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close this bookResource Management for Upland Areas in Southeast Asia - An Information Kit (IIRR, 1995, 207 p.)
close this folder1. Overview of upland issues and approaches
View the documentUpland development issues and approaches
View the documentPeople's participation
View the documentLevels of decision-making

People's participation

People are central to the use and management of resources. People use resources for livelihood. People need these resources for their wants. People use these resources for their luxury.

People's participation is a prerequisite to community-based natural resource management. It is central to a people-centered, sustainable development approach and is a continuous, interactive process.

Participation means that people become the stakeholders and decision-makers. Participation must not be induced or co-opted. People must be the subjects, not the objects of development initiatives. Participation is the essence of responsible stewardship of natural resources.

Participation is not easy.

People's participation requires organization, Interaction, consensusbuilding, decision-making and conflict resolution.


People’s participation

Community-based natural resources management The community-based natural resources management approach is an ongoing, collective initiative by the community to manage its natural resources. It includes eight components.

1 Educate and build awareness.

· Natural resources are the base for food production.
· Natural resources are part of the global life-support system.
· These resources must be used sustainably. (See Indicators of sustainability.)
· It is our civic duty to use, conserve and protect natural resources.

2 Promote sustainable farming and resource use.

· Research and develop sustainable farming and resource use.

· Ensure participation of farm communities.

· Create partnerships among farmers, extensionists and researchers. (See Research-extension-farmer linkages.)

· Respect and build on indigenous knowledge. (See Building on indigenous knowledge. )

3 Conserve and protect sensitive ecosystems.

The community and local government should work together to identify ways to conserve and protect sensitive ecosystems.

Criteria for selecting ecosystems:

Importance of the ecosystem to local livelihood.
Biological diversity and uniqueness.
Contribution to the life-support chain and local culture.

4 Enhance regenerative capacity of natural resources.

Identify ways to stop destruction and pollution of natural resources.

Promote the regenerative.capacity of resources (e.g., tree planting, composting) to prevent erosion. (See Integrated land-use planning in upland areas.)

5 Promote gender equity and participation.

Integrated development programs must ensure women's participation and empowerment. (See Gender analysis.)

6 Ensure indigenous and minority interests.

Indigenous people and other minorities have been robbed of their natural resource base. Their survival is threatened.

Ensure the continued use of resources for the survival of minorities and their cultural practices.

7 Address transboundary issues.

One community can be affected by activities in another community or by pollution from outside. For example, several communities may share a river or beach.

Develop mechanisms to deal with transboundary concerns.
Find ways to internalize production costs.

8 Networking and linkage support.

Provide training to respond to community needs.
Link the community with support agencies, universities and NGOs.
Collaborate with other organizations. (See Resource institutions.)

Implementing community-based natural resources management

1 Selection of site and collaborators

Identify communities.
Identify collaborating NGOs or community organizations.

2 Capacity-building

Train collaborators to mobilize people's participation.
Train in sustainable approaches to natural resource management.

3 Community visioning

Undertake a community visioning with the local leaders, government agencies and officials, women and youth.

4 Understanding the situation

Assess the local situation. (See Participatory appraisal methods. )
Study government plans and interventions.

5 Participatory planning

Assist key community leaders to plan activities.
Validate the plans with as many groups as possible (e.g., women, youth, indigenous people).

6 Implementation

Collaborating group (NGO or people's organization) undertakes implementation.
Involve as many local organized groups as possible.
Ensure that ownership of the project is transferred to the community.

7 Participatory monitoring and evaluation

Regularly monitor activities.
Discuss activities with the participants to evaluate successes and weaknesses.