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Participatory approaches: the World Cafe

world_cafe_1.jpgCommunicating the relevance of ecosystem services (ES) for Alpine local and regional management as well as the challenges connected to implementation, are objectives of the AlpES transnational project. While the ES approach exemplifies an approach to recognise services of nature to humans, stakeholders hold different knowledge and understandings about its possible uses, and may adopt different approaches to implement it in their territories or regions.

<font 14px/14px;;inherit;;inherit>AlpES partners took advantage of the mid-term partner meeting in Venice, in November 2017, to share perspectives on the benefits and challenges of the approach, feedback local and regional stakeholders provided during the project’s stakeholder involvement activities, as well as suggest uses of the results of the AlpES project past its conclusion. To do this, the Veneto team (University of Padova and Etifor, a Spin-off of the University of Padova), organised a two-hour world café for project partners and local stakeholders to propose their own perspectives. This technique could be proposed regionally or locally to address discussion of ecosystem services more in-depth.</font>

The discussions were divided into four groups, and highlighted perspectives from a diversity of stakeholders. The full report is available at the Etifor website.

1. What did the stakeholders from the pilot test regions emphasize as important during their discussions with the AlpES interviewers?

In the pilot test regions, stakeholders emphasised several observations made by stakeholders. These included the need to become familiar with the concept to address complexity, applicability and usability of the concept and recognise bundles of services rather than single services, as well as scenarios and trend over time.

2. What are the benefits that different stakeholders expect to obtain from the implementation of the ES approach?

world_cafe_4_benefits.jpg Diverse benefits were highlighted for diverse stakeholders. For example, civil servants highlighted how the ES approach can help improve both the network and dialogue between public and private actors by providing methodologies and tools for decision-making. The possibility to use a long-term perspective, the introduction of new ideas to catalyse innovation, the creation of additional income opportunities (e.g. through payments for ecosystem services) and the opportunity to use it as an awareness raising approach, were presented among a range of other options..

3. What are the challenges that different stakeholders might face from the implementation of the ES approach?

The challenges that different stakeholders might face from the implementation of the ES approach were different than those generally connected to the ES approach. These included issues such as effective communication, availability of resources and know-how related to the application, implementation and evaluation of the ES approach. They also include availability of concrete experiences at the local level and data, as well as the need for dialogue to clarify common definitions and methodologies. A series of questions captured concerns about building a resilient governance vision: How do ES change on time? How is it possible to make long-term scenarios? How can participatory approaches be adopted? How can we combine the ES concepts with other nature-based concepts?

4. How can the results of the project be used after the conclusion of the project, by the different categories of stakeholders, i.e., public, private and research institutions?

Different perspectives where considered for addressing uses of project results. For public stakeholders, the ES assessment and mapping could inform and drive decision making and investment priorities as well as facilitate the development of new policies and regulations including the ES concept. AlpES results could also be used for providing internal training to public entities. For private stakeholders, the results could help developing market based instruments or contributing to local development. as well as assess impacts associated with development activities and investments, set-up specific mitigation or compensation measures as well as prevent and manage ES trade-offs.

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