Capacity building in the water-sector: an essential vehicle for rural development
Fondation du Dialogue Sud-Nord Méditerranée: One year after the Milan congress: ensuring that no rural communities are left behind
Contributor(s)UCL - SST/ELI/ELIE - Environmental Sciences
KeywordsWater ressources management
Fondation du dialogue Sud-Nord Méditerranée
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AbstractNotwithstanding the largest part of human population increase in the coming decennia is expected to occur in urban environments, the proportion of the rural population at the global scale will remain important. Rural development is therefore considered as a key to sustaining modern societies. Rural development policies and programs aim to create or maintain appropriate socio-economical environments, allowing rural populations to develop their activities that allow maintaining welfare and wellbeing. This development should consider also the many other commodities and services that characterize the rural environments, not at least the many ecosystems functions associated with rural environments which are considered essential for sustaining life on earth. Yet in many cases, in particular in the Southern Mediterranean, rural development is constrained by limiting natural resources, such as access to fresh water resources, and lack of institutions and capacity. Capacity building in the water sector is, therefore, an essential vehicle for rural development programs. We summarize below first some recent insights on how water constrains development in rural environments, in particular in the Southern Mediterranean region. Subsequently, we illustrate how different water management and policies allow reducing the water stressors on socio-economic development in rural environments. We particularly illustrate how a paradigm shift in water management takes place, emphasizing the need to diversify water management strategies and policies, and in particular management strategies that concentrate on the water demand rather than on the water supply only. This paradigm shift and the implementation of diversified and demand oriented management strategies calls for new professional capacities, and hence new training and educational programs for the future different professionals in the water sector. We show how interuniversity training and curricula development in the water sector allows facing this challenge, and how new educational initiatives, based on distance learning, may boost the capacity building challenge in the water sector.