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Framework to support public decision-making of territory management in rural areas of developing countries

Jouini M., Burte J., Sinfort C.. 2020. Bruxelles : IEMSS, 1 p.. International Congress on Environmental Modeling and Software (iEMSs 2020). 10, 2020-09-14/2020-09-18, Bruxelles (Belgique).

To ensure agricultural land in rural territories is managed sustainably, environmental assessment need to be undertaken to support decision making. However, the development of sustainable agriculture and the sustainable use of natural resources is a major challenge for the Southern countries, which are subject to strong climatic and socio-political constraints, making it necessary to develop environmentally efficient agricultural systems that take into account the social and economic components of sustainability. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a standardized method (ISO 14000 series) widely recognized for its completeness. It provides full multidimensional knowledge about potential environmental impacts, linked to a functional unit that characterizes a service rendered, in a global and long-term perspective. The aim of this study was to design an innovative operational framework to couple life cycle assessment approach and a participatory approach for developing countries with two objectives: First, to make it possible to perform environmental assessment even with the diversity of small farming systems and despite data scarcity, second to involve all the stakeholders and to facilitate the discussion of the results to enable further decision making for the management of a rural territory. We tested the applicability of our framework on a case study in a semi-arid region in central Tunisia where agricultural is based on scarce and overused natural resources. This framework made it possible to gather local knowledge about the systems under to be analysed, to involve all the stakeholders right from the beginning of the process and to consider all the interests and values as well as the diversity of social representations in the territory. In this way, the stakeholders were empowered by the assessment of the environmental impacts of their agricultural practices and land management in a context of decision making. As a matter of fact, social learning favourable conditions were created.

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