Documents/FAO/4: Natural Resources/D.1: Integrated Natural Resource Management

D.1: Integrated Natural Resource Management

Integrated management of land, water, fisheries, forest and genetic resources

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Programmes and policies directed at conserving and developing natural resources often fail or only partially succeed, owing to competing developmental requirements for scarce resources. As competition for resources intensifies, it is increasingly necessary to take into account the positive synergies among the various functions of agriculture as well as the multiple uses of resources, including conservation for the benefit of future generations. The integrated management of natural resources aims to achieve both conservation and development objectives in the context of ongoing population change (growth and urbanization in particular). The challenge is to identify and promote integrated resource management systems that are at the same time economically viable, environmentally sustainable and appropriate both socially and culturally. This will require cross-sectoral assessments of trade-offs and reinforcement of mechanisms for the resolution of conflicts over the conservation and sustainable use of land, water and genetic resources for agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Strategy components: The components include: developing and promoting integrated resource management systems in such areas as watershed and coastal zone management, transboundary resources, management of aquatic and forest resources and genetic resources for food and agriculture; promoting cross-sectoral and subsectoral policies and collaborative mechanisms among relevant institutions (ministries, research institutions, private sector and CSOs) and building institutional and human resource capacity for integrated resource management; serving as a point of reference and source of knowledge on key issues of natural resource management, and facilitating the sharing of experiences at the national, regional and global levels; and developing and strengthening monitoring, assessment and valuation of natural resources to optimize decision-making for the efficient management and sustainable use of natural resources. Comparative advantages and partnerships FAO's expertise and wide disciplinary coverage ensures the incorporation of economic, social, legal and institutional aspects in natural resource management approaches, with proper attention to rural development, gender, population and related issues. Its global reach enables it to support policy- and operational-level debates and exchanges on transboundary issues and questions involving many countries; it can thus promote cooperation between various stakeholders to address emerging problems. Examples include the Leipzig Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Global Strategy for the Management of Farm Animal Genetic Resources, the Global Integrated Pest Management Facility, the Soil Fertility Initiative and the Global Water Partnership. Moreover, FAO's cooperation with ministries of planning, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water and environment, and its experience in developing and promoting participatory approaches for community-level natural resource management, contribute to reinforcing the necessary cross-sectoral linkages that are central to the successful implementation of integrated natural resource management approaches. Within the UN system, it acts as task manager for implementation of Chapter 10 (Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources) and of Chapter 11 (Combating deforestation) of Agenda 21 and is a major partner for other relevant chapters. To promote the broad cross-sectoral approaches and collaborative mechanisms required, close cooperation is required between FAO and various organizations within and outside the UN system, including but not limited to IFIs (e.g. the World Bank, IFAD and the regional development banks), the Global Environment Facility and UN organizations (e.g. WHO, UNDP, UNEP and UNFPA). Collaboration with scientific institutions, with the International Water Management Institute and other CGIAR centres, and with international NGOs (e.g. the World Conservation Union, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the World Resources Institute), is also essential; with national research institutes, this will also involve capacity building. To address natural resource issues at the community level, collaboration with various civil society stakeholders, including NGOs, will be pursued. For transboundary issues in particular, partnership with regional and subregional commissions and institutions will continue to be important.