India has a long and successful tradition of local activism in land and natural resource issues. Here we are able to share experience and policy tools from two current areas of activism: first the recent participatory process to prepare the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) at national and more local levels, and second the longer term actions by rural people and their allies to secure and maintain access to land.
An activist approach to biodiversity planning
Activist Approach to Biodiversity Planning: A handbook of participatory
tools used to prepare India’s National Biodiversity Strategy and
ISBN 1 84369 548 0
Bringing in multiple perspectives, especially those that
usually remain invisible, is a universal challenge to policy processes today.
India has been one of the first countries to undertake a National Biodiversity
Strategy and Action Planning (NBSAP)
process under the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity – with the extra challenge of integrating opinions over a vast national scale.
Based on interviews with over 190 people involved in (or, in some cases, excluded from) the NBSAP in four Indian states, An Activist Approach to Biodiversity Planning reviews the key successes and challenges in achieving a truly participatory process of policy planning. Moving beyond general principles of participation, the review identifies precise approaches that work to include diverse local opinions – along with associated risks and pitfalls – emerging from on-the-ground experience.
A range of successful tools are explained step-by-step to help practitioners adapt and design appropriate approaches for their own contexts internationally. Further advice comes from an overview of common lessons across the set of very different opportunities and constraints faced in different settings – ranging from well resourced to poorly supported, from urban to inaccessibly rural, and from reluctant to enthusiastic.
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Struggle-dialogue: tools for land movements in India
Non-violent land movements in India mainly use tools derived from Gandhi’s methods of non-cooperation and India’s long history of popular resistance. Land distribution today is still not equitable, but the focus of activism has shifted from landlords to government.
This report presents and analyses a number of tools used today by non-cooperative, non-violent land movements in India, using Ekta Parishad (translated as “United Network”) as a case study. The tools are not diverse and random. Instead, they form a clear strategic continuum between struggle (resistance) and dialogue (engagement). Struggle and dialogue work together to make a force that government at various levels cannot ignore.View the report in PDF format (131K)