Pluralistic governance board

Published: 17 August 2015
Last edited: 17 June 2021

A pluralistic governance board is typically composed of representatives from local authorities, government departments and agencies, local communities and sometimes business organisations and is established during a negotiation process. The board is responsible for making joint decisions about issues raised regarding natural resource conservation. Its role is steering the implementation of the co-management agreement and review of the co-management results and impacts based on monitoring. The pluralistic governance board is an essential element to turn the idea of "sharing power" from theory into practice. This distinguishes it from centralized or private management where only one partner assumes the responsibility for making decisions.


Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Review phase

Enabling factors

  • The authorities should be committed to co-management partnerships.
  • Communities should have the capacity for making joint decisions. It could be done through practices of participatory action researches with different community groups.
  • The political system of the country should allow shared governance or allow grassroot discussions of issues related to natural resource management.

Lessons learned

In order for the pluralistic governance board to effectively make joint decisions, it is important for all stakeholders involved to understand the need for a co-management partnership. For example, authorities should treat communities as equal and strategic partners and vice versa. Co-management will normally yield best results if the involvement of all in the partnership is voluntarily. However, in some situations where power also means money, political supports from higher levels or national policies promoting the practice of sharing power among different stakeholders can be helpful. Members of the board also need to understand and get used to the learning by doing practice. As a whole, they should aim for achieving better results but also learn to accept failures and how to constructively criticize mistakes.

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