A full understanding of a socio-ecological system requires consultation with stakeholders that may have unique perspectives. Stakeholder engagement requires understanding the relevant situation, intra-stakeholder dynamics, and socio-cultural norms. It can be helpful to consider various approaches for engaging stakeholders, keeping in mind that engagement should be transparent and inclusive, and participation should be voluntary.
Successful conservation outcomes require us to engage the many groups present in the communities where we work. Gender equity has a real impact both on conservation success and on improving the economic development and other human well-being outcomes for communities, regions, and nations. Include obtaining disaggregated gender data and stakeholder interactions as you organize your stakeholder engagement plan. The Nature Conservancy’s Gender Equity Statement provides some examples of how you might do this. Also include early assessment about whether or not indigenous peoples and/or their physical cultural heritage are part of possibly affected communities. If so, include engaging them in your plan, with appropriate expert help.
A stakeholder engagement plan will identify how stakeholders are involved at each stage of the conservation process. Engagement can range from consultations at a few key points to full leadership of the conservation process.