Fit between Conservation Instruments and Local Social Systems : Cases of Co-Management and Payments for Ecosystem Services
We draw on the concept of 'fit' to understand how co-management and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) as governance instruments could better acknowledge local social complexities. Achieving 'participatory fit' requires well-designed and fair processes, which enhance local acceptance towards the implemented rules. Thus, such fit can contribute to establishing new institutions in conservation governance. However, previous literature on participation has had strong focus on properties of decision-making processes, which often neglects the question on how local realities effect on local people's ability and willingness to participate in the work of governance instruments. We approach 'participatory fit' by identifying six properties of heterogeneous local social systems that governance instruments need to acknowledge to nurture balanced bottom-up participation: 1) economic resources and structures, 2) relationships to land, 3) level of education, 4) relationships between diverse actors, 5) divergent problem definitions, and 6) local identities. We discuss related sources of misfits and develop proposals on how conservation instruments could function as bridging organizations facilitating polycentric institutional structures that fit better to the social systems they are intended to govern. Such hybridization of governance could avoid pitfalls of considering one particular instrument (e.g. co-management or PES) as a panacea able to create win-win solutions. (original abstract)
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