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Vll. transforming natural resources for human development: implications for research, planning and policy

1. Increasing awareness of relationships between natural resource and socioeconomic development
2. Strengthening administrative and institutional capacity for transformational development
3. Education and training of resource transformation professionals
4. Expanding research and the data base for planning and policy-making
4.1.Marginal Resource Systems§
4.2.Equity and basic needs§
4.3.International linkages§


Although many governments in developing countries have turned to the transformational approach in some aspects of their development policy, few now have the capacity to use effectively the resource systems framework that was outlined in Chapter III to plan, formulate and implement development strategies. Fewer still have the capacity to apply transformational development strategies effectively in marginal regions.

International institutions such as the United Nations University can play an important role in assisting developing nations to formulate and carry out transformational development strategies and to develop their capacities to use a resource systems framework in planning and policymaking. This chapter outlines some of the most important prerequisites to creating such capabilities in developing countries, describes some of the activities of the United Nations University's Programme on the Use and Management of Natural Resources to establish those prerequisites, and identifies new research activities that must be undertaken to make transformational development strategies and resource systems frameworks operational.

Four immediate requirements for improving the effectiveness of governments in developing countries in transforming natural resources for human development are:

1. Increasing the awareness in developing countries of the complex and multiple relationships between natural resources and socio-economic development;
2. Strengthening administrative, institutional and legal procedures for protecting the physical environment and for transforming natural resources for human development, especially in marginal areas;
3. Expanding the research and data base for development planning and policy-making and strengthening the methodologies for applying the resource systems framework in policy analysis; and,
4. Building the educational and training capacity of public and private institutions in natural resource analysis and transformation for human development. All four of these requirements are related.

1. Increasing awareness of relationships between natural resource and socioeconomic development

Recognition of the complex and multiple relationships among social, economic, physical and biological activities has become more widespread among development planners and policy-makers over the past decade and, as was pointed out in Chapters 2 and 3, national governments and international development agencies have been giving increasing attention to the potential damage to environmental and natural resources in formulating policies and designing projects. But awareness of the great potential for transforming natural resources for human development in ways that preserve and expand the resource base is restricted to relatively few planners in developing nations and. often, policy makers continue to design programmes and projects in ways that seek shortterm economic gains at the cost of long-run deterioration and destruction of renewable resources. Awareness of the relationships among human behaviour, patterns of human settlement, changes in social and economic interactions and physical and biological ecosystems in marginal areas exists only among a relatively few professionals who study or deal regularly with people in marginal regions.

Although the growing awareness of the possible ill effects for the environment of some development policies has spawned environmental protection and resource conservation laws in many developing countries, this recognition is not so widespread that effective demand has grown for their enforcement. Political commitment in many countries remains weak. Perhaps more importantly, there is still little recognition of how renewable natural resources can be transformed in a positive way both to promote human development
and to protect natural resource systems that can yield benefits to the poor who live in marginal areas.

In part, the relatively low level of awareness concerning the crucial relationships between development activities and conditions of the biophysical environment is due to the paucity of human knowledge concerning important elements of natural resource systems. A recent study points out that

There are significant gaps in our understanding of natural systems. Of the estimated 5 to 10 million plant and animal species in the world, for example, only about 1.6 million have been named; a much smaller number can be said to be known completely. Also, while our understanding of the dynamics of ecosystems is improving rapidly, there is still much to be learned, particularly in tropical and subtropical ecosystems. Given that level of ignorance, human activities which modify natural habitats and threaten the survival of species carry with them potential risks of unknown magnitude.1

Much of the work of international organizations in this field, therefore, must be devoted to applied research and dissemimation of information that will increase the awareness of development planners and policy-makers of the complex relationships between socio-economic development and changes in biophysical systems.

2. Strengthening administrative and institutional capacity for transformational development

Even in countries where the awareness of natural resource problems and potentials is widespread, the administrative capacity to transform renewable natural resources for human development and to protect the biophysical environment is often weak. The problems are even more complex in marginal areas where poverty is widespread. World Bank analysts have pointed out that "alleviating poverty is considerably more difficult than preventing environmental deterioration, but if the current concern for the environment is not translated into action, the task of preventing or reversing environmental damage will become even more difficult."

Translating awareness into action requires strong administrative capacity, well-organized institutions through which action can be taken and well-trained technicians and managers. But as a recent international assistance agency report concluded, if the current rates of natural resource and environmental deterioration are to be reversed, "a very substantial and immediate improvement in governmental resource management capabilities will be necessary. Because much of the damage already done is irreversible in the short run, further delay can only make the challenge more difficult ...." Researchers noted that many of the problems caused by inappropriately-designed development policies and programmes can be attributed to an insufficient understanding of institutional and managerial implications. The institutional aspects of environmental management have received little attention. Increasing the administrative capacity of agencies and institutions charged with resource planning and environmental management is a prerequisite to making transformational approaches to development operational.

Among the most important requirements for building administrative capacity are:
1. Improving the ability of relevant agencies and ministries to collect, analyse and use information about immediate and long-run impacts of development policies and programmes on the resource systems and environments of developing countries and especially on marginal areas within developing nations;
2. Strengthening the capacity of governments in developing countries to plan and implement resource transformation projects effectively in marginal areas;
3. Expanding the capacity of government agencies to mobilize, budget and allocate financial resources for environmental protection and physical transformation programmes that develop human potential in marginal areas; and,
4. Building the capacity of developing country governments to devise and enforce appropriate legal and administrative regulations that protect, conserve and use renewable natural resources efficiently.

Appropriate technology and institutions are necessary to improve the capacity of developing country governments to transform natural resources for human development. A recent study emphasizes the importance of appropriate administrative and institutional arrangements:

Because many of the most serious environmental and natural resource problems of developing countries relate directly to the activities of low income groups, both rural and urban, the ability of a government to manage environmental resources effectively is likely to depend in large measure on its abilities to reach the poor majority. Western administrative institutions may not in fact be the best models in such circumstances, and alternative approaches warrant greater study. 5

Although a great deal of attention has been given in recent years to appropriate technology, relatively little research and experimentation have been done with appropriate institutions for development of marginal areas and for reaching the rural poor.

Appropriate Institutions for the Development of Marginal Areas

Development planners and policy-makers who pursue equitable growth strategies often assume the existence of, or the ability to create quickly, an institutional structure that is appropriate to meeting local needs and capable of distributing to rural regions the services needed for transformation and growth. Yet, a common characteristic of nearly all marginal regions, and indeed of most rural areas in developing countries, is the lack of such institutional networks. Ruttan, among others, has found that in the past integrated rural development failed largely because of the absence of rural organizational infrastructure and because of the weaknesses of institutional linkages between rural and urban areas. The design of future strategies, he contends, must be aimed at " . . . a unique combination of technical and institutional change." In the private sector, "there is a need for institutional innovations to make the markets more efficient through which rural people obtain access to credit, land and new technologies," Ruttan argues. And in the public sectors," . . . the markets through which political resources are brought to bear on institutional performance in rural areas are often even more imperfect - more biased against rural people - than the credit and product markets."

Rondinelli and Ruddle have found that some combination of at least five types of institutional deficiencies are found in marginal regions with the highest levels of poverty. First, in many, the organizations that provide services, facilities, technical inputs, financial resources and political and administrative support are either missing altogether or found only in traditional forms. The traditional arrangements for diversifying and accelerating economic growth are usually inadequate and have limited flexibility in adapting to changing problems and needs. Without transformation they merely perpetuate poverty. Second, the more "modern" institutions that do exist may not serve the majority of the population, especially the poorest. Often, either inadvertently or deliberately, they merely exploit the poor. Third, existing institutions generally are not effectively linked into a network or "hierarchy" of supporting institutions in such a way as to provide continuous, reliable and efficient flows of services and inputs. Their unreliability makes adoption of their services and techniques a high risk to subsistence households. Fourth, because of a combination of problems - scarcity of financial resources, ineffective linkages, lack of skilled manpower, weak political support, inefficient managerial procedures, lack of clientele participation and the unwillingness of personnel to serve the poor- existing institutions may have low levels of administrative capacity to deal with the complex problems plaguing marginal regions. Finally, new institutions introduced into rural areas by national governments or international assistance agencies are frequently so incompatible with traditional practices, customs and behaviour that they not only fail to serve, but may further alienate rural people. In each case, the institutional structure is inappropriate for rural development.

Appropriate institutions, like appropriate technology, should be highly adaptable to the wide variety of problems and conditions found in developing nations. The development and transfer of institutions, like technology transfer and development, must blend adaptation, innovation and creativity with an intimate knowledge of local capabilities and constraints. The past decade's experiences with rural development provide some clues as to the vital characteristics of appropriate institutions for service and technology delivery in marginal areas. At least nine such characteristics have been identified by Rondinelli and Ruddle:

1. Appropriate institutions for rural development must be complementary and integrated;
2. They should be vertically linked into an organizational network, both to provide a "hierarchy" of services and to increase the quality and reliability of service delivery;
3. Appropriate institutions build on traditional and culturally embedded arrangements, practices and behaviour;
4. They are designed to transform traditional practices and behaviour into more suitable instruments for economic growth and social progress;
5. They are sensitive to and flexible in meeting the highly varied needs of differentiated rural clientele;
6. Appropriate institutions adapt service delivery arrangements to rural conditions and constraints, modifying the "central service point" bias of large scale organizations;
7. They are open to and encourage participation of client populations in various aspects of programme design and implementation;
8. They use simplified planning and managerial techniques and procedures suited to local administrative capacity and decision-making practices; and
9. Appropriate institutions are spatially differentiated, specialized and integrated: They are organized to meet the needs of communities with different population thresholds, market characteristics and development potential. Each of these characteristics, moreover, is related to the others in describing an appropriate institutional structure for development of marginal areas.

1. Complementarity

Rural services and technologies must be mutually reinforcing and interlocking to achieve significant results. Credit, for example, does not create new resources; it is just one important element of an integrated package of modern factors needed to support higher agricultural productivity. Commercial credit without technical assistance, cooperative purchasing and marketing facilities will not sustain increased output in the poorest rural ares. Similarly, the introduction of new technology demands inputs from both public and private organizations as well as from the "informal" sector. Cooperation between public and private sectors is essential in the exploitation of government-sponsored technologies in mixed economies. Public-private linkages are also needed, Montgomery contends, "when governments decide to discourage socially harmful investments in the private sector, such as importing inappropriate capital-intensive technologies or equipment, introducing ecologically harmful processes or concentrating industrial facilities in overcrowded urban sites." In such cases subsidies, incentives, regulation and private advisory groups can be used to guide development. Without institutional integration the introduction of new services and technologies will either have only marginal effects on rural development or be counter-productive.

2. Vertical Integration

Similarly, rural institutions must be linked into a larger organizational network. In an extensive analysis of the roles of local organizations in rural development, Uphoff and Esman found that in both mixed economies and socialist societies in Asia, rural programmes were the responsibility of a mixture of local, provincial and national government institutions and of political and private organizations. The complementarities among them were as important to the success of rural development as the functions performed by each individual organization. "While there are isolated instances of local organization taking the initiative, mobilizing resources and accomplishing certain development objectives, in most countries considered, the cumulative effect of such efforts has been negligible," they report. "What count are systems or networks of organization. both vertically and horizontally, that make local development more than an enclave phenomenons.

Successful technology transfer and adaptation also depend on vertical organizational linkage. "Intersectoral activities require vertical linkages whenever a single ministry or agency seeks to implement development programs," Montgomery argues.

The functions necessary for strengthening these vertical linkages include reporting, impact assessment and evaluation, and maintaining a balance among professional and bureaucratic ventures so that their defined goals are constantly reinforced. The central government's role in fostering these relationships is to keep all ministries and agencies aware of their links to the field offices and to their citizen-clients, to maintain developmental criteria for the evaluation of administrative operations, to reduce bureaucratic isolation and the "capital city" complex, and to get better feedback from central performance to ministerial and national planning units.

The economic and organizational constraints found in most developing countries makes the success of new private sector technologies also highly dependent on vertically linked organization. Production and repair of agricultural machinery in Taiwan, India and Pakistan, for example, must be divided among rural blacksmiths and carpenters, urban workshops and large capital-intensive factories. The prohibitive costs of establishing decentralized service centers in India and Pakistan, even for large international corporations, means that village artisans working with crude hand tools and locally available materials must do most of the repairs on farm machinery, except for tractors and power tillers; urban workshops do more specialized repairs and produce components for farm equipment, whereas tractors and tillers can be manufactured and repaired only by a few large firms located in the capital cities. "Success of the farm equipment industry in providing effective inputs for agriculture," Johnson and Kilby found, "is largely determined by the extent of interconnections that exist among the three sectors."

3. Cultural Compatibility

Although it is almost a cliche to argue that development strategies should be based on a thorough understanding of existing conditions, emerging needs and cultural traditions, this basic principal is often lost in the urgency to activate development plans and programmes. But one of the recurrent lessons of development experience is that the most pervasive and lasting changes can often be attained by using and transforming existing resources and by promoting institutional change by building on culturally embedded arrangements and practices.

Indigenous social and economic institutions, no matter how inadequate they may be for modernization, survive because they perform necessary traditional functions. They are often adapted to cultural peculiarities and satisfy local needs. Understanding their operation is crucial to designing new development organizations or strategies for institutional transformation. As illustrated in the case of the palm sago industry described in Chapter 3, the use of existing and culturally embedded arrangements can often be more effective and less costly than attempting wholesale substitution of "modern" but alien practices and procedures. Fishing village projects in Ghana and vegetable production schemes in Gambia gradually increased productivity and income, for instance, only by organizing traditional communal labor and incorporating the customary roles of women in agricultural decisionmaking. Some agricultural projects in Bolivia succeeded by adapting ". . . a variant on the traditional sharecropping method in which the patron puts up all cash costs and then splits the crop with the farmer." Social and commercial services can similarly be upgraded where alien institutions would likely fail. Capital accumulation was promoted among the Tiv tribes in Nigeria, for instance, through the use of "bams," farmers' associations based on emergency interfamily food and money borrowing. Tiv leaders found that although traditional borrowing practices would not generate sufficient savings to purchase farm equipment and fertilizers, they could only introduce more modern savings and lending functions by organizing them around traditional food lending groups, transforming them over time into more diversified farmers' associations.

4. Transformational Potential

Thus, while appropriate institutions should be congruent with cultural traditions, they must also serve as catalysts for change, transforming developmentally inadequate practices and behaviour at a locally acceptable pace. This often requires blending traditional and modern procedures to produce imaginative and flexible new systems. An innovative rural education system, for instance, might combine elements of formal, nonformal and informal methods to reach the rural poor. It might use a traditional, informal arrangement as the primary vehicle, making it an entry point for nonformal, and perhaps even formal, education. Similarly, an appropriate agricultural extension system would combine, transform and disseminate with modifications to the process based on evaluation by users, information about marketing opportunities, new seed varieties, modern techniques, information on farmers' problems and current prices. The information would be transmitted, after translating it into the language of the subsistence households by building on existing knowledge through channels already familiar to them: mass media, pamphlets, brochures, posters, formal meetings and demonstrations.

Appropriate institutions, moreover, seek not only to transform and eventually displace traditional institutions, but also to adapt their own services and techniques to changing conditions as development occurs. Where institutions are established on a temporary or ad hoc basis, as are many rural development project implementation units, special attention must be given to transferring functions, methodologies and outputs to regular administrative agencies in order to ensure beneficiaries continuing services when the project is completed. Lele notes two types of transfer problems that African rural development projects face: ". . . some components - such as roads, soil conservation, borehotes, community development, health clinics, housing and training - involve transfer of responsibility to the regional or local government administration. Others (as, for instance, input and output marketing as well as credit distribution) involves transfer of responsibility of a commercial nature." The ability of project organizations to transform themselves and the administrative capacity of government institutions by steadily transferring functions to ministries, local government units and private organizations is essential for building institutional infrastructure in marginal areas.

5. Flexibility and Adaptability to Differentiated Client Needs

A basis characteristic of appropriate institutions for rural development is their ability to respond to widely varying rural clientele needs, sometimes by modifying profit making or efficiency criteria to ensure relevancy of services and maximum coverage. Public organizations must often perform both service delivery and regulatory roles in establishing appropriate marketing arrangements, for instance, since both the marketing advantages of smallscale farmers must be improved and the excesses and abuses of entrenched elites controlled. Developmentally oriented credit institutions would not force the farmer to sell his harvest to repay loans when prices are most depressed. State purchasing and commodity market boards, similarly, would be more sensitive to the needs of small-scale farmers rather than focusing primarily on large commercial producers. They would assist smellproducers' organizations in upgrading levels of product quality, increasing product standardization and cleanliness and establishing dispersed collection points to facilitate marketing.

Experience indicates that when the needs of rural households become the primary basis for institutional decisions, large numbers of the rural poor can be included in economic activities. Rural savings can be substantially increased when financial intermediaries provide greater safety and liquidity and higher yields than would be obtained by a saver lending directly to a borrower. Studies show considerable voluntary savings in Taiwan and Korea when financial services were made available in rural areas, and when procedures and interest rate restrictions were liberalized. Commercial banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, pension funds and investment companies - all important components of an integrated rural financial programmeshould be viewed as "public service" organizations rather than strictly as banking enterprises. They might be sponsored or subsidized by government to increase rural productivity.

6. Client-Onented Delivery Systems

Similarly, to extend coverage, public and private organizations must often drastically modify their usual, "central service point" delivery systems. Rather than establishing operational and distributional units exclusively in cities and district capitals, and expecting clients or customers to travel to those central points, appropriate institutions would deliver services to the rural client. Experience with credit and financial programmes in Taiwan, Korea, and the Philippines indicates that wider distribution of financial intermediaries in rural areas, through branch operations and mobile facilities located conveniently in smaller villages on market days, significantly expanded participation. Improvements in the organization of service delivery, such as bringing credit directly to the farmer, can often do more to develop rural financial institutions than can indirect policies such as subsidizing interest rates.

For programmes which the government lacks sufficient funds to organize separate decentralized delivery systems, services must be linked to related programmes or to traditional delivery channels. Family planning services in many countries, for instance, are provided through general rural health units and provide information and birth control devices through auxiliary nurses who work with traditional midwives to improve maternity care, child immunization and nutrition. In most developing countries government services can only be effectively disseminated in rural areas by sending administrative teams to the hinterlands. Because rural people dislike going to district offices and government officials are generally unwilling to be posted in remote rural areas in Chonburi Province in Thailand, for example, visiting teams of officials accompany the province Governor to different communities twice a month to extend services to villagers. The visiting teams provide health and veterinary services and advice on agricultural production, issue marriage licenses and help settle land disputes. The team locates in a tent near the market where people come all day, and a small group of officers frequently visits a sample of households to seek suggestions, provide advice and hear complaints.

7. Openness to Local Participation

Local participation is a virtue highly prized in rural development programmes. An essential input for increasing the sensitivity of institutions to local problems and constraints, it assures that needs will be more accurately expressed and services and technologies more widely disseminated and used. Successful experiments in rural development have usually involved local leaders and rural communities in various aspects of programme design and implementation. Evaluators note that the primary factor contributing to progress in the World Bankfunded Lilongwe Project in Malawi, for instance, was its ability to involve both tribal units and their chiefs in the project's operations, encouraging the chiefs to serve as members of the land board overseeing implementation of one of the project's vital activities.20

The ability to elicit local involvement depends primarily on the attitudes and motivations of an organization's staff and on their personal efforts to provide local people with opportunities for participation. Success of the internationally-acclaimed Comilla project in Pakistan was attributed to the belief of staff members in the value of rural life, the basic wisdom of farmers concerning agricultural and cultural matters, and the ability to improve rural conditions through local solutions .

The appropriate degree of local participation, of course, varies among functions and organizations. To ensure the relevance of primary and secondary education to local needs, the People's Republic of China has almost completely delegated authority and responsibility to localities ". . . where the actual setting up and operation of institutions are undertaken mainly by collective bodies such as agricultural communes or their subdivisions in the countryside, or neighborhood associations in the cities." Local groups decide on the number and types of schools to establish, the content and duration of courses, and the special requirements in the community that should be addressed in the schools. Other functions, of a more technical nature, require different forms of participation.

A survey of projects for small farm development in Africa and Latin America found that participation could be increased by better defining the geographical boundaries and intended client populations for various services and facilities, delegating specific tasks to local leaders, and maintaining communication with and among the participants. The projects were able to expand client involvement by limiting participation initially to single purpose activities and expanding it later to more complex tasks, establishing systems of accountability to permit changes in leadership among local participants, and offering local organizations income-generating opportunities in initial stages of participation.23

8. Simplified Planning and Managerial Techniques

The planning, coordination and monitoring activities of rural organizations should be relatively simple, easily understandable, appropriate to local administrative capacities and directly related to local decision-making procedures. Too often, planning and management procedures introduced by organizations in rural areas are unnecessarily sophisticated or needlessly exacting, and thus delay or inhibit effective service delivery. Their involvement in African rural development projects led Chambers and Belshaw to the conviction that simple managerial and planning procedures do assist local administrators and decision-makers in analyzing their problems, but that the temptation of national ministries and international assistance agencies to require complex procedures and measures, elaborate coordinating and reporting systems and sophisticated research and analytical techniques often simply paralyzes activity. "Ingenuity and courage are needed," they concluded from their experience with Kenya's Special Rural Development Programme, "to devise and use simplification - through quick and dirty surveys, through collapsing data, through rules of thumb, through the use of proxy indicators accepting imperfections and inaccuracies as the price it is worth paying in order to improve outcomes." Simplicity becomes especially important for organizations dealing directly with the rural poor who are illiterate or minimally literate and who tend to distrust or ignore programmes with complex procedures or requirements.

9. Spatial Differentiation and Integration

One of the most crucial, and often overlooked, aspects of appropriate service and technology delivery is the spatial dimension. To the degree that functions are site-specific or require minimum threshold populations to support them, institutions must be spatially differentiated, specialized and integrated to provide a "hierarchy" of services. Communities with different population sizes and characteristics, income distributions, physical access and economic diversification, provide different types and ranges of services to their own residents and to those in surrounding areas. Nearly all services require a minimum number of people concentrated in an accessible geographical area, a "threshold population" of sufficient size and density to attract enough clients or customers to earn profits or allow economical distribution. The World Bank points out that per capita costs of supplying water and sanitation services, for instance, increases substantially with decreases in the population size of communities: ". . . sector characteristics change markedly as one progresses from large urban centers, through medium sized cities, small towns and villages to the dispersed population. The administrative structure becomes more diffuse, income levels decline, and per capita costs for equivalent levels of service tend to increase." All other things equal, the "hierarchy" of services that exists in a rural region is closely correlated to the spatial hierarchy of settlements.

An appropriate institutional structure for rural development, therefore,would provide a range of components appropriate to the needs and support capacities of different levels in the settlement system. Public health services, for instance, can usually be efficiently provided to widely scattered villages and hamlets only in the form of small clinics that offer basic preventive treatment, first aid, maternity care, and perhaps family planning information, and are staffed by a nurse or paramedic. Small hospitals with basic treatment and diagnostic facilities, and with either a visiting or parttime physician, a nurse or paramedic require a larger service area and are usually found only in large market towns or small cities. A general hospital with a small staff of doctors and more extensive diagnostic and treatment equipment is appropriate to intermediate cities and regional centres, while diversified, specialized medical centres with a full time staff and sophisticated diagnostic, treatment and surgical equipment, can usually only be supported by metropolitan areas.

The services of appropriate institutions, therefore, must be suitably matched to the spatial and demographic characteristics of the area they serve. At the same time, urban centres and rural areas should be closely linked to distribute social and commercial services more widely and to increase access of rural people to facilities and technologies that can only be supported in larger urban communities.

In brief, as these nine characteristics of appropriate institutions are analyzed, three major points emerge: first, ultimately all of the services and technologies for rural development must be related, forming a mutually reinforcing set of elements for building the productive capacity of a region; second, inherent within these services and technologies is a hierarchy of functions ranging from traditional to modern, simple to complex each essential for development in rural areas at different stages of progress; and third, corresponding to the hierarchy of functions is a hierarchy of spatial locations, to and from which services and technologies must be delivered in order to promote social transformation and create an integrated national economy.

If the emerging development policies are to succeed in achieving more balanced economic growth with social equity and improve agricultural productivity and rural life, explicit attention must be given to the creation of appropriate development institutions. Unlike modernization strategies that attempt wholesale substitution of new organizations for traditional ones, however, equity policy demands low-cost approaches that gradually transform existing structures. "Transformational" development seeks to increase incrementally the productivity of indigenous organizations and practices, reinforcing and building those appropriate to local needs, gradually displacing those that are not.

As nations and regions develop, the least productive institutions and practices must eventually be displaced to sustain growth, their roles and functions assumed by more appropriate successors. Displacement of inappropriate institutions is a precondition and concomitant of development. The fundamental role of development planning and administration should be to facilitate and promote transformation, while attempting to anticipate and mitigate its adversities for individuals and traditional groups.

3. Education and training of resource transformation professionals

Both increasing awareness of the relationships between socio-economic and natural resource development and strengthening the administrative and institutional capacity to formulate and carry out development policy depend on educating and training more professionals who can understand resource systems and who can undertake the basic and applied research that is needed to formulate more appropriate and effective policies. As officials of one international assistance agency point out, "the success of programmes for the management of environmental resources is dependent upon the quality of available manpower.... Relatively few countries currently enjoy access to adequate numbers of able and well trained personnel in these areas, let alone people qualified for leadership roles in resource management programmes." Skilled technicians and administrators are needed to analyze, plan and implement progammes and projects for resource transformation, especially in marginal regions. Environmental scientists, engineers, planners, lawyers and other professionals involved in development must be given a broad education that includes basic and advanced courses in biophysical sciences.

The United Nations University and other international organizations have sponsored a series of meetings that have attempted to design appropriate curricula for educating and training Third World professionals in the substance and methodology of resource systems analysis.

For practical purposes "curriculum" is defined as a set of intended outcomes that an educational system (formal or informal) is designed to produce, and consists of a teaching strategy and a set of instructional materials and experiences.29 This definition, which focuses on the ends and aims of an educational undertaking (the skills identified as essential rather than the instructional activities or means of achieving ends) emphasizes the early, judicious and defensible selection and identification of goals that clearly define the skills with which decision makers and planners should be equipped to make and implement decisions related to resource systems. A modified Delphi technique has been used to identify five units or clusters of skills and competencies seen as essential for local-level planners to acquire through a specific curriculum.30

First, the basic core concept for the entire curriculum should focus on developing skills for the inter-disciplinary analysis of development problems through a systematic approach. More specifically, this unit should develop competencies and skills for understanding the sociopolitical-economic characteristics of resource systems. Emphasis is placed on promoting an understanding of demographic and statistical data related, inter alia, to occupation, household economics, labour inputs, migration and the physical and biological characteristics of resource systems. Variables external to the local resource system such as political and economic linkages with other regions are also important. Another priority is the introduction of materials to develop competencies and skills to conduct needs assessment related to appropriate technologies and institutions for given resource systems. This aspect focuses on the determination of the viability and potentiality of material resources and assessment of technology impact to determine an appropriate mix of technologies, techniques and institutions for inducing and sustaining planned change.

A second unit must be concerned with the analysis of indigenous needs, specifically in the areas of information, feedback and monitoring. Learners would acquire fieldwork methodology and understanding based on the techniques of interpersonal communication. Closely related to this skill is an analysis of the potential use of formal and informal education as a device to acquire and disseminate information regarding the development and transformation of techniques and technologies suitable for solving local resource problems. This unit should also introduce analytical techniques that accurately assess the cultural and perceptual complex of issues in specific local environments.

A third unit should concentrate on the issue of popular participation and motivation as it relates to the tension between centralized and decentralized decision-making and planning. Materials used in this unit should focus on the problem of determining the appropriate mix between central and local-level participation. Learners would be expected to develop skills in assessing the degree of transformation needed to change both central and local institutions, as well as skills in analyzing appropriate training techniques for local leaders to equip them for the new roles and leadership positions required by transformational development.

A fourth unit must emphasize the impacts of mass media on development activities and the assessment of alternative methods of transforming local communications channels and networks.

Finally, sequencing and planning is the fifth essential study unit, in which learners develop analytical skills in correctly linking positive motivation factors of local populations with the aims of planners attempting to introduce development projects and programmes. The objective of this unit is to develop the analytical skills needed to synchronize development efforts with local social and chronological patterns during periods when they are "open" to change.

Clearly this core curriculum is an ideal type in which information essential for decision-makers and planners would be presented. Depending on country-specific needs each unit and even the entire curriculum must be either further refined or adapted. In each of the units a number of basic educational skills must also be conveyed (e.g., basic demography or introductory ecology), but there is also a need in all areas for the tools and skills capable of integrating different types of data and organising them so that appropriate loci for development action can be identified and the probable impact of alternative development strategies assessed.

4. Expanding research and the data base for planning and policy-making

Establishing curricula that increase the awareness of the relationships between natural resource and human development and that expand administrative and institutional capacity, requires more applied research into the dynamics of resource systems and into the problems of marginal regions. Few developing countries have the data base to do transformational development using the type of resource systems framework outlined in Chapter 3. Appropriate data are essential to improving planning and policy analysis in developing nations.31

Ideally, improvements in basic and applied research and in data collection should be closely related to the expansion of educational and training capacities in developing countries. The developmental learning programmes outlined earlier should also generate more refined case studies, beginning with resource systems in marginal areas. This should be followed by pilot programmes for local development, based on the case studies. The studies can contribute both to the refinement of the methodology and also serve as useful examples in the otherwise abstract, "meta-level" curriculum. In this respect these programme elements are similar to the business school application of the case study method.

Using the simplified resource systems model described in Chapter 3, a series of case studies of resource systems in marginal areas was commissioned by the United Nations University. Their purpose was to test and further refine the techniques of resource system identification, description, modelling and developmental problem-solving.32 Resource systems in marginal areas were chosen, as a first stage, for several reasons: (a) concern with their development is both timely and problematical; (b) traditional local resource systems in these areas are amenable to small-scale study; and (c) they are archetypically challenging to a transformational approach (their systems seemingly "undevelopable" according to earlier conventional development paradigms). As these case studies progress and additional studies of marginal areas are undertaken, it is anticipated that the methodologies developed will contribute to similar experimental attempts at modelling resource systems in rural areas that are clearly not marginal, as well as in urban centres.

In order to develop a curriculum and apply the resource systems approach to the transformational development of marginal areas, a series of empirically focused case studies are being produced according to defined guidelines that, when completed, will be examined comparatively. The lessons derived from the cases can then be used to produce a metamethodology (a methodology for creating more specific methodologies) for the development of marginal areas. Applied to development training curricula, this metamethodology would then serve to assist planners. administrators and managers to evolve appropriate ways of dealing with the development of marginal areas in specific national settings.

Three subjects on which relevant information is lacking at present, and on which the case studies must focus if they are to assist in discerning principles useful in marginal area development, are problems of marginal area resource systems, the implications for equity and basic needs, and problems of international linkages. What each examines will depend on such constraints as availability of data and time limitations. Where possible, however, it is anticipated that case studies will build from the specific to the general providing generalizations on a sound empirical basis. This is a suitable method for case studies which are to be used comparatively.


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