The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.
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Mapping for change: the power of participation


Participatory 3D modelling Gabon

© CTA - Participatory 3D modelling

Working with local partners, CTA promoted a powerful, pioneering practice known as Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM) to ACP regions, which has led to better natural resource management, helped local communities become more resilient to climate change and brought about significant changes in the relationship between governments and local communities.

P3DM empowers communities to produce a 3D map of areas where they live as means of recording spatial knowledge. This innovative approach enables language, education and cultural barriers to be bridged in order to influence and control decisions on resource-use. Through CTA-supported capacity building within national and regional organisations, P3DM-supported exercises spread across ACP regions during 2005 to 2016. In Africa, for example, a P3DM exercise in Kenya in 2006 involving 120 men and women from 21 Ogiek clans resulted in a 3D map of the Eastern Mau Forest Complex, which was persuasive enough to convince the Kenyan Government of the Ogiek’s right to the land, and the need to protect the area from land grabbing and resource exploitation.

Replicating Fiji’s success

“Our work together with CTA touched the lives of people in more than a dozen countries and created advocacy opportunities for indigenous leaders to contribute their knowledge to national climate change debates.” Nigel Crawhall, Director, Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee

In Fiji, the first CTA-supported P3DM, held in Ovalau Island in 2005, proved to be a powerful catalyst in developing more sustainable fisheries practices due to increased awareness of the island’s natural resources, their spatial distribution and rights of access. The 3D representation of the island and surrounding waters facilitated collaborative planning, collegial decision-making and more effective resource management. In 2007, the work in Fiji was recognised through the prestigious World Summit Information Society Award in the e-culture category. Replicated in several small island developing states in the Pacific, a centre of excellence in P3DM practice emerged in Papua New Guinea. In the Caribbean, P3DM spread throughout the region after it was first introduced in 2015 to map the island of Tobago for guiding community-driven disaster risk reduction strategies. In Africa, P3DM initiatives were supported by CTA in Chad, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Seychelles and Uganda.

A rich P3DM portfolio of outputs, including reports, papers and maps, have been used at international forums to document the value of local/indigenous knowledge in sustainable natural resource management, conflict management and climate change adaptation, and in bridging the gap between scientific and traditional knowledge systems. Supported by a handbook published in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Amharic, and a collection of case studies published in 12 languages – translated by a vibrant online community – modelling exercises have since been taken up by a range of other organisations such as the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). With support from GEF-SGP, a P3DM training kit was also distributed to UNDP offices worldwide. The dynamic global distribution of P3DM can be viewed on

For more impact stories see: The Power of Maps: Bringing the Third Dimension to the Negotiation Table


Unlocking the potential of people and partnerships

As a small institution with an extensive mandate, building smart partnerships has been critical to CTA’s success in bringing about sustainable transformation in the agricultural sector.

Strengthening data capacities for agricultural transformation

Data-driven agriculture is bringing about the more economic and efficient use of natural resources, and enabling small-scale farmers to access credit, targeted inputs and advice, logistics and markets. CTA has been leading the way in supporting farmers’ organisations to gather and interpret digital farmer information to facilitate enhanced farm data management and improved market access.

Digital solutions: catalysing change

Support for web applications that allow people to create and share information online (Web 2.0) transformed the way agricultural development stakeholders networked and communicated online. This revolution enabled the spread of information and ideas – as well as shifting the balance of power for enhanced policy dialogue and advocacy.

Agritourism: a trailblazing agenda

Thanks to the ground-breaking efforts of CTA and regional partners, agritourism is now firmly on the policymaking agenda in the Caribbean and Pacific, and is taking off in Africa. Exciting initiatives include the promotion of traditional cuisine by local chefs, which boosts demand for local products and reduces the need for expensive imports.

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