstly through
reducing the environmental impact through the creation of standard methodology for
calculating carbon footprint; promotion of NGN (Next generation Networking)
(reducing power consumption by up to 40%); and online vs. print publication.
Furthermore they find that the power of ICTs can be harnessed through; remote
collaboration; intelligent transport systems; and sensor based networks based on
RFID & telemetry. In their view climate change can be further monitored by
conducting and managing studies on remote sensing and through providing key
climate data via radio based applications37

Thus the mitigation of climate change can be aided on many areas by ICT, however
as important as mitigation is in SSA, adaptation is even more so.

36
http://ictupdate.cta.int/en/Feature-Articles/Real-time-satellite-data-for-natural-resources-management
37
ITU and CC - www.itu.int/themes/climate

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The development and implementation of adaptation strategies to climate change
requires much the same level of research and institutional strengthening as shown
with DRM above.

6.2.2 Food security

The causes of food crises are multiple and complex and climate change has a
profound and unavoidable effect on these, such as increasing temperatures and
shifting rain patterns causing reduced access to food across the continent. Recently
food production and food shortages, has again hit the headlines, not only due to
climate change but also the financial crisis, bio-fuel production, and oil price
fluctuations38.

Climate change affects African food systems in the broadest sense of the word. It
impacts on the availability of, access to and utilisation of food. The increase in
frequency of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, hail and heat waves
can be fatal to crops. Apart from damaging crops directly, extreme climatological
events may damage infrastructure such as roads which may prevent people from
buying and selling food on the markets.

Changes in precipitation are not merely about increasing or decreasing rainfall. Rainy
seasons that begin later or earlier than normal, or sudden rain spells hitting a region
when it is supposed to be dry, have a greater impact on crops failing than a wetter
rainy season that starts on time. As a result people have less access to food, which
forces them to buy food products, which then affects their financial situation. It also
influences their health as people often buy cheaper food which is frequently less
nutritious.

Climate change not only impinges on the cultivation of crops but also the fishing
industry. Fish stocks in large lakes across Africa are declining not only because of
over-fishing but because of declining water levels due to evaporation as a result of
rising temperatures.

Another scenario where the effects of climate change on the vulnerability of food
systems become visible is where arable land is lost. This happens as a result of
declining ground-water levels and rising sea levels. It can lead to aridity of the soil or
increasing levels of saline. It reduces the suitability of land for cultivation of crops.

Such changes require farmers to alter their agricultural practices. Sorghum, for
instance, is more heat resistant and therefore does better than maize in places where
rainfall decreases.
However, the question is whether communities that are used to and have a
preference for maize will switch to sorghum or another more suitable staple crop.

38
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7774167.stm
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Further adaptation and awareness of alternatives would then be required and this is
just one of the areas where ICTs can contribute in local development and food
production.

As ICT is able to aid the ‘management’ of disasters, and climate change, it is able to
further ‘work’ for food security in SS and the adequate management of natural
resources relating to food production.
ICT is now making it possible to have monitoring systems such as the Famine Early
Warning System (FEWS) and the Global Information and Early Warning System
(GIEWS) on a global level which monitors nutrition status and large scale threats,
with the help of vulnerability information and mapping systems (FIVIMS).
These are available on national and international levels, however on local level ICT is
not yet having the full impact on strengthening efforts on food security.

ICT could have a greater impact through:


• shortening the distance and reducing transaction costs between stakeholders
(Such as the Manobi example in section 5.2)
• aiding local decision makers require, generate, and provide relevant
information about agricultural production.
• Enable relevant intermediate agencies (NGO, producers associations etc) to
not only disseminate latest research and developments in food production, but
also to assessing and brokering relevant information
• Capacity building through distance learning
• GID and database application for efficient land surveys and registration

Through specific projects and initiatives this is slowly reaching communities however
often the technology and awareness of the possibilities does not reach those that
most need it. Enrica Porcari from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural
Research (CGIAR) expressed that ‘the information is often used by a select group of
project farmers yet many such projects do not last beyond project funding," and ‘that
it is not in the mandate of research institutions to disseminate the information to the
farmers’.

The key recommendation from organisations such as IFPRI is that much investment,
capacity building and development of suitable technologies is required, however
crucially to ensure further food stability in regions the involvement of regional and
local intermediate organisations is integral, as the link between the populations and
ICT tools39.

6.3 Decision making

39
IFPRI, International Food Policy Research Institute, ‘Making Information and Communications Technologies
Work for Food Security in Africa, 2004
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Decision making is a complex and long process at all levels of interventions. The
need for support to decision-making processes is becoming more and more crucial
due to new environmental challenges.

This is particularly true of primary-sector activities which are conducted in an


environment given to instability and unsettled because of climate change effects. The
use of ICT can provide systems to facilitate and secure appropriate information and
data for appropriate decisions. Those systems include what is known as Decision
Support Systems (DSS) and / or Knowledge Management Systems (KM).

Decision Support Systems (DSS) is a specific class of computerised information


systems that supports organisational decision-making activities. A properly-designed
DSS is an interactive software-based system intended to help decision makers
compile useful information from raw data, documents and personal knowledge, to
identify and solve problems and make decisions.

Knowledge Management (KM) refers to a range of practices used in organisations to


identify, create, represent, distribute and enable adoption of insights and
experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in
individuals or embedded in organisational processes or practice.

These mechanisms and systems are important to decision making processes, but the
quality of the information and data (raw data, traditional knowledge, research, etc)
and the involvement of stakeholders are also critical. Lack of involvement of the
people most affected is a consistent failing in development programming where the
major decision-makers are often geographically, economically and socially remote
from these people.

There are three decision-making traps that must be avoided if the value of ICTs to
the overall development process is to be optimized.
• The first is where decisions about the technologies themselves, in isolation
from the development context, guide decision-making; this places the ICT
experts at the centre of the decision-making.
• The second is where the ICTs are viewed from an efficiency model point of
view; the first ‘line of sight’ for development organizations related to ICTs is to
view them as helpful in doing their business quicker and better and this places
the development organization staff at the centre of the decision-making.
• The third trap is set by the argument that development issues are complex
and difficult and therefore require guidance from the best formally educated
and most well-read people in order to reach the most astute and well informed
decisions.

The added value of ICTs for enhancing the engagement of the people most affected
in decision-making about action on the issues that most concern them is reflected in
the ICT literature at two levels: decision-making about the priority use and
development of the ICTs themselves; and using the ICTs to engage more people
centrally affected by development issues in overall decision making processes.

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The technology for such involvement exists. Meetings can be held virtually or in a
combination of face-to-face and virtual. Simple technologies including instant
messaging and instant quick polls and surveys, allied with direct submission facilities,
provide easy ways to both gain input and discuss options. Through such
mechanisms, the technology serves the essential requirements for effective
development – in this case, the people most affected by development issues being
involved in making the decisions that affect their circumstances and prospects.

Specifically PGIS40 which is aimed at community engagement and empowerment that


if used in the prescribed manner, can ensure participation, innovation and social
change in communities, with the full involvement of communities ensuring ownership
of spatial data and ensuring control of their environment.

But, if we consider local development and Natural Resources Management, how can
ICTs be tools for decision making? There are different levels to be considered:
individual producer, local council, Farmers Organizations and State.

• Decision-making regarding individual producers

The lack of mechanisms for accessing information is the root cause of the
vulnerability of family-owned farms, which suffer from the effects of the liberalisation
of the economy, coupled with the disappearance of State mechanisms for support to
production and prices. Small-scale fishermen and farmers are finding it extremely
difficult to keep pace with an economy ruled by market laws alone. Agricultural
producers’ income has considerably decreased, since they are in no position to set
market prices before selling their produce or catches to middlemen who, generally,
offer prices lower than those of the market.

In Senegal, an experiment based on the use of ICT has helped provide, in real time,
for fruit and vegetable producers in the Niayes area (a market- gardening region in
the Western part of the country) information on prices offered on the major urban
markets, through mobile phones and the Internet. Thanks to this, each producer can
check supply and demand concerning various urban markets, and locate the place
where they can get the best prices. Consequently, producers in this area have been
able to boost their prices by more than 50% thanks to the system developed by
Manobi (See 5.2 for Manobi example).

In addition to the increase in the income of small- scale rural producers, the
experiment has shown the economic and technical viability of the use of the mobile

40
PGIS combines a range of geo-spatial information management tools and methods such as sketch maps,
participatory 3D models, community-based air photo and satellite imagery interpretation, GPS transect walks
and GIS-based cognitive mapping. Participatory GIS implies making GIT&S available to disadvantaged groups
in society in order to enhance their capacity in generating, managing, analysing and communicating spatial
information.

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phone in the rural, ill-equipped areas in order to create services that help producers
to increase their income.

• Decision-making at community level (to be edited)

On achieving independence, most States in Sub-Saharan Africa changed their land-


tenure systems in order to promote agriculture. One of the major aspects of the new
systems rests on the principle of land development as a pre-condition for access to
lands, and for the reinforcement of land rights granted by the Government. However,
cattle-breeding has not been considered as a way of developing rural lands. Instead,
this activity has been marginalised and, at best, tolerated in certain areas. Under
such circumstances, the increase in the pressure exercised by man on resources,
together with the dominance of agriculture, including in the traditional cattle-breeding
areas, lead to unprecedented conflicts, with feelings running particularly high as such
conflicts involve various antagonistic communities.

To remedy this situation, several projects have embarked on a process of creation of


plans to manage cattle runs, using GPS, GIS and mapping. Such plans aim to be
tools to regulate NRM and, in operational terms, are changed into a code of conduct
agreed by all the actors concerned. The operationalisation of such plans is a major
challenge connected to the issue of the legitimacy and political powers of the bodies
responsible for their implementation.

Such a challenge is of considerable importance regarding the Sahel’s pastoral areas


where individual strategies are increasingly taking precedence over common
approaches to NRM. The experiments which have been conducted show that cattle
breeders can engage in negotiations on ways to access resources and reach
compromises acceptable to all users of pastures and standpipes. It is when the
initially agreed rules are to be applied that problems arise. Indeed, everyone seeks to
get round the rules or to evade the constraints attached to the observance of such
rules. This point to the need for a particular body with the legitimacy and powers
required for the application of the rules and to mediate between individual and
collective interests.

• Decision-making in relation to socio-professional associations

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the issues related to equitable access to the land are due to
the fact that land is one of the major assets for productive activities in rural areas. It
seems crucial to secure equitable access to lands in the areas where poverty is
increasing. This need is all the stronger since the main strategies to eliminate poverty
take agricultural recovery as the main path to economic growth. Access to land is a
must for farmers to get credit, make use of scientific and technical innovations, and
improve their livelihoods thanks to the modernisation of agricultural activities and the
increased profitability of crop systems.

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To meet such a need, Senegalese farmers’ associations gathered within the CNCR
have been insisting on the transformation of land property rights held by rural
producers- which are just rights of use- into land titles. If one is to do justice to such a
claim, a new legislation should be adopted, which gives to the holders of those rights
of use the opportunity, at any time, to change such a right into a lease or land title.
For this not to give rise to a rush to get the lands registered, or to be eluded by
capital holders, a land tax could be created. This will act as a mechanism to
discourage those who have not got plans to develop lands in a profitable way, to
apply.

Land registration is quite a challenge. The approach which has been adopted by the
technical services concerned (Land and Tax departments) to demarcate land plots is
often not satisfactory. It is expensive and counterproductive for farmers to mobilise
land surveyors to work out plots of land, if it is low-yield lands. While the current land
legislation makes it possible for the land holder to register the land and get a lease or
land title, very few have done so as, as it is too costly.

Some alternative solutions will have to be found to the traditional methods of land
plotting that are cumbersome and costly. For that purpose; farmers’ associations are
advocating the use of more flexible techniques that rely on the use ICT and GPS.
Some interesting experiments have been carried out by the Centre for Ecological
Monitoring in relation to mapmaking, and by several rural communities that have
conducted land plotting operations for housing or agriculture.

• Decision-making at national level

In order to find a structured answer to repeated food crises affecting countries in sub-
Saharan Africa, most Governments have set up an institutional framework and tools
to prevent and manage crises. Those mechanisms have, as their main duties, to
contribute to the lessening of the food vulnerability of the populations, thanks to an
improved coordination and management of interventions, though, among others: (a)
the development of strategies to prevent food crises; (b) the building of the capacities
of the populations for protection against crises and the reconstruction of their
economies; and (c) the improvement of the consistency and efficiency of the public
response to food crises.

In keeping with the above, many countries in the region have now got environmental-
alert systems based on the lessons learnt from the past agricultural season. Thanks
to the help from some specialised regional institutions like AGRHYMET, many
counties have created models to identify risk areas regarding rain-fed crops, by using
first NDVI data. Early in the rainy season, the results allow to identify those areas
where abnormal conditions in the space and/ or time-related distribution of rainfalls
announce a deficit in agricultural production.

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Such data can alert government authorities and development partners, so that they
may take anticipatory measures on, among other things, the planning of cereal flows
between the regions with excess production and those with a deficit; the rebuilding of
the national safety stock; the mobilisation of external aid etc. If factors beside drought
can seriously impact the outcomes of the agricultural season, then data on the
monitoring of rain fall pauses are a vital tool to prevent food crises.

7 EMERGING ISSUES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH AND ACTION: SOME


SUGGESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

7.1 Introduction

The choice made to identify emerging issues for further research is dictated by the
need to find out the most promising areas of application of ICTs in relation to local
development. This, within the framework of the preparation of a Pan African
research project on ICTs, Natural Resources Management and local development.

In order to meet the many challenges of local development, those applications should
be imagined in relation to the need for local communities to meet their new
responsibilities.

There are many promising applications areas as far as local development is


concerned (ICTs for NRM, linking informal sector to the world market, climate change
adaptation, democratic governance, mainstreaming gender into local development,
capacity building, health, internet for youth and Diaspora in local development etc).
However, the aim here is not to provide an exhaustive list of all possible and
appropriate applications of ICTs to local development, but rather to give a few
examples of promising applications in relation to NRM and local development in
order to introduce discussions around the issue during the workshop.

The examples given below are related to decision making processes for local
development, land reform and related conflict prevention, EcoHealth, and internet for
social change, which have been found to be relevant for local development in the
current context.

7.2 Using ICTs to strengthen Decision Making Processes for Local


Development

In order to better comprehend the challenges in local development, decision makers


are progressively inclined to gather the maximum amount of integrated data relating
to social and economic objectives (Millennium Development Goals) and concerning

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natural resources management (soils, agriculture, forestry, hydrology, etc.). Such
data include traditional knowledge, scientific data gathered by researchers and public
institutions, and other elements from basic data on land assets, health, women and
children’s living conditions, policies and programmes in progress etc.

The methodology used for the collection of the data should be based on a
participatory approach taking into account the needs of local communities.
Participatory activities should be held in order to bring people to list priorities relevant
to their development.
The formatting and presentation of data calls for lessons learnt in information sharing
and exchange between local communities and government officials; this on the base
of a smooth integration of the various categories of knowledge, ranging from
traditional to peripheral and academic.

The integration of the data should be designed as a process of continuous learning


for all participants and serve as a base for equitable planning, negotiation and
decision making. So the data should be communicated in an effective way to all
stakeholders, and knowledge should be share equitably in order to enhance
transparency in the decision making process. From such a point of view, three major
dimensions should be considered, regarding the implementation of a Participatory
Geographical Information System (PGIS) within a local community: i) local councilors’
commitment to use PGIS as a tool to strengthen social policies and the decision
making process; ii) cross-sector consultation and coordination in data collection,
storage and updating; iii) the participation of the community in the global process of
collecting and processing of data.

Using PGIS as a tool in Decision Making Processes is a great opportunity in


achieving the Millennium development Goals at the level of local communities in the
perspective of poverty reduction. PGIS can assist local councilors to fill in gaps in
policies and to identify the needs and priorities of local communities.

The rationale for using PGIS to achieve MDG can be explained by different factors: i)
new responsibilities transferred to local councilors concerning the management and
funding of health services and others sectors including education, sanitation and
access to clean water; ii) the opportunity to articulate MDGs with the social policies
initiated at local level; iii) the councilors’ capacity to make the MDGs more
operational, thanks to new responsibilities transferred to them in the framework of the
decentralization process.

7.3 Using PGIS for an enabling land reform policy and conflict prevention

According to statistics provided by FAO, the price index of food was in March 2008,
57% higher than a year earlier. By comparing this index to the average price of the
years 1998-2000, FAO estimates the inflation at 220%. Among the factors underlying
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the surge in prices are: (i) the world production of major commodities and the level of
global stocks: (ii) the increase in food demand in the long term supported by the
population growth, (iii) the increasing demand for agricultural products for bio-fuels
sectors, and (iv) the increase in oil prices which induced an increase in the cost of
processing and transport of products food.

This inflation of commodity prices between 2007 and 2008, as was the case during
the 1970s, has prompted many investors to invest in land. As indicated by Grain, in a
report published in October 2008: “Because of the current financial debacle,
investors (pension and hedge funds, etc.) have redirected their investments towards
the land at the expense of financial markets, knowing that agricultural lands have
become a new strategic asset.’’
Private investors are not the only ones who are involved in the rush for lands. Many
State governments seek to develop agricultural enclaves outside their national
borders to deal with their national increasing demand for food products41.
Sub-Saharan Africa has not been spared by this new dynamic of acquisition of land
on a large scale by foreign countries. In 2006, China signed agreements with several
African States (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tanzania, etc.) for experimental
farming. According to Carfantan42, by 2010, one million Chinese farmers could be
installed on these lands.

Examples of Mali and Senegal:


The process of acquisition of agricultural land is well underway in countries like
Mali, where the agricultural projects run by investors claim 360,000 hectares. In
the development area of the Office du Niger, Malibya, a Libyan company
connected to the family of the Libyan leader, has been granted 100,000 hectares
of land. These allocations of land rights to foreign investors are all the more
resented since they happen to the detriment of local farmers.
Purchase of land rights to promote agricultural business also concerns Senegal,
where ethanol production has been elevated to a priority by the national
government. According to official forecast, the development of Jatropha should
extend to over 320,000 ha in 2012. In order to achieve this objective, the
Senegalese Government is encouraging foreign investors to create large
agricultural enterprises in the country. In response to this invitation, many
investors have developed plans to develop agricultural businesses. For example,
the Norwegian company Agro-Africa is seeking to develop the production of
ethanol in the area of Vélingara (200,000 ha, Province of Casamance). In the
province of Thies and around the Senegal River Delta, there is a significant gap
between the acquisition of land and the actually developed. This situation stems
41
In a region like the Middle East where arable land is increasingly scarce, the oil monarchies are
investing in creating extra annexes. Qatar has the land in Indonesia, Bahrain has enclaves in the
Philippines and Kuwait, in Burma, etc.. According to estimates made by Carfantan five countries
differ in the importance of their land acquisitions abroad: China, South Korea, United Arab Emirates,
Japan and Saudi Arabia. Together, they now have over 7.6 million hectares to grow outside national
territory.
42
Carfantan, J-Y., 2009 Choc alimentaire mondial, ce qui nous attend demain. Albin Michel

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from a strategy of land ‘’freezing’’, adopted by land owners who aim to sell their
legal property later. Other private investors who have been granted lands have
already sold them, after faking a collapse of their agricultural businesses.
Consequently, this leads to land insecurity for the small farmers whose land rights
are not formally recognized.

If these trends are maintained, they will lead directly to large social conflicts. To
remedy this situation, farmers' organizations, as in Senegal, are demanding the
transformation of land rights held by rural producers – which in fact are just rights to
use the land - into land titles. But, the registration of land is a real challenge due to
the fact that small farmers can not afford meet requirement to get their lands
registered.
Given such formidable challenges, ICTs (GPS, PGIS, etc) could play a major role in
mapping land and others natural resources and in allowing local communities to
identify and get their lands registered. The role of ICTs in meeting those challenges
and in preventing social conflicts has been widely acknowledged by farmer’s
organizations.

7.4 ICTs and EcoHealth: Reinforcing trans-disciplinary research methods

ICTs are already used in the field of health in many countries today. The
“telemedicine project” supported by IDRC in several African countries (Burkina Faso,
Rep. of Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Tunisia, etc.), is an interesting experiment providing
virtual health-related services which may not be available locally. The objective of the
project is to set up in each targeted country the required facilities and mechanism to
allow consultations amongst stakeholders. There are many other cases around the
world, but the use of ICTs has not been extended far enough to improve research in
EcoHealth.

Unlike the usual approach to health, Ecohealth gives as much importance to an


appropriate management of the environment and resource management, as to
economic and social factors and health proper. The complex interactions between
those factors make it necessary for researchers to adopt a “trans-disciplinary”
approach in other to meet the methodological requirement of Ecohealth.

Using PGIS could help researchers from various backgrounds, local communities,
decision makers, etc. to build a shared vision. PGIS can be particularly helpful in the
collection juxtaposition of data (interrelation between land use, water resources,
cattle breeding and the prevalence of some diseases).

7.5 Web 2: Changing the face of local development?

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Over the last decade the Internet has developed rapidly, and is now not only used for
emailing and stand-alone websites disseminating information, but it is now also
providing space for multiple party engagement and networking. This is especially
through web-based communities and services such as social networking sites (Face
Book, My Space etc.) wiki’s, blogs etc. that aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration
and sharing amongst users.

Developments such as these have enabled new links between individuals and
communities, and distance has become less of an obstacle for people to engage in
‘real time’.

Local development can be seen as having been ‘steered’ by two


systematic/organised channels.
Firstly the direct links with central and local government departments that determine
the direction and central areas of focus local development should be concerned
around.
Secondly communities also have similar organised links with communities and
municipalities outside the national boundaries (decentralised cooperation), inspiring
and guiding development efforts.

Now it is possible to see a third channel guiding and mobilising local development,
through migrants and Diaspora relations with local communities, which has been and
continues to develop with the aid of especially the internet and phone. Diaspora and
migrants may physically leave their communities, but in most cases they still remain
very much a part of the community and contribute to the local development. By
eliminating the barrier of physical distance, ITC allow migrants all over the
world to keep close relationships with their communities and country of origin. Both
the phone and the internet enable the Diaspora to
regularly exchange information with parents and relatives, monitor and participate in
the management of local affairs. ICT have proven to be appropriate tools to
raise Diaspora awareness about local development challenges, and
give migrants incentives to transfer resources through remittances.

One example of the direct involvement the Diaspora have can be seen in Touba,
Senegal, where contributions from ‘community members’, individuals and hometown
associations, residing in South Africa, Europe and the States are funding and
coordinating the building and equipping of one of the biggest hospitals for the city
and surrounding region.

The population of SSA is young and it is mainly the youth that are steering and using
these new ‘community ‘spaces’ that the recent developments of the internet have
allowed the creation of. It is expected that over the next 10-15 years this is going to
be the basis of even further social change and a change to the social realities in
many communities across the continent.

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Rethinking local development, and thus also NRM, in this new perspective means
conducting further research in three possible directions. The first direction is to
assess the impact of ICT in building and strengthening social capital,
including networks and kinship relationship, and capacity building critical for the
survival of communities particularly in rural areas. Efforts in this direction could be
geared towards case studies focusing on specific communities. The second track
could be to document the role of ICT and Diaspora involvement on improving local
governance. The attention could be paid to how citizens use web-based forums and
discussions to contribute ideas, ask questions and challenge local leadership
regarding the management of local governments. The third direction could deal with
the role of ICT in sensitizing and mobilizing citizens, including the Diaspora, to build
and rehabilitate social infrastructures such as health and education infrastructures in
the local communities.

Research in all three directions should in effect strive to analyse social changes
introduced by the use of ICT technologies and their effects on the future of
communities.

8 CONCLUSION

This paper has attempted to give an overview of current developments and


challenges around ICT, NRM and development, and is meant as an introductory note
to the regional ICT4D workshop that IDRC has convened in Dakar in May 2009. This
workshop will address not only NRM, but ICT4D in sub-Saharan Africa in general.
The paper is furthermore part of the preparations of a Pan African research
programme on the effects of and possibilities around ICT4D.

The ultimate objective of the paper is to inspire discussions of the most promising
usages of ICT for NRM and local development and the possible areas of research
proposed throughout the document are only a few of the numerous areas that the
workshop will address. ICT4D is a field that goes across all disciplines and there is
still huge scope for application of ICTs to NRM and local development that can and
should be explored, and this workshop will be able to further contribute to the subject
and research agenda developments

Challenges and opportunities around the application of ICT in the field of NRM and
local development are vast. The technologies exist, however hurdles such as
infrastructure, cartels controlling access, cost and development of appropriate
versions of the technologies for sub-Saharan specificities are still outstanding in the
majority of SSA regions.

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The ‘new’ challenges to NRM and local development reveal areas where ICT is and
will have an even greater potential influence. Mitigation and adaptation in relation to
climate change is one area where the application of ICTs is integral and is set to play
an even greater role over the coming years. As shown especially around disaster risk
management ICT is enabling the reduction of risk and improving capacity to respond
to disasters amongst others.

Specifically relating to local development and local resources it was here found that
especially local decision making processes, be they by the individual, local
organisations or authorities, using ICTs can substantially increase the involvement of
local stakeholders and improve sustainability of any development efforts. This is not
only in relation to managing NRM, but also to decide on the technologies themselves
as to ensure local ‘buy-in’, to ensure that the technologies are appropriate for the
local conditions, and applicable to relevant challenges facing the population. This is
in all aspects of the effort, not only around research, but also the related knowledge
management, decision support systems, and monitoring and evaluation. It appears
that Web 2 and the next evolution of internet will especially open new avenues for
local development and further reductions in cost and portable technologies even
more so.

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outline v4”, UNRISD

67. Program and Partnership Branch International Development, 2005. “Urban


Poverty and Environment Prospectus 2005-2010”, , Research Centre, Ottawa
Canada, , 29 pages

68. Saunby, M ; Buontempo C. 2007. « Un « mashup » consacré au climat » in


http://ictupdate.cta.int.fr/dossiers/un-mashup-consacré-au-climat/(issue)/39

69. Simon Batchelor M., Gamos, Hafkin Nancy, Chéneau-Loquay Annie, Oct
2005. “Résumé du rapport de l’examen externe de l’initiative de programme
ACACIA II Rapport au conseil des gouverneurs du CRDI”, CRDI,

70. Sommer R., Wenger R., Wymann von Dach S., 2007. « Technologies
d’information géographique pour la gestion des ressources naturelles »
inforessources focus n°3. www.inforesources.ch/pdf/focus07_3_f.pdf

71. STEHENSON J., WILLIAMS J., 2004. “Real-time satellite data for natural
resources management”, IDRC, issue 20 Agrometeorology.

72. Spence R., 2003. “ICTs, the Internet, Development and Poverty Reduction”
Background Paper: Discussion, Research, Collaboration, IDRC.
“ICT, NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND LOCAL DEVELOPMENT”
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10 ANNEX A: INTERNAL CONSULTATIONS

• Fatou Sow, Coordinatrice projet Dimitra « Genre et Développement » et du


Réseau National des femmes rurales du Sénégal, ENDA Pronat

• Cheikh Gueye, Chercheur géographe conseiller du secrétariat exécutif, ENDA


Siège

• Bachir Kanouté, Directeur des programmes, ENDA Ecopop

• Malick Gay, Directeur des programmes, ENDA RUP

11 ANNEX B: EXTERNAL CONSULTATIONS

• Déthié Soumaré Ndiaye, Forestier, CSE

• Grégoire Leclerc, Chercheur, CIRAD

• Olivier Sagna, Secrétaire général d’Osiris

• Giacomo Rambaldini, Senior programme manager, CTA

• Ousseynou Ly, Bureau international du travail, CTA

12 ANNEX C: INTERNET RESOURCES

Advancing ICT for Disaster risk management in Africa


http://aida.vgt.vito.be

International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)


http://www.iicd.org/

Research ICT Africa!


http://www.researchictafrica.net/

Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP)


http://www.globalknowledge.org

FAO - Virtual change - Indicators for assessing the impact of ICTs in


development
http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/i0494e/i0494e00.HTM

International Telecommunication Union

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http://www.itu.int

InfoDev
http://www.infodev.org

IDRC ACACIA
http://www.idrc.ca/acacia/

IDPM
http://www.sed.manchester.ac.uk/idpm/research/

ESA Tiger Initiative


http://www.tiger.esa.int/home.asp

Research Into Use (DFID)


http://www.researchintouse.com

Iconnect online (IICD)


http://www.iconnect-online.org/home/

dgCommunities
http://ict.developmentgateway.org/

The African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology


http://www.acwict.org/

European Space Agency


http://www.esa.int

EIS-Africa
http://www.eis-africa.org/EIS-Africa/

Link Centre
http://link.wits.ac.za/

Osiris
http://www.osiris.sn/

UNRISD
http://www.unrisd.org/

CGIAR
http://www.cgiar.org/

CTA
http://www.cta.int/

CIRAD
http://www.cirad.fr/

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IRD
http://www.ird.fr/

UNEP
http://www.unep.org/

IDS
http://www.ids.ac.uk/

EJISDC
www.ejisdc.org/

Web 2.0
http://www.takingitglobal.org

GenderIT
http://www.GenderIT.org

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