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This page was
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April 12, 2012

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This page provides links to web sites dealing with "participation" in the context of integrated conservation and development. Links are divided into the following categories:

Participatory Learning and Action

Participatory GIS - Training

Community-based Mapping

Collaborative Natural Resource Management

Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage Conservation

GIS and Development



Online Participatory Development Databases

Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E)


Participatory Learning and Action

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) is an umbrella term for a wide range of similar approaches and methodologies. The common theme to all these approaches is the full participation of people in the processes of learning about their needs and opportunities, and in the action required to address them (Source: PLA Notes)

The LearningForSustainability website -  - is a resource for government, natural resource management and development agency staff, NGOs and other community leaders working to support multi-stakeholder learning processes to guide sustainable development activities. This guide to on-line resources highlights a number of topic areas that are relevant to social learning. These include topics such as capacity building, networking, dialogue and evaluation. A short introduction to each section outlines the nature of the resource links provided, and provides pointers to other topic areas which are closely related in use. A separate section links to key manuals and guides on the Internet for facilitating participation and engagement.

Both ANDS supports the work of environmental organisations, primarily in the so-called South (developing countries) and the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. We support organisations through information, research, advocacy, campaigning, networking and capacity-building.

FAO Working Group on Participatory Approaches The IWG-PA (Informal Working Group on Participatory Approaches and Methods to Support Sustainable Livelihoods & Food Security) fosters horizontal, cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary collaboration, sharing and learning within the Organization and with external partners, focusing on the nexus where participation, sustainable livelihoods and food security come together.

The Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods Programme of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) PLA Notes, a methods-focused regular series which provides a forum for sharing experiences for practitioners of participatory methodologies. Practitioners from non-OCED countries can subscribe for free. Their web site contains information on research activities and programme publications.

Resource Center for Participatory Learning and Action Network (RCPLA) initiative brings together a number of organizations based in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe committed to information sharing and networking within the framework of participatory methodologies and approaches.

The IDS Participation Group is based at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK. Together with their partners worldwide, the group supports participatory approaches to development. Their major focus is in supporting South-South sharing workshops, exchange visits and information exchange between practitioners, local people, government workers, NGO and donor staff. The Participation Group also convenes action research projects, disseminates writing, provides training and catalyses and supports participation networks around the world.

The Practical Action produces and sells publications on participatory development through its website and its London-based book store.

The IDS Informal Global Network provides details of networks and participation practitioners throughout the world.

International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction is a non-governmental organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of the rural poor in developing countries through rural reconstruction: a sustainable, integrated and people-centered development strategy generated through practical field experiences.

Action Research - Queens University This site includes a range of materials from Action Research activities in the Faculty of Education at Queen's University. RESOURCES available here at Queen's are followed by LINKS to other Action Research sites that provide additional perspectives and resources.

Through the work of the Participation Group, the Institute of Development Studies serves as a global center for research, innovation and learning in citizen participation and participatory approaches to development.

Participation Group in the Social Development Department of the World Bank promotes methods and approaches that encourage the involvement of various stakeholders, especially the poor, in development initiatives that affect them.

Action Research On Web (AROW) includes on-line learning resources; courses in action research and action inquiry for professional development and graduate course credit; Action Research e-Reports; project support and collaboration.

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Participatory GIS - Training

Training Kit on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication. Published in 2010 by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation ACP-EU (CTA), Wageningen, The Netherlands and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Rome, Italy, this Training Kit is a unique product that can be tailored to meet your needs, ensuring that your employees get the best training available on Participatory Spatial Information Management and Communication. The Training Kit contains 15 Modules, each presented through a series of Units. Modules cover the entire spectrum of good developmental practice – from mobilising communities to developing a communication strategy based on the outcome of participatory mapping activities. The Modules touch on topics such as the fundamentals of training, ethics and community groundwork and processes as well as the more technical low-, mid- and high-tech participatory mapping methods. The Training Kit culminates in a Module on networking, communication and advocacy – the pillars upon which maps become effective media and negotiation tools. You decide what you want to cover and when. This product has been developed using the Multimedia Training Kit (MMTK) approach – you pick and choose those Modules, Units and components that best suit your particular requirements and develop a curriculum to suit your specific needs.

Community-based Mapping

The Landscape Values Institute is a non-profit consortium of international researchers and planners interested in advancing knowledge about landscape values to improve land allocation and management. Landscape value and special place mapping is a planning technique whose principles are grounded in sustainable land use and environmental protection, meaningful public participation, and the inclusion of multiple values in land use decision making. Landscape value and special place mapping is a type of public participation geographic information system or (PPGIS) used to support land use planning efforts at multiple scales ranging from local, to regional, to national scales

PPgis.net - Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies. PPgis.net serves as a global avenue for discussing issues, sharing experiences and good practices related to community mapping, participatory mapping, counter mapping, Public Participation GIS (PPGIS), Community Integrated (CiGIS), Mobile Interactive (MiGIS) and other geo-spatial information technologies and systems used to support integrated conservation and development, sustainable natural resource management and customary property rights in developing countries and First Nations. Members of the network are able to share information and lessons learned and post questions, resource documents and announcements which are relevant to the practice.

Participatory GIS (PGIS) initiatives run by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are listed and described on this site.

The Society for Conservation GIS The Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS) is a non-profit organization that builds community, provides knowledge, and supports individuals using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and science for the conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage.

Native Lands works to protect biological and cultural diversity in Latin America, with a focus on Central America and southern Mexico. It assists indigenous peoples to develop and carry out their agendas for the preservation of the region’s natural and cultural heritage. It has programs in participatory and regional mapping and in the organization of conferences, workshops, and technical exchanges.

The Philippine Association for Inter-Cultural Development (PAFID) uses Participatory 3-D Modeling, GPS and GIS applications to support Indigenous Cultural Communities throughout the Philippines in claiming for their rights over ancestral domains.

The Aboriginal Mapping Network is a collection of resource pages for First Nation mappers who are looking for answers to common questions regarding mapping, information management and GIS. It is a network where First Nation mappers can learn about what other native mappers are doing, and share their own experiences throughout the aboriginal community.

Participatory Avenues <http://www.iapad.org> promotes the diffusion of Participatory 3D Modeling (P3DM) as best practice for merging people's knowledge and traditional spatial information. The web supports the culture of knowledge dissemination and acts as focal point for sharing information and technical progress on community-based mapping and Public Participation GIS (PPGIS). P3DM has a wide range of applications ranging from collaborative research and planning for natural resource management, to dealing with conflict resolution and resource tenure.

Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) is a Philippine-based research and mapping institute established in 1997 with the primary purpose of engaging in national and regional research with the intention of contributing to an understanding and sustainability of the environment through developing a science for social change. The ESSC-Visayas (ESSC Regional Office for the Visayas region) focuses on the assessment of Community-Based Forest Management Implementation by people's organizations, and the facilitation of complementing dialogs among the watershed stakeholders for sustainable management. It is also engaged in community resource mapping and accounting (CRMA) in the Maasin watershed in Iloilo and Caruod watershed in Bohol province.

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Collaborative Natural Resource Management

The International Land Coalition is a global alliance of intergovernmental, governmental and civil-society organizations. The Coalition works together with the rural poor to increase their secure access to natural resources, especially land, and to enable them to participate directly in policy and decision-making processes that affect their livelihoods at local, national, regional and international levels. Many thanks

Agroforestry Net is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational resources about agroforestry, trees, and sustainable stewardship of land and water resources. The website includes a wide variety of free agroforestry publications including the popular "Agroforester's Library" and "Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands".

The Overstory is a free e-mail agroforestry journal for practitioners, researchers, professionals, and enthusiasts with subscribers in 172 countries. One issue is sent every two weeks focusing on a concept related to designing, developing, and learning more about agroforestry systems.

The Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) is the official Capacity Building Organization of the Indo-German Watershed Development Program (IGWDP). It undertakes developmental activities in resource-fragile rainfed areas through capacity building of village groups and NGOs for participatory watershed development, self-help promotion, direct implementation of watershed projects and others.

The Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) contributes to the IUCN mission by providing expertise on the crucial economic, social and cultural factors affecting natural resources and biological diversity, and provides guidance and support towards effective policies and practices in environmental conservation and sustainable development.

Forest, Trees and People Programme (FTPP) is an initiative run jointly by the research Information Center of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences  and the FAO Community Forestry Unit and the . The network is designed to share information about improved methods of planning and strengthening community-based forestry with particular emphasis on participatory methodologies. It published a quarterly newsletter in English, French and Spanish.

People and Plants Initiative carries out applied research projects, community workshops, exchanges and training courses with young ethno-botanists from developing countries who are interested in conservation and community development and produces videos and publications, including methods manuals, working papers and the People and Plants Handbook. It is supported by WWF International, UNESCO and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The FAO Forestry Web site offers user-friendly access to constantly updated information on key policy and technical aspects of sustainable forest management.

Earthscan is a leading publisher of books on environment and sustainable development. Its aim is to increase understanding of environmental issues and their implications at all levels, from the local to the global, and to influence opinion and policy in ways that promote sustainable forms of development.

The main objective of the Regional Community Forestry Training Center (RCOFTC) is to organize, provide, facilitate and support training for community forestry initiatives throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. RECOFTC undertakes and facilitates relevant research, technical assistance, exchange of information, workshops and seminars.

ILEIA long-term objective is to develop Low-External-Input and Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA) and promote its adoption by collecting and exchanging information, facilitating farmer-guided research to assess the viability of LEISA production systems and by contributing to the political debate on sustainable agriculture.

Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions SRISTI is a non-governmental organization setup to strengthen the creativity of grassroots inventors, innovators and ecopreneurs engaged in conserving biodiversity and developing eco-friendly solutions to local problems.

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Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage Conservation

Nature-GIS A European thematic network for Protected Areas/Nature Preservation and Geographical Information.

The International Association for the Study of Common Property (IASCP) at the University of Indiana, encourages the exchange of knowledge among diverse disciplines, areas and resource types to foster mutual exchange of scholarship and practical experience concerning (land) property rights. The site includes a comprehensive database of research papers.

 The Digital Library of the Commons (DLC) maintained by the University of Indiana, is a gateway to the international literature on the commons, or the world’s collective resources such as land and water. The DLC website contains an archive of conference papers, dissertations, working papers and reports.

 The eight country region of the Amazon contains the greatest concentration of biodiversity anywhere on Earth, and conserving its resources while accommodating sustainable development has become one of the great conservation challenges of the 21st Century. Using the tools of GIS and the internet, Amazon GIS aims to influence conservation decision-making and promote effective strategies towards sustainable development.

 The African Conservation Foundation supports the Conservation of Africa's Flora & Fauna "From lions to groundshrews, giraffes to warthogs, leopards to meerkats and from savannas to tropical forests, the African Conservation Foundation helps to conserve and protect the indigenous species and habitats of this continent. As a network and support organization, ACF assists conservation projects by providing training, equipment, research and communication technologies, as well as other urgently required resources for wildlife research, education and conservation.

Indigenouswater presents the viewpoints of indigenous peoples on the subject of water and water resources development. The purpose of this website is to promote better understanding of indigenous perspectives on water and development among non-indigenous water professionals, and to enhance dialogue between indigenous political and spiritual leaders on one hand, and the agents of water resources development on the other.

Terralingua supports the integrated protection, maintenance and restoration of the world's biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity –– known as biocultural diversity –– by creating innovative tools to analyze the links between these diversities and demonstrate their global significance.

Cultural Heritage, a search engine about the conservation of cultural heritage, restoration and maintenance of the architecture, preservation of the urban landscape

The Borneo Project was created in 1991 to assist Borneo's indigenous peoples in their struggle to regain control of their ancestral lands. Since 1995, The Borneo Project has trained 25 indigenous mapping instructors who have in turn helped more than 60 villages map their traditional lands. Mapping is the first phase of an ongoing project to preserve large tracts of aboriginal homelands in the rainforest of Sarawak.

Native Lands works to protect biological and cultural diversity in Latin America, with a focus on Central America and southern Mexico. It assists indigenous peoples to develop and carry out their agendas for the preservation of the region’s natural and cultural heritage. It has programs in participatory and regional mapping and in the organization of conferences, workshops, and technical exchanges.

The mission of the Biodiversity Support Program (BSP)  is to promote conservation of the world's biological diversity, believing that a healthy and secure living resource base is essential to meeting the needs and aspirations of future generations. BSP carries out its mission by supporting projects that combine conservation with social and economic development, research and analysis of conservation approaches, and information exchange and outreach.

UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC) provides information services on conservation and sustainable use of the world's living resources, and helps others to develop information systems of their own.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF)  directs its conservation efforts toward three global goals: protecting endangered spaces, saving endangered species, and addressing global threats. From working to save the giant panda, tiger, and rhino to helping establish and manage parks and reserves worldwide, WWF has been a conservation leader for more than 39 years.

The World Conservation Union mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. IUCN is the world's largest environmental knowledge network. Within the framework of global conventions IUCN has promoted sustainability and helped over 50 countries to prepare and implement National Conservation Strategies.

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity's objectives are "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources." The Convention is thus the first global, comprehensive agreement to address all aspects of biological diversity: genetic resources, species, and ecosystems. It recognizes - for the first time - that the conservation of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and an integral part of the development process. To achieve its objectives, the Convention - in accordance with the spirit of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development - promotes a renewed partnership among countries. Its provisions on scientific and technical cooperation, access to genetic resources, and the transfer of environmentally sound technologies form the foundations of this partnership.

The Indigenous Peoples Biodiversity Information Network (IBIN) is a mechanism to exchange information about experiences and projects and to increase collaboration among indigenous groups working on common causes related to biodiversity use and conservation.

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GIS and Development

PPgis.Net Blog. This blog offers the latest news and opinions on Participatory GIS practice.

Quantum GIS (often abbreviated to QGIS) is a free software desktop Geographic Information Systems (GIS) application that provides data viewing, editing, and analysis capabilities.

GIS for Development (GIS4D) bookstore. Carefully selected literature on Participatory GIS (PGIS) and Public Participation GIS (PPGIS)

PPgis.net - Open Forum on Participatory Geographic Information Systems and Technologies. PPgis.net serves as a global avenue for discussing issues, sharing experiences and good practices related to community mapping, participatory mapping, counter mapping, Public Participation GIS (PPGIS), Community Integrated (CiGIS), Mobile Interactive (MiGIS) and other geo-spatial information technologies and systems used to support integrated conservation and development, sustainable natural resource management and customary property rights in developing countries and First Nations. Members of the network are able to share information and lessons learned and post questions, resource documents and announcements which are relevant to the practice.

The East-West Center was established by the United States Congress in 1960 “to promote better relations and understanding between the United States and the nations of Asia and the Pacific through cooperative study, training and research." A comprehensive list of references on the use of spatial information in the context of biodiversity and cultural conservation is found on the subweb of the "Spatial Information Technology and Society: Ethics, Values, and Practice" a project handled by Jefferson Fox, Peter Hershock, and Krisnawati Suryanata.

GIS Development is a publishing group in the field of geographic information sciences. Its aim is to propagate the importance of Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS in the field of development, planning and management. It integrates the activities pertaining to the field of GIS, GPS and Remote Sensing all over the world with a special focus on Asian countries. It covers not only the technological know-how associated with Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS but also deals with the application of the technologies in different fields of development planning. It endeavors to update the readers about the recent happenings through collection of rare information.

The School of Earth Sciences, Institute of Geography, Victoria University of Wellington maintains a web site focusing on Mobile Interactive Geographical Information System (MIGIS) an approach to community based planning which uses GIS in conjunction with, and fully informed by, Participatory Rural Appraisal. MIGIS relies on community support and muted expert facilitation. It is designed to bring the best of indigenous knowledge and scientific information together to provide common ground on which farmers, government administrators, and planners can optimize their understanding of each other and work as a team to plan for a better future.

GISDECO is an international network of GIS experts, planners and project managers engaged in GIS applications in developing countries. GISDECO focuses on the exchange of practical experiences with GIS-applications by organizing seminars and workshops in various countries.

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The Communication Initiative  A partnership of development organizations seeking to support advances in the effectiveness and scale of communication interventions for positive international development. The CI strategy includes providing real-time information on communication and development experiences and thinking, facilitating horizontal linkages between people engaged in communication action. Among other activities, the CI produces a website that summarizes more than 17,000 links on communication and development. It also produces a weekly electronic magazine as well as discussion forums and listings of events and vacancies.

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Online Participatory Development Databases

Participatory Development Forum promotes a philosophy of participation that advocates for people's capacity and right to define and control their own development, in order to achieve social justice and equality. The Participatory Development (PD) Forum is an international network of several hundred development practitioners, non-governmental organizations, academics/action researchers, private sector representatives, and policy makers interested in advancing reflection and practice in the area of participatory development.

The IDS Participation Group at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK maintains a PRA collection database that can be searched online.

ILEIA's database, ILEIADOC, contains records in the fields of ecologically-oriented agriculture and participative processes, with a strong emphasis on unpublished literature.

World Bank Indigenous Knowledge Initiative includes a database of Indigenous Knowledge and Practices, established to enhance the utilization of indigenous knowledge in development programs and projects.

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Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation (PM&E)

Participation in Monitoring and Evaluation is a new section of the web site developed and maintained by the Participation Group in the Social Development Department of the World Bank. It offers access to downloadable reference documents and case studies.

M&E News is an Internet based service focusing on innovations in monitoring and evaluation methods that are relevant to development projects with social development objectives. Updated monthly, it is a highly valuable source of information for participatory monitoring & evaluation resources (events, full-text documents).

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Disclaimer: Links to other internet sites found throughout Participatory Avenues Web site,
do not indicate endorsement of these sites or their content by the author.

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