Methods for participatory stakeholder engagement and mapping assets
The development of strong partnerships is fundamental to the success of ecotourism initiatives that provide local benefits and account for community aspirations. Encouraging the inclusion of stakeholders who have an interest in the development of their local area, in discussions about potential ecotourism initiatives will increase the likelihood that such initiatives are successful and have local buy-in. The early stages of SHAPE invested in implementing processes of stakeholder engagement in each Sustainable Heritage Area that included gathering views on local challenges and aspirations and participatory mapping of valued natural and cultural assets. This allowed contributions from all interested individuals, leading to the selection and development of ecotourism initiatives with strong local support.
During the early stages of the project, SHAPE designed processes and develop methods to identify stakeholder groups and interactions and facilitate and maintain stakeholder engagement and mapping assets. These processes were put into practice by the SHAs in SHAPE. Stories about how those experience worked out in the different SHAs can be read in the SHAPE Newsletter Number #2.
The following user-friendly reports contain the sets of methods designed in SHAPE and tested by the SHAs:
Common methods to identify stakeholder groups and interactions
Common methods for regional stakeholder meetings
Common methods to maintain engagement among regional stakeholder groups
Common participatory processes to map assets and assess climate change impacts
In addition, SHAPE produced an exhaustive literature review on participatory asset mapping and managing natural and cultural assets for ecotourism development. It includes a range of current knowledge and experience on a breadth of topics concerning mapping and managing natural and cultural assets, and it might help guide decisions on asset mapping approaches and applications.