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Facilitating Community Participation

Community participation helps ensure that decisions are sound and all parties will support them. It is facilitated by:

  • conducing consultations where the people are;
  • working with traditional leaders, and the full range of community groups and organizations;
  • ensuring that the scope of consultation is appropriate to the decision being made;
  • limiting the number of management and consultative bodies to which communities have to relate;
  • giving communities and other interested parties adequate, readily intelligible information and enough time to consider it, contribute to proposals themselves and respond to invitations to consult;
  • ensuring that consultations are in a culturally acceptable form. For example, indigenous people with a tradition of decision-making by communal discussion should not be expected to respond with a written submission from one representative. If indigenous consultation mechanisms exist, they should be used.
  • ensuring that the timing of consultations is right. Consultation must not take place so early that no useful information is available, or so late that all people can do is react or object to detailed proposals.

IUCN/UNEP/WWF Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living. Gland, Switzerland, 1991.
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