16 Sep 2012

Eight ways to unleash the potential of local organisations

By David Thomas

Eight ways to unleash the potential of local organisations, a policy brief authored jointly with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Equator Initiative, draws extensively on BirdLife’s work with Local Conservation Groups. Representatives of several of these groups, which combine conservation work with well-being and livelihoods improvements for their communities, took part in the workshop on which this briefing was based. Their experience shows that local organisations can be very effective at making the links between conservation and development. However, the policies of government, international NGOs and donors are critical to creating a favorable environment for local organisations to thrive, by for example including them in decision making, recognising and respecting traditional access and resource rights, giving local communities real responsibility for resource management, and supporting  local organisations to reach a ‘critical mass’ of size, capacity and influence.