Home Newsletter 2009 The Human Dimensions Process

by Pina Leone

The European Commission has encouraged the beneficiaries of LIFE+ projects to develop actions for the active and effective involvement of stakeholders in the management of the environmental recourses targeted by the projects.

Therefore, the LIFE EX-TRA project has foreseen a large part of its resources for such a set of actions, specifically the identification and analysis of stakeholders, the application of adequate participatory management strategies, negotiation and stakeholder involvement and, last but not least, the monitoring of the effectiveness of these activities.

The representatives of the project countries have agreed on an innovative type of approach, based on the implementation of a “consortium” of Human Dimension specialists, who implement the actions in the project countries by following the general guidelines developed by Prof. Angelo Turco of the Faculty of Geography of the University of L’Aquila. In Italy the three National Parks have formally agreed that the activities of Human Dimensions research and management will be carried out by the staff of the up mentioned University in all three areas by adopting one common conflict management methodology. This methodology is then also adequately adapted to the different local needs of the partner countries. It is also combined with the locally used monitoring methods concerning the attitudes and behaviours of the resident population towards issues concerning large carnivore management.
The innovative aspect of this approach lies in the fact that the “large carnivore issue” is not viewed as a problem or as a conflict creating element anymore, but as an opportunity to generate consensus through the adoption of innovative management practices. In this context the consensus is not the passive acceptance of conservation practices but shall be seen as a combination of viable and acceptable alternatives for the various interest groups within a determined project process. Different kinds of actors participate as autonomous bearers of interests, rights and strategies: local communities, stakeholders, stockholders, NGOs, technical staff and simple citizens. These techniques shall lead to an institutional strengthening of the role of the Parks and in the frame of the LIFE EX-TRA Project the Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park will be a promoter of this governance process, which shall create a bond between conservation and local development. This will be done mainly through a negotiation process and by encouraging the single actors to take over parts of the responsibility for the adopted strategies.
Up to now a research model has been developed, for the assessment of the main involved actors that will be involved in the participatory process at different levels. A “Rapid Assessment Form” will be submitted to a list of bodies and individuals that were identified commonly by the three National Parks and the University of L’Aquila. The analysis will draw a clear and realistic picture of the environmental conflicts (type of conflict, degree of intensity, territory, involved groups etc.), and will provide information on which to base the planning of negotiation meetings starting from summer 2010.