Cambiando Perspectivas para Observar el Cambio: Enfoques participativos para monitoreo del Medio Ambiente
This Discussion paper reviews participatory approaches to monitoring environmental change. It draws on published literature, interviews with practitioners, and the practical experiences of a research project on participatory monitoring of sustainable agriculture in Brazil. This project seeks to develop a viable and relevant monitoring process with farmers ,farmers unions, and NGO’s to help assess the social and environmental impacts of their efforts in developing more sustainable forms of agriculture. ~The term ‘participatory monitoring’ is used to describe a wide range of practices. In the literature, it often refers to processes that involve field staff in designing or adapting a monitoring process., but limiting the role of local women and men to data gatherers or providers of information. Here we use it to describe monitoring approaches that develop partnerships of multiple stakeholders for efficient , effective and socially inclusive monitoring. We focus on the use of monitoring approaches in the context of tracking environmental change in general, and of projects focusing on environmental regeneration. The drive for accountability and the need for more information to improve planning processes have given great impetus to participatory monitoring. Much is promised of it: from increasing accountability to enhancing participation and advocacy efforts, improving local and external awareness of key issues, increasing local level capacity and sustaining partnerships between different stakeholders. While these benefits have been discussed theoretically, there are relatively few practical experiences that can be drawn upon to support or refute the claims.