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Who is interested and how will they be involved? A stakeholder analysis with respect to desertification tipping points in dryland social-ecological systems

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Bischofberger, Jenny/Evelyne Gab/Stefan Liehr
ISOE-Materialien Soziale Ökologie
ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Frankfurt am Main


In the past years, it has become evident that stakeholder analysis, integration and dialogue must be embedded in research on complex problems of sustainability, such as desertification in dryland social-ecological systems (SES). In literature there is broad consensus that stakeholder analysis and integration constitute the groundwork for a successful and relevant project design. However, as funds and time are often limited, stakeholders are frequently selected ad hoc instead of methodologically structured. There is a lack of agreement concerning the usage of different methods and also a lack of precise information when it comes to how, when and why the analysis is applicable in specific projects. To integrate stakeholders from the very beginning we conducted a stakeholder analysis in the feasibility study of a social-ecological research project. For that purpose, we identified stakeholders and then grouped them according to their attributes, interest and influence and whether they were affected and/or effecting. This paper presents the evaluation of the stakeholders and their involvement, and it also documents the communication plan for the main phase of the research project.
We identified 121 individual stakeholders which were subdivided into eleven main stakeholder groups ranging from scientific institutions to civil society. A stakeholder workshop and focus groups confirmed and further specified the initial stakeholder list as well as the research questions. Key players are the local farmers and their farmers unions who are the natural resource managers and their mouthpiece. The Namibian universities and the Namibian Ministry for Environment and Tourism could become key players if the cooperation can be strengthened on an institutional respectively faculty level and if the interest is kept up via established contacts. So the cooperation with these key players should be actively fostered, e.g. by joint events, joint field experiments and regular updates. By structuring the stakeholder analysis into three steps and analyzing effect and affectedness as well as interest and influence of stakeholders, a precise way of selecting stakeholders was investigated. In addition to these results of joint learning, the active involvement of stakeholders from the very beginning led to a support for the project and an interest in cooperation at a very early stage. For the main phase, we therefore expect to gain a higher and more sustainable quality of the capacity development and dissemination. In the main phase of the project a second stakeholder workshop will be conducted to send an important kick-off signal. This stakeholder analysis and integration showed that stakeholder dialogues should be a reflexive and iterative process and that the content and the rules should be part of open discussions from the very beginning of this process.

Bibliographische Angaben

Bischofberger, Jenny/Evelyne Gab/Stefan Liehr (2018): Who is interested and how will they be involved? A stakeholder analysis with respect to desertification tipping points in dryland social-ecological systems. ISOE-Materialien Soziale Ökologie , 50. Frankfurt am Main : ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung