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Integrated and Sustainable Development Planning
Integrated and Sustainable Development Plans (ISDP) are the shared vision of the various stakeholders involved in that specific area. Since a territory is never homogenous in terms of landscape, soils, land use, people, etc., this planning process must include different levels of scale. The highest level of scale, in terms of agro-ecological or landscape, is an entire water basin. When political issues are further incorporated, that water basin will become part of a regional (e.g. CEDEAO) or continental scale (African Union). All these plans should now be geared towards the restoration of the Earth. The lowest level considered is the household (see also the PIP approach below). Consequently, each level has its stakeholders and policies of a higher level of scale should be accounted for at a lower scale.
Stakeholders create a shared vision (e.g. during a Theory of Change workshop) for a given territory, and they formulate the broad outlines of the ISDP in an iterative process. They must also consider and analyse the consequences of the planned interventions, and if necessary, define mitigation actions. One way of doing that is to perform a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA; that includes undoubtedly socio-economic aspects as well) at the same time of the planning.
Current projects in that territory should thus by definition contribute to the execution of the formulated ISDP. From a governance point of view, the officially endorsed ISDP provides thus also a mechanism to accept (or not) a development project for a specific area. In other words, individual projects can be the pieces of the ISDP-puzzle.
Niek van Duivenbooden, founding director of Trimpact, worked in integrated land use planning since 1984 and obtained his PhD on multi-scale land use planning in 1995 based on various projects in North and West Africa. Below, we highlight two examples.
Planning at the Province level
The need for equitable sharing of natural resources, responding to the numerous challenges, and valorising in a sustainable way the enormous potential of the area were in the Sourou valley in the Mopti Region in Mali the reasons for the creation of the Inter Community of the Sourou (ICS). The ICS comprises 26 communes and three prefectures. It covers 15.685 km² and has a population of over 837.000 persons. The ICS decided to prepare a people-owned Integrated and Sustainable Development Plan (PDIDS) for the Sourou dovetailed with its Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
Trimpact was since July 2018 a member of the team that elaborated the PDIDS and performed the SEA. In May 2019, the interministerial SEA commission approved that SEA, and ICS adopted the PDIDS. In June, the Minister for Environment issued the Environmental Permit that sanctioned both SEA and PDIDS on behalf of the national government. More details are available on the website of the ICS, and the French and English download pages.
Trimpact also carried out the Synergy & Alignment analysis: read further here.
Planning at the Household level
In most African countries, increasing agricultural, animal and fishery production is the primary development pathway towards a better life. Crucial for achieving sustainable change is that interventions need to take a more integrated visionary approach starting from where the farmers (households) are, and actors make a doable action plan to realise that vision. In that process, one should inspire them and invest in changing farmers’ mindsets and trigger their intrinsic motivation to invest in sustainable agriculture that can generate a decent income and contributes to the restoration of the Earth in their direct surroundings.
In the period 2013-2015, Niek co-developed a methodology on how smallholder farmers in Burundi could improve their lives. The core is that they create a vision of their Integrated Farm Plan, that is developed and drawn on a map by all family members. Secondly, the family members elaborate on a concrete action plan on how to realise that vision.
The video provides an impression of what has become the PIP approach (see also the documents at the downloads pages). The PIP approach is an innovative way of transforming small-scale subsistence farm households into more productive and sustainable farms. Changing farmers’ mindsets by motivating them to transform their reality by conscious collective action is at the core of the PIP approach. As such, the PIP builds a foundation for entrepreneurial and sustainable farming. It is also a bottom-up development approach with farmers (households) becoming in this way responsible for the development of their village and surroundings. People are still rolling this out in other provinces in Burundi, and others also started in DRC and Uganda.
“Teaching someone how to fish is only worthwhile if he truly wants to become a fisherman. The PIP approach motivates and inspires farmers to invest in their land. It gives them vision and a plan for the future, and consequently, the mentally fertile grounds open up for sustainable land use.”

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