The Centrality of Power

The summary of a session at the global summit that explored the issue of power within integrated landscape management.

One of the sessions at our recent global summit looked at the the issue of power within integrated landscape management. As we know, power dynamics between different groups, including genders, ethnicities, education levels, and professions, significantly impact land use. Here, I summarize the main points from this excellent session.

↔️These interactions are instrumental in shaping the landscape we see.

⭕️ 𝐀𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐲⭕️ As landscape actors, we must recognize our own agency and decide whether to address inequality or remain passive observers.

The session explored three key strategies for empowerment.

1️⃣ Identify stakeholders and understand their sources of power, using tools like a power/influence matrix and net-mapping.

⚒ A power/influence matrix is a classic method to sort out actors in a system and associate them to dimensions of both power, interest, and attitude, helping to navigate the complexities of a social system. (Read the paper, Making Sense of Stakeholder Mapping here)

🛠 A method we have been using in across the Landscapes For Our Future program is Net-Mapping. A highly participatory exercise to understand levels of influence and visualize power between actors, helping to diagnose the political landscape. (Read more about Net-Mapping here)

2️⃣ Recognize power disparities and voicelessness.

3️⃣ Enable empowerment through tailored approaches and strategies, including training, safe spaces, alliances, resource access, and rights, such as legal or cultural rights, that have been historically denied (e.g., women’s land rights).

Empowering others means giving them a voice, enhancing visibility, and fostering innovation and diversity. It’s about intentionally creating safe spaces and using spatial leadership to amplify the voices of the marginalized.

❓ A critical question persists: How do we engage powerful actors in discussions about changing the status quo, especially those who may resist such change and stand to lose power?

📓 Read the article, “Power, politics and participation: Naming the non-technical in multi-stakeholder processes” here.

📝 Read the article, “Navigating power imbalances in landscape governance: a network and influence analysis in southern Zambia” here.

Free multistakeholder collaboration course

This free course from Supporting Partnerships and Networks, is aimed at anyone who is involved in working within multistakeholder fora, where solutions are sought for complex sustainability problems.

Net-maps and vision in PNG

Stakeholder identification and development of a common vision: on a learning mission to Papua New Guinea, our Central Component Coordinator highlights two of the six critical dimensions of Integrated Landscape Management.

The Strengthening Integrated Sustainable Landscape Management (SISLaM) project in Papua New Guinea, lead by the UNDP’s Sam Moko, recently hosted our programme’s Central Component Coordinator, Kim Geheb, on a learning visit to see how the six critical dimensions of ILM could be further implemented.

As part of this process, the SISLaM team organised a workshop, inviting more than 30 stakeholders to participate. Kim introduced ‘Net-Mapping’, which was employed to identify the stakeholders’ relevance to the project, the relationships between them, and the influence they can marshal to enable the project to achieve its vision.

Net-Mapping in action at the workshop.

This process drew upon the SISLaM project’s goals to establish a defined project vision:

Because of the project, Enga Province’s sustainable and inclusive economic development was increased when the impacts of climate change were mitigated, and its people adapted; the food and nutrition security of its people was strengthened; and its biodiversity, land and forests were conserved, sustainably used and restored.

SISLaM Project vision.

Because of the large number of stakeholders at the workshop, participants were divided into two groups. They started by identifying who they thought was the most influential stakeholder at present and awarded that stakeholder 10 points. Other stakeholders were then identified and scored relative to the first stakeholder group. When they had completed this exercise, they then assessed scores for stakeholders in the future, thinking about whether they believed scores should increase or decrease in order for the project to achieve its vision. The result from one of the teams is shown below.

Kim explained that “there are many institutions with relatively high contemporary scores. In other words, SISLaM sees multiple actors as currently very important to fulfilling the project’s vision at present. This speaks to the importance of creating a platform where these actors can be convened, where dialogue can happen, and integration occur. There are some actors that have lower contemporary scores than future desired scores. This suggests that the project needs these agencies to increase their influence if its vision is to be achieved. It also suggests that the project needs to work out strategies for how the influence of these agencies can be increased.”

The Net-Map also displayed ‘risk communities’ which are those communities, such as landowners, who have been in conflict with each other. Enga Province is among several Papua New Guinean provinces which have suffered from communal violence since the national elections in 2022. While the project regarded their present influence to be medium (receiving a score of five), it would prefer this influence to be reduced to zero.

“It seems that traditional institutions remain very powerful – and therefore it makes sense to explore how the project can capitalise on these,” was Kim’s observation.


SISLaM also took Kim to visit three recipients of the project’s low-value grants. The first of these was a reforestation initiative being implemented by the Yakam Resort Cooperative Society. Emmanual Kilanda, the chairman of the cooperative, showed the team the work that is being done to reforest unstable slopes. As these slopes are extremely steep, planting trees on them has been a significant challenge, yet the cooperative has managed to plant 12,572 pine and kamare trees over 45 hectares since receiving the grant.

The SISLaM project includes components to help Engan farmers improve their value chain access and develop sustainable revenue streams. To illustrate this, the team visited the Wabag Coffee Growers Cooperative, where the initiative works to provide farmers with coffee seedlings. Kandes Nyia, the chairman of the cooperative, took the group to see the cooperative’s coffee nurseries and two farms. The grant has resulted in significant production increases, but the farmers struggle with an overabundance of coffee for their relatively localised markets. This situation highlights the need for Engan communities to extend and strengthen their value chains as they have a high-quality product and are located close to transport links.


Kandes Nyia, the chairman of the Wabag Coffee Growers’ Cooperative, explains his work from inside a coffee store.

Finally, the team journeyed to Laiagam District, where they were given an exuberant welcome by the Kinapulam Farmers’ Cooperative Society, which is working on producing sweet and English potato seed for local farmers. They visited several farms to understand the work of the cooperative and the results being achieved with the help of the grant. As in Wabag district, the low-value grant has resulted in significant production increases, however, ensuring the produce gets to market remains a challenge for these communities.


At the end of the visit, Kim reflected he was “particularly impressed by the implementation team.”

“Sam Moko provides very impressive leadership in a very challenging operating context, and I can see the strength of the team from its dynamic. The team is well selected and has a deep knowledge of Enga Province and its people. From what I have seen of the low-value grants, these have created real opportunities to communities. Of course, attention will need to be given to how recipient communities can market their outputs – and SISLaM can play a key role in convening this discussion so that communities can identify their own solutions and ensure this project’s long-term sustainability”.


The welcome from the Kinapulam community. Here, the leader of Ward 2 delivers his welcome speech.

This post is based on an article that was first published in UNDP’s July 2023 newsletter.

Newsletter #5 | August 2023

Read the fifth edition of our newsletter

Welcome to our Latin American and Caribbean special edition newsletter, where we delve into the transformative power of Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) as showcased in our programme’s 7 projects across 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Clockwise from top right: Les Pitons and town of Soufriere in Saint Lucia, OECS. Aerial view of Bahía Negra town, on the banks of the Paraguay River. Organic panela production and donkeys in Ecuador. Cattle rancher in San Ignacio de Velasco in Bolivia. Cattle ranch  in Honduras. Signage in Ecuador. Photos by Peter Cronkleton and Natalia Cisneros/CIFOR-ICRAF. 

View or download more photos and videos from our image archive here.


REFLECTIONS FROM THE FIELD

ILM in LAC

The Central Component’s Natalia Cisneros meets with Mi Biósfera team members during our learning visit to Honduras. Photo by Peter Cronkleton/CIFOR-ICRAF 

We, the Central Component, see six critical elements in the ILM process. To see them in action, you need look no further than our programme’s remarkable Latin American and Caribbean projects, which have embraced integrated landscape approaches to revolutionize land use practices, conserve biodiversity and foster sustainable development.


KNOWLEDGE

Can ILM contribute to sustainable cattle ranching?  And vice versa?

Chiquitanía landscape of Bolivia. Image by GIZ/Paisajes Resilientes 

In recent years, strategies to promote sustainable alternatives to conventional ranching have emerged, aiming to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, reduce deforestation, conserve vulnerable ecosystems, and mitigate impacts from cattle production. Achieving these objectives often involves endorsing enhanced practices, implementing robust monitoring systems, and fostering collaboration among various stakeholders. ILM could enable pathways to achieving impact at scale.


Landscape Learning Session #2: Criteria, Indicators & Tools of ILM

Watch the webinar

Despite its application over the past few decades in various contexts to harmonize conflicting land management goals such as development and conservation, there remains no systematic framework to guide the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of ILM projects. 

We set out to fix that, conducting a global review to propose such a framework. This learning event presented the results of this review and delved into two examples of monitoring tools applied in ILM projects. 


RESOURCES

MSF fatigue? How to design for context, inclusion and effectiveness

A tale of two Brazilian states leads us to really useful tips to design meaningful, inclusive platforms for transformation. In the 1990s and early 2000s – in response to calls for participatory land-use planning and concerns about deforestation – Brazil’s state governments began to carry out Ecological-Economic Zoning processes to  collectively lay out land-use plans that were inclusive and sustainable. These processes were mandated to be developed and implemented using multi-stakeholder participatory mechanisms. 

Two states ended up with very different results. Explore the lessons to be learned through this curation of research and interviews, and download at-a-glance factsheets with tips on how to how to manage power, politics and participation in your own multi-stakeholder processes. 

We often take too much for granted in MSPs. Some considerations are simple – like changing where the platform is held, or adjusting seating arrangements – and some require deeper strategic thinking. Our research has unearthed a host of practical steps that convenors can take to help empower marginalised stakeholders and create lasting impact. 

 Anne Larson on CIFOR-ICRAF’s info sheets and how-to guides

Power, politics and participation in multi-stakeholder processes

A tale of two Brazilian states leads us to really useful tops to design meaningful, inclusive platforms for transformation.
Read at CIFOR-ICRAF’S Forests News

Participatory processes do not guarantee equality, as the interactions within them and in the wider contexts where they are enacted are shaped by power relations that define what kinds of actions are possible,

CIFOR-ICRAF scientists Juan Pablo Sarmiento Barletti, Anne Larson, and Nicole Heise Vigil in a 2021 study on how and why organisers plan their MSPs.

Here’s a cautionary tale for MSF convenors

In the 1990s and early 2000s – in response to calls for participatory land-use planning and concerns about deforestation – Brazil’s state governments began to carry out Ecological-Economic Zoning (ZEE in Portuguese) processes with the aim of collectively laying out land-use plans that were inclusive and sustainable. These processes were mandated to be developed and implemented using multi-stakeholder participatory mechanisms.

The two ended up with very different results, as described in this paper.

Acre and Mato Grosso are two landlocked Brazilian states, both of which contain part of the Amazonian rainforest. Acre’s ZEE map, completed in 2007, was widely hailed for advancing collective benefits and sustainability. For Mato Grosso, in contrast, the ZEE process was disastrous: it reflected deep-seated social and political conflicts, and to this day the state does not have a ZEE map, despite a number of valiant attempts by different parties to develop one. So, why did the two processes, which fell under the same federal mandate, turn out so differently?

This excellent article from CIFOR-ICRAF’s Forests News, not only outlines the different results and reasons behind them, but also provides links to really useful tools and resources to enable you to design and implement a multi-stakeholder process that’s far more like that of Acre, “widely hailed for advancing collective benefits and sustainability”, than of Mato Grosso, where “the ZEE process was disastrous: it reflected deep-seated social and political conflicts, and to this day the state does not have a ZEE map, despite a number of valiant attempts by different parties to develop one.”

… a lively living being, consistent with the identity of the populations living in the managed territory.

Acre government’s description of the map-making process after the addition of a cultural-political axis or ‘ethno-zoning’

Want to emulate that success in your own MSF?

Researchers and others at the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), along with partners in diverse organisations and locations around the world, have been exploring how MSFs might better achieve their goals in the future, within their Governance, Equity and Wellbeing programme. They’ve found a number of conceptual and practical measures to better take these social dimensions into account.

Find out more in this short video:


Practical fact sheets designed for you

To support participants and implementers in this multifaceted process of making MSPs more equitable and effective, CIFOR-ICRAF has produced a series of simple, accessible infosheets and ‘how-to’ guides. “We often take too much for granted in MSPs,” says author Anne Larson. “Some considerations are simple – like changing where the platform is held, or adjusting seating arrangements; and some require deeper strategic thinking. Our research has unearthed a host of practical steps that convenors can take to help empower marginalised stakeholders and create lasting impact.”

Click any image below to download its factsheet pdf.

¿Cómo vamos? A tool to support more equitable co-management of Peru’s protected areas

This brief presents the findings of an assessment conducted in Peru to understand and verify the adoption, outcomes, and potential impacts of the participatory reflective monitoring tool called "¿Cómo vamos?" (How are we doing?) in multistakeholder forums (MSFs). MSFs are recognized as a means of fostering transformative change to address the environmental and social impacts of the climate crisis. In Peru, the Protected Areas Service (SERNANP) mandates the establishment of MSFs or management committees (MCs) involving various stakeholders in the management of protected areas. The tool was co-developed and tested by CIFOR and SERNANP with eight MCs. The positive reception and interest in the tool led SERNANP to publish it as an official document and require its annual implementation by the MCs of its 75 protected areas. This assessment provides insights into the adoption, outcomes, and potential impacts of the tool in Peru.

A place at the table is not enough: Accountability for Indigenous Peoples and local communities in multi-stakeholder platforms

This article explores the challenges of achieving equity in multi-stakeholder platforms and forums (MSFs) focused on sustainable land and resource governance. Drawing on a comparative study of 11 subnational MSFs in Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Peru, the article examines the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) who participate in these forums. The research aims to understand how MSFs can ensure voice, empowerment, and address inequality, while being accountable to the needs and interests of IPLCs. The findings highlight the optimism of IPLC participants but also reveal accountability failures. The article argues for greater strategic attention to how marginalized groups perceive their participation in MSFs and proposes ways to foster collective action and hold more powerful actors accountable to achieve equality, empowerment, and justice.
Download from CIFOR

Can multi-stakeholder forums mediate indigenous rights and development priorities? Insights from the Peruvian Amazon

This article examines the role of a multi-stakeholder forum (MSF) called PIACI Roundtable in protecting indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact (PIACI) in Peru's Loreto region. The MSF aimed to address delays in establishing Indigenous Reserves for PIACI. The article highlights the potential of MSFs to raise awareness and coordinate actions for vulnerable groups, but emphasizes the importance of shared respect for recognized rights among participants. Without such respect, MSFs may prioritize other perspectives over the rights of marginalized communities.
Download from CIFOR

Designing for engagement: A Realist Synthesis Review of how context affects the outcomes of multi-stakeholder forums on land use and/or land-use change

This Realist Synthesis Review analyses scholarly literature on multi-stakeholder forums (MSFs) for sustainable land use. It focusses on subnational MSFs involving grassroots and government actors. The review highlights key contextual variables and identifies four common lessons: commitment, engagement of implementers, openness to stakeholders, and adaptive design. Successful MSFs are recognized as part of a transformative process, involve research and meetings, build consensus and commitment, and prioritize adaptive learning. The central lesson is to design for engagement that addresses the context for greater success.
Download from CIFOR

Designing for engagement: Insights for more equitable and resilient multi-stakeholder forums

A process that is engaged, committed and adaptive allows for all actors to build trust, and thus has the best chance of success moving forward. This literature review highlights the importance of engagement within an MSF.