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Ensure that the primary interests of different groups, especially traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups, have been considered.

Iden­ti­fy­ing how the inter­ests of under­rep­re­sent­ed or oth­er mar­gin­al­ized groups are part of the sit­u­a­tion is essen­tial. For instance, women are often at the fore­front of nat­ur­al resource man­age­ment in devel­op­ing coun­tries, but are fre­quent­ly exclud­ed from deci­sion-mak­ing process­es. Low-income groups are often the most depen­dent on nat­ur­al resources, and they may also face the brunt of envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion, includ­ing in devel­oped coun­tries. Not includ­ing the inter­ests of these groups can cre­ate an incom­plete under­stand­ing of dri­vers, or root caus­es of con­ser­va­tion chal­lenges and can cre­ate unin­tend­ed con­se­quences of well-intend­ed con­ser­va­tion actions.

When engag­ing with stake­hold­ers to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the pri­ma­ry inter­ests for nature and peo­ple, seek dis­ag­gre­gat­ed evi­dence by gen­der and for oth­er vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions. Inquire about dif­fer­ent ways in which the nat­ur­al resources are used or impact groups of peo­ple, and dif­fer­ences in the human well-being fac­tors, as well as any rel­e­vant or emerg­ing chal­lenges regard­ing equi­ty. Equi­ty is crit­i­cal to con­sid­er when col­lect­ing data, as it helps with assess­ing pri­ma­ry inter­ests, build­ing accu­rate results chains, under­stand­ing pos­si­ble unin­tend­ed con­se­quences, and how to gain buy-in and avoid harm. For more back­ground on why gen­der equi­ty is impor­tant, as well as some exam­ples of how to address it, see TNC’s Gen­der Equi­ty State­ment.

Be aware of, and avoid action based on, uncon­scious bias. Uncon­scious bias­es are human — we all have them. How­ev­er, reduc­ing such bias­es and avoid­ing act­ing on them is impor­tant. Accu­rate infor­ma­tion can replace stereo­types absorbed ear­li­er. Slow­ing down to notice a gut reac­tion, a judg­ment, an assump­tion, putting these reac­tions aside, then respond­ing to the indi­vid­ual or group, can help. Obtain­ing accu­rate data and ques­tion­ing assump­tions is cru­cial to help you under­stand the pri­ma­ry inter­ests for peo­ple and nature. You can use these Four Ques­tions to help your­self catch bias and deflect it.