Last week, 30 participants from protected areas and their stakeholders from across the Eastern and Southern African region were trained in the consensus building methodology and in particular the Mutual Gains Approach to negotiation. The training was conducted as part of the BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme) Capacity Building Programme in partnership with the Sustainability Challenge Foundation.
This training was aimed at supporting existing and imminent dialogues with stakeholders around various protected areas in 10 countries in the region, including Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It took place in Nairobi, Kenya, between 27 and 31 October 2014.
Participants learned the theory of consensus building and the Mutual Gains Approach (MGA) to negotiation and then held simulated negotiations that allowed them to put into practice the various elements of consensus building and MGA that were learned in theory each day. This very practical application of the theory ensured that participants left the course with very real and applicable skills for immediate use in their work environments.
To further support the use of the skills gained in this training, participants developed case studies for the implementation of the MGA in their respective Protected Area context. Ten case studies were selected and participants supported each other in developing specific time-bound work plans for the implementation of the MGA in their country within the next few months, again using the theory and practice gained during the training. These work plans were shared with the group and a network of support set up to assist the case study owners to implement their work plan in the next months.
BIOPAMA will be conducting a follow up to assess the usefulness of the training in the various protected areas contexts described and will use this information to further refine both the short courses and the integration of this training into curricula across the region.
Further information can be obtained from Christine Mentzel, IUCN BIOPAMA Coordinator for Eastern and Southern Africa – Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org