Project title Capacity building for meaningful multi-stakeholder participation in decision making for integrated ecosystem management
Implementing Institutions 1) Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Hayama, Japan:
Dr. Federico Lopez-Casero, Senior Researcher, IGES
Dr. Binaya Raj Shivakoti, Researcher, IGES
Mr. Yasuo Takahashi, Researcher, IGES

2) Griffith University, Queensland, Australia:
Dr Timothy Cadman, Research Fellow, Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law

3) University of Southern Queensland, Queensland, Australia:
Dr Tek Maraseni, Vice-Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow

Country(ies) Nepal
Abstract Meaningful stakeholder participation is essential for securing effective outcomes of decision-making and benefit-sharing around ecosystem management and use. This project builds on a previously developed and successfully implemented methodology for stakeholder engagement in developing governance standards for ecosystem management. This approach has demonstrated the importance of involving multi-stakeholders in planning for capacity building before projects of national significance are implemented. This project will thus contribute to the successful deployment of Nepal's National Assessments.
Project Description Based within the local community context of the Gandaki River Basin covering parts of central and western Nepal, the proposed project plans for and trials the participation of multi-stakeholders in capacity-building for integrated ecosystem management (IEM) and biodiversity conservation in forest ecosystems. Ecosystems decline through anthropogenic actions, largely due to the lack of coordinated approaches, has reduced the availability of goods and services, diminished coping capacity and increased vulnerability. Nepal’s earthquake in April 2015 revealed the potential of a natural disaster with serious implications for soil erosion, slope stabilization, landslides, and loss of biodiversity. Well-managed forest ecosystems regenerate faster from disasters and thus enhance socio-ecological resilience whereas their degradation increases poverty and inequality.

This project directly addresses these challenges by means of a previously developed and trialed methodology for improved collaboration between different stakeholders active at different administrative levels and different ecosystem and resource management contexts. Building upon 4-year action research on the identification and delivery of needs in forest ecosystem management through the development of a governance standard, this project will engage multi-stakeholders in planning and trialing capacity-building for a community based IEM approach. It will also create enabling conditions for the effective use of IPBES deliverables in the implementation of Nepal’s NBSAP and other biodiversity related national obligations.

 

Project Objectives and expected Achievables The proposed project aims to engage multi-stakeholders of ecosystem management in a process to plan and trial capacity building around integrated management of forest ecosystems to enhance their services and contribute to biodiversity conservation. In collaboration with multi-stakeholders the project will identify the capacity building needs for the effective deployment of the National Assessments of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the implementation of the NBSAP as well as the evolving Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (LBSAPs) once they are completed.

The specific objective is the development and trialing of a capacity building toolkit to promote quality of governance within the underlying socio-ecological system. The methodology will build on the governance standard development in previous action research. This methodology has involved an identification of all relevant stakeholders in forest ecosystem management and their engagement in providing information in the form of context-specific ‘means of verification’ under a generic framework of principles, criteria and indicators (PC&I) of governance quality in a continuous consultation process. This information has provided the basis to develop the standard which has been endorsed by all stakeholders. The ownership of the standard has been transferred to the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation based on a Memorandum of Understanding with IGES.

Timeline:

Year 1: Mapping of capacity development needs and development of the toolkit with the involvement of relevant stakeholders

Year 2: Application of the toolkit and verification of its applicability (trialing)

Expected achievable:

Capacity building toolkit: A clear and concise toolkit for stakeholder engagement in planning around capacity building, that can be used by government, development organisations and civil society as a “how-to” manual (in local dialect/ pictorial representation) will be developed. The use of this manual can guide the effective implementation of the National and Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans, Aichi Biodiversity Targets, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as programmes and projects for climate mitigation (REDD+) and ecosystem-based climate change adaption and disaster risk reduction (Eco-CCA/DRR) at the grass-root level.

Benefit sharing mechanism for PES and REDD+: This toolkit can be used to develop a locally implementable benefit sharing mechanism of payments for ecosystem services, such as under REDD+. For this purpose, CFUGs, other community based organisations and further relevant stakeholders will be engaged in processes to effectively build capacity for designing and implementing the benefit sharing mechanism.

The process of stakeholder engagement fosters communication between different interests and assists in creating a shared understanding of ecosystem values and services, and how these should be incorporated in collective decision-making and benefit-sharing. This method has increased communications with previously discrete groups of stakeholders, especially indigenous and local peoples, women, and marginalized groups. This method has also strengthened the understanding of all stakeholders regarding the values contained in these diverse, including indigenous, knowledge systems on ecosystem services and use.

Coordination mechanism: Coordination is essential for integrated, multi-functional decision-making of community based organisations and for intra-community conflict resolution. Nepal’s natural resources, especially forests are largely managed at the local level by over 18,000 community forest user groups (CFUGs), under the guidance by government authorities. The primary objective of all CFUGs is to manage and maintain existing forest stocks and to use timber and non-timber forest products (NTFPs), but their scope is less integrated with other ecosystem services such as the provision and regulation of water sources, and the conservation of biodiversity. With increasing socio-economic pressures and climate change, forests in Nepal face a new range of challenges such as increasing encroachment and illegal extraction of timber and NTFPs by distant users; drought and forest fire; invasive species; and wildlife poaching. Promoting multi-stakeholder engagement, including community based organisations dealing with forests, water supply, food production, and hydro-power, disaster management etc., can effectively integrate ecosystem management creating an enabling environment for efficient management of natural resources, including biodiversity and improving the resilience of socio-ecological systems. Better coordination is also required with other key stakeholders such as local government and subnational and national administrative units. Engagement of multi-stakeholders in capacity building with the use of the standard can improve coordination and create stronger local institutions. This is vital for establishing a logical link between ecosystem based decision-making and existing administrative structures and processes.

These achievables will be measured:

1) Based on the numbers of stakeholders using and adopting the toolkit, and developing the benefit-sharing mechanism

2) Using participatory assessment on the basis of means of verification developed in consultation with key stakeholders.

 

Timeframe 2 years
Geographic Scale Sub-national
Seeking Resources for: Project development, Project implementation
Type of Resources/Support needed: Financial
Project relevance: 
Projects and activities of interest to IPBES and partners