Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
One of the most critical elements of EAF is that it encourages a high level of participation from all relevant stakeholders in the planning process. The tools to assist and facilitate input from stakeholders are therefore very important and are relevant to every step of the EAF process. Consultation activities relevant to EAF can be largely divided into five categories – (1) awareness raising/ information delivery, (2) facilitating stakeholder input, (3) decision making, (4) team building; and, importantly, (5) project management. It is important to note that the one consultation tool may be relevant for more than one of these categories.
If stakeholders are not accustomed to dealing with management, technical issues or planning processes they need some guidance to assist with their participation. In such cases, it is advisable to undertake awareness raising through information meetings before starting formal consultation. Where there is a high level of distrust about the process or concerns about government intervention (or even influence of local elites) efforts to engender sufficient trust and commitment are needed possibly using team building tools.
Stakeholder input can be achieved through a variety of means including community meetings, formal stakeholder workshops and focused discussions, using EAF presentation materials, surveys. Even individual discussions where representatives of the various groups are able to participate. The consultation methods and tools often work best in combinations, for example, a small group can draft a set of identified issues with a broader workshop forum undertaken to ensure all perspectives and views have been identified.
While a small knowledgeable group of experts may be able to provide comprehensive input, this may not generate broad acceptance for the outcome compared to a more inclusive process. Stakeholders often want to input to the process even where their technical understanding may be limited to ensure that their concerns are heard and their local knowledge and perceptions are taken into account.
The selection criteria for these tools are given in the table below
L=Low or Long; H= High; M= Medium, S=Short