On World Soil Day, 5 December 2018, SI President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen spoke at the event ‘Nature-Based Solutions for land, soil and water management; a new paradigm for sustainable agricultural development’ organised by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and The Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture (WASAG), at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) in Katowice, Southern Poland.
Nature-based solutions (NBS) have been around for thousands of years and support a circular economy, restorative and regenerative by design, promoting greater resource productivity aimed at reducing waste and avoiding pollution, including through reuse and recycling. Women support this. Women’s traditional and indigenous knowledge tends to favour existing nature-based solutions and practices and with the right education and vocational training, women can easily learn new approaches that will combine both the old and new methods.
During her speech, Mariet spoke of Women For Water Partnership and Soroptimist International projects including those in Bulgaria – the WeWash programme, which focuses on training women in the construction of eco toilets and the reuse of waste on vegetable plots, and in Tanzania, which uses gravity for water management systems – an NB solution, and the opportunities of combining this with modern technologies – hybrid solutions!
Mariet spoke of the tendency for governments, institutes, educators and technicians to lean towards the use of modern technologies, explaining that we are educated to think this way – that new technology is better, noting that even the UN Water Report on NBS shows that it is not easy to determine the cost price of NBS, and furthermore, some of the NB Solutions are not recognised as solutions.
She went on to say that vocational training and education do not focus on NBS, on the contrary, modern technology training is heavily promoted, as many technicians have little idea how to implement NBS. She said that women’s involvement would support NBS, as women have knowledge and experience shared from generation to generation, and this is the norm for many rural and local women who have had little exposure to modern technologies and schooling.
Suggesting the start of projects driven by Nature-Based Solutions and if needed, the use of grey technology to make them work more effectively, then a combination of the two methods, a hybrid solution, could work, also recommending the organisation of trans-disciplinary platforms, the establishment of funding schemes and monitoring and evaluation systems, and prioritising investment in women.
Further information on COP24 HERE
Further information on World Soil Day 2018 HERE