Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Tuesday 30 October 2007

Get down off our mountain tops

How do you engage in partnerships, can you give an example? It is one of the questions after my presentation at the Trondheim/UN Conference on Ecosystems and People – Biodiversity for Development – The road to 2010 and beyond. The main message of my presentation was: biodiversity objectives can only be realized through others. The biodiversity community cannot do it alone. It therefore has to come down off its mountain tops and starts entering into partnerships with other sectors on an equal basis. Knowledge generation should not exclusively focus on biodiversity science, but equally on how to make the results of our studies relevant for policy, management and on the ground impact.

My answer to the question refers to an experience as a consultant with Natura 2000. A Ministry of Environment had no infrastructure to communicate the new policy to local stakeholders of the more than 100 sites in the country. Establishing relationships at various levels with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry made it possible to use their extension services. The advantage was that these extensionists already knew the land owners and users. Of course it took time, negotiations, trade offs (e.g. help to establish criteria for sustainable agriculture subsidies) and training. But it worked very well. In Section 3 of the CEPA toolkit more examples are given how to mainstream biodiversity. For the article I wrote for the conference, click here.

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