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Stakeholder Involvement in Transdisciplinary Research: Lessons from Three Projects on Sustainable Land Management in a North-South Setting

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Sustainability problems call for collaborative solution finding. Lessons learnt from the transdisciplinary designs of three projects in the Global South include the need for a prephase to build balanced ownership, institutionalised and equal partnerships, and diversified approaches.

Stakeholder (SH) involvement is a major and ever-challenging aspect of transdisciplinary research (TDR). Reflecting on three land management research projects (Carbiocial, SuLaMa, TFO) in a North-South setting, we present their individual approaches for SH involvement and discuss which SH group was involved, when and why. We identify patterns and share lessons learnt that can serve to design TDR projects in general and in a North-South context specifically. Close collaboration with strategic SHs for project conceptualisation and implementation is essential to build ownership and link the project to other SHs. However, structures based on equal partnerships are required. Diversified methods adapted to the specific regional context enable target-oriented involvement during research, but unexpected dynamics and diverging interests must be kept in mind. Reflections on the processes of SH involvement in TDR project teams are vital for easing power imbalances and intercultural misunderstandings.
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Keywords: participatory approaches; stakeholder involvement; sustainable land management; transdisciplinary research

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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