A negotiation process

Published: 17 August 2015
Last edited: 17 June 2021

The negotiation process consists of three key aspects:

  • Organizing for partnership: this starts with consultation with all stakeholders about the co-management concept. When they understand and see the need to create the co-management partnership among actors, they should be organised to be ready for the negotiation of the agreement. The organisation aspect is essential to turn passive individuals in the community into an organised group with a common vision and to ensure high level of participation.
  • Negotiating the co-management agreement and shared governance institution: This is the practice of power sharing among actors. Through negotiation, different actors express their concerns and contribute their ideas on how natural resources should be managed and conserved. Governance issues such as who can make decisions and what responsibilities and accountabilities are for each actors are also negotiated.
  • Learning by doing: the negotiation process is not a linear process but spiral loops of implementing the agreement, sustaining the functioning of the shared governance institution, continuing the monitoring and reviewing of their results and impacts through time and providing inputs for renewal of the agreement.


Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

  • Full political support from all levels, and agreement and support from all stakeholders for shared governance and adaptive management.
  • The traditional customs and local culture should allow different groups in the communities to organize themselves, and discuss and voice their ideas. In some cultures, women are allowed to discuss public topics.

Lessons learned

  • In countries where centralized management has been practiced for years, communities often consist of passive individuals living next to each other. Putting them into the position for joint decision-making with authorities without realizing this fact is a mistake to be avoid. These communities need support to get organised, to learn and strengthen their sense of identity and relation with the area. Delegating the tasks of leading the passive community to local leaders (after trainings for these leaders) is a common practice but will create problems later.
  • External support should only focus on facilitating the negotiation process. The common issues identified and discussed in the negotiation process should be the results of actors' self-analysis.
  • The negotiation among key actors should continue even after the agreement has been signed. Sharing power should not stop with the first co-management agreement. Actors need to continue to re-negotiate and enhance the agreement.

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