Conflict management through participatory processes

Conflict management through participatory processes
How Protected Areas can build partnerships with local stakeholders

3rd of November – 14:00 – 15:00 CET

Collaborations with local stakeholders are key objectives for Protected Area managers. Through dialogue, reciprocal listening and mutual understanding, conflicts can be mitigated.

In this webinar, we heard from Valeria Salvatori and Bernard Le Roux, two experts on the creation and implementation of local and national platforms: these platforms, made up of authorities, hunters, shepherds, farmers, scientists, and citizens, work on the coexistence between humans and large carnivores. The webinar allowed for discussions with participants about how some of these ‘lessons learned’ can be useful in general in participatory processes and how they can possibly be adapted and replicated in the practices of different Parks.

Especially in this historical moment in which we are witnessing in every debate the extremes of positions and polarization, it is very important to acquire the skills of dialogue and listening. However, dialogue is not simply something you do, but a way of approaching others. That can permit to know better the interlocutors, and to overcome the stereotypes.

Often, different values cause the conflict. The participatory process aims to push the different interlocutors to not just defend their own values, but to learn to know and respect those of others. Above all, it aims to seek common values and work together to promote and apply them: this makes collaborative work between the parties possible.

Finally, the process needs to be implemented very carefully and transparently. Expectations have to be managed wisely, because a participatory process that fails creates an unfortunate precedent that will discourage stakeholders from participating in new processes in the future.

If you are interested in the different regional platforms on people and large carnivores, you can find more information here.


Welcome and IntroductionStefania Petrosillo, Policy Officer at EUROPARC Federation.

The regional platform projects on large carnivores: what works and what doesn’t        

Valeria Salvatori, The Institute of Applied Ecology, presented different pilot platforms working on coexistence with large carnivores. She detailed the intervention framework, lessons learnt and challenges they faced in the participatory processes:

  • Authorities on board: the active participation of the decision makers and authorities is essential for the credibility of the process;
  • Accurate knowledge: each situation is a “world”, therefore an accurate knowledge of the local reality is needed;
  • Qualified facilitators: it is crucial that the facilitator is skilled and recognised as neutral and competent by the participants;
  • Adequate representation: the presence of key actors is needed. The participation of “extremes” has to be carefully managed;
  • Necessary time and resources: a large timeframe is necessary, often much more than the normal duration of projects. Long term commitment by those to decide to launch the participatory process is needed.

Download Valeria’s Presentation

Facilitating multi-level stakeholder platforms: the example of Sweden

Bernard Le Roux, Dialogues Facilitation Gothenburg AB, detailed the experience of the Swedish Platforms for Large Carnivore Conflicts. He detailed the multi-layered problems they often need to face, and how they used dialogue to de-escalated situations:

  • Natural resource conflicts are generally complex and should not be treated as if they were technical problems with simple solutions;
  • Dialogue is a mindset and a skill set, that can reduce conflicts;
  • Having meetings does not ensure that dialogue occurs. It involves improving the quality of communication;
  • We need dialogue on a local level – and then interaction with regional and national levels to deal with growing rural resistance;
  • Competency is needed locally, to establish and maintain a dialogic approach to dealing with small and large conflicts involving nature.

Download Bernard’s Presentation


Discussion with Participants