When not engaged in plans and policy development, local communities and vulnerable groups can be left out of the intended benefits or be negatively impacted. For instance, a WRI project with the Gatsibo District’s office in Rwanda to understand local seed and seedling distribution networks found that farmers were not getting the seedlings they wanted, leading to a lack of interest in the forest and landscape restoration movement. This could have been avoided if the farmers were engaged in the planning and decision-making processes from the beginning.
Inclusive and meaningful stakeholder consultation entails:
These principles also apply to resident and community engagement activities to promote the benefits of urban forestry projects, which should be a two-way, collaborative dialogue between residents and officials with tailored outreach to different groups. (CSSP, 2019) This can also help identify local groups’ knowledge, experience and willingness for involvement.
In Porto Allegre and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 200 household surveys helped shape the cities’ responses towards urban flooding. The same methodology (Urban Community Resilience Assessment) is being implemented by the Cities4Forests team in Kochi, India to help build a resilience roadmap for urban forestry projects.