A People’s Plan for Biodiversity Conservation: Creative strategies that work (and some that don’t)
India’s approach to preparing the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is a unique example of people’s planning for environmental governance. Coordinated by a non-governmental organisation, the NBSAP was prepared via a large-scale decentralised planning process across all states of India. A diversity of innovative tools and strategies helped to reach out to thousands of people nationwide between 2000 and 2003, enabling more than 70 state, sub-state, eco-regional and thematic plans to be prepared, in addition to one national plan. In the NBSAP planning strategy, the process of putting the plan together was as important as the final product. The process helped to increase awareness of biodiversity, empower people through participation and inspire some local initiatives to begin implementation of local plans. In this sense, the NBSAP process became a form of activism. It also demonstrated the potential of decentralised planning to generate positive spin-offs such as capacity building. This paper reflects on some of the lessons that emerged from the process, many of which will be invaluable for similar planning initiatives in both environmental and non-environmental sectors, within and outside India.