Collective decision through participatory process

Published: 30 March 2016
Last edited: 26 August 2016
The participatory community decision-making process is the crux of effective community-based conservation. It entails community dialogue and periodic village-level consultations with different community segments i.e. village headman (Gaonburah), elders including key decision makers, women and youths. WWF-India approached the communities in western Arunachal Pradesh to keep aside a certain proportion of their rich community forests as a conserved area without compromising on the traditional right to access and use and at the same time arrive at a consensus on how to protect and manage the area for biodiversity conservation. This effort included meetings with village headmen/ key decision makers for clarification of the CCA concept, taking other villagers into confidence through numerous meetings and community/public dialogues, biodiversity documentation through research and studies, arriving at rules and regulations and finally, physical demarcation of conserved areas for effective management.

Classifications

Category
Management planning
Scale of implementation
Local

Enabling factors

• Winning trust of the community • Recognition and willingness on the part of community and other key stakeholders that forest and biodiversity loss is a problem that needs to be addressed and solutions to these include community led restoration processes.

Lessons learned

Regular community interactions/ focused discussion are one of the key components of the community-based conservation. Trust building is important especially given that the forests are under de-facto community jurisdiction whereas the administrative position on these is at best ambiguous. Consultative processes with the community need to keep in mind that what may appear to be an outwardly homogenous community may not be really so. Widespread buy in from the entire community for the CCA is vital as the rules for access and use determined by the community necessarily impose restrictions and demand behavioral change from members. Moreover for the benefits to be evident these would need to sustain over the long term.

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