Community Palli - Day 8
Wednesday October 17th, 2012
10:00 – 12:00
The final day of the Community Palli began with a workshop run by Rare Conservation, a long-term partner to the Equator Initiative and a leader in the field of communicating for results in conservation. The session was opened by Brett Jenks, President and CEO of Rare. He congratulated all those in the room on winning the Equator Prize, and emphasized the importance of their work on the frontlines of conservation efforts. He described Rare’s work in 57 countries with more than 3,000 communities to date, in which they have offered training and capacity building to local initiatives on how to communicate messages both to rural communities and to policymakers.
The workshop was facilitated by Brian Day and Kate Mannle of Rare, who began by describing the concept and use of social marketing. Mr. Day pointed out that all of those in the room were world leaders in this field, evidenced by the fact that they had won the Equator Prize. The key issue in their work is effecting behaviour change – social marketing, defined as “the use of marketing techniques to improve social well-being by changing attitudes and behavior in regard to a specific product or concept”, is one way of achieving this.
Ms. Mannle introduced an exercise in which small groups were tasked with designing a newspaper advertisement against a hypothetical proposed logging project that would negatively affect local habitats and communities. These groups presented back their advertisements, utilizing themes such as the effects of logging on local livelihoods and on water availability. The posters included emotional appeals to parents regarding their children’s health, and arguments for preserving biodiversity.
Reviewing the messages contained in the presentations, Mr. Day reiterated the need to identify the goals and target audiences: what do you want your audience to KNOW, FEEL, and DO? He also covered ways in which groups can evaluate the impact of their communication efforts, built around surveying pre- and post-intervention to assess the extent to which communication had changed local attitudes and behaviour.
The session also covered four key principles to bear in mind in communications efforts: information and awareness do not equal behaviour change – instead, motivating factors for changing behaviour will differ depending on target audience; people care about themselves first – interventions must therefore identify what is in people’s self-interest; people need to know what you want them to do – messages must contain this information; and the benefits must outweigh the negatives resulting from behaviour change. This final principle was a key discussion point for participants, many of whom pointed out that where alternative behaviours are not initially as commercially viable (e.g. non-timber forest product harvesting rather than logging), are relatively expensive (e.g. fuel-efficient stoves) or take time to introduce (e.g. sustainable agriculture as compared to slash-and-burn practices), it has been difficult to persuade rural audiences to change practices.
Other key recommendations made by the presenters covered the different stages of behaviour change – from pre-contemplation through contemplation, action, and maintenance – and the value of having trusted sources deliver messages, in response to a question from Josephat (The Smallholders Foundation) concerning the difficulty of scaling up successful approaches.
Update on the Final Negotiations at COP
17:00 – 17:30
During the final afternoon of the Community Palli, following a dialogue with UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan, the participants heard from Lazarus Kairabeb, Chief Advisor to the Namibian Nama Traditional Leaders Association and a member of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB), on the status of COP negotiations as they entered the last two days, particularly regarding indigenous and local communities’ (ILC) issues.
Among subjects being debated was that of the repatriation of traditional knowledge and cultural artifacts taken from developing countries during colonization. A similarly controversial issue was that of the wording used in the CBD, which the IIFB had suggested changing from “local and indigenous communities” to “indigenous peoples and local communities”: as yet, this had not been accepted. Likewise, the proposal for an “indigenous peoples’ day” had not received the CoP-11 delegates’ approval.
Mr. Kairabeb summarized some of the challenges that face indigenous and local groups when advocating within the COP. Among these were a lack of preparation on some of the key issues, the cross-sectoral interests of many ILC groups, and the different backgrounds of those taking part in discussions. Recommendations may be taken up by official working groups, and subsequently included in official COP outcome documents, but these must be based on well-informed debates between ILC representatives. Mr. Kairabeb also pointed out the importance of cohesion amongst the different communities represented at the COP, although he warned against neglecting the specific needs and interests of the communities and regions represented by ILC delegates. He concluded by reiterating the importance of communities playing a central role in policy making and sharing traditional knowledge with local authorities, and emphasized that communities’ active participation in CBD processes, however frustrating, was vital to keep open lines of dialogue and opportunities for inputting into policy decisions.
Closing of the Community Palli
17:30 – 18:30
In summing up the hoped-for outcomes of the Community Palli, Alejandra Pero descried it as a different community dialogue to those organized previously by the Equator Initiative. Bringing together a variety of Equator Prize winners from different prize cycles during the past decade, the Community Palli had aimed to support the growth of these initiatives through shared learning and networking, and to ultimately allow the participants to scale up their organizations’ work and have a greater impact sustaining livelihoods and conserving biodiversity in their home communities.
In return, Community Palli participants expressed their feelings at the end of the dialogue, many of them singling out peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, access to opportunities, and exposure to new ideas as highlights of their time in Hyderabad. Many of the participants concluded by expressing their thanks for the work of the Equator Initiative team, and their hopes for continued close cooperation in the future.