Operationalizing the Ecosystem Approach in conservation and development cooperation projects

There is an internationally generalised concurrence on the merits of planning and managing environmental conservation and development in an “Integrated”, “Holistic”, “Comprehensive” way. In this regard, the IUCN Ecosystem Approach (EA), with its five steps to implementation, emerged as one the most significant reference framework for a number of conservation and development cooperation projects. However, on the one hand the existing operational and methodological procedures for the objective application of EA still need to be consolidated and/or rendered more user-friendly, on the other hand, in support of their planning and management pursuit, the user community has to develop a cultural attitude towards the systematic and generalized use of informatics tools within the very comprehensive framework of the EA.

In the process of addressing these issues, during the last two decades, DGCS the Italian Development Cooperation has joined hands with IUCN in developing operational procedures and tools for supporting decision makers in truly systemic objective planning and management, and adopted them in ODA programmes real case applications.

In particular, building upon their lessons learnt, with focus on one of such applications, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique), the event will illustrate and discuss the developed methodological model, which comprises the following components:
- a methodological procedure, aimed at ensuring that the participatory contributions and iterative processes, involving institutional planners technical experts and key stakeholders, produces data and information in such a structured fashion to render it amenable to be objectively integrated in the decision making process;
- a tool for the quantitative assessment of the relationships between the ecosystem structure components and their related management issues;
- a data management system (GIS and tabular) for facilitating the storing, querying, retrieving and presenting the information relevant for the decision making process;
- a methodological procedure for identifying, comparatively assessing and defining management options, along with the operational framework for the objective monitoring of the effects of their implementation.

The integrated use of such procedures and tools in a number of applications in different continents, while helping rendering it user-friendly to all level of stakeholders, has proven effective in enable policy maker and managers to take systemic informed decisions and monitor effectively their performances.

Event Agenda:

13.00 – 13.05: DGCS and IUCN-ESARO Introductory remarks

13.05 - 13.30: Presentation

13.30 - 13.50: Open debate:

- When aiming at the widest application of the Ecosystem Approach in conservation and development cooperation pursuits, is there a need for complementing available technical guidelines, with straight forward procedural tools for practitioner to move from know-how to how-to effectively implement the very Ecosystem Approach?

- Should large international environmental organisations, including IUCN and its Commission on Ecosystem Management, invest in further developing and disseminating the said tools, as well as promoting their use in their projects?

- Can the methodological procedure presented here provide a concrete reference in addressing the above needs?

13.50 - 14.00: Drafting Event's key recommendations

Geographical scope:

Rating: 
Average: 5 (24 votes)
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