Table 1. Some key challenges related to participatory processes in NRM

Issues related to participatory processes in NRM Challenges related to these issues References to investigation of these challenges
Problem and boundary identification considered in NRM analyses and planning NRM problems that require the set-up of a participatory process are often complex, uncertain, and related to socio-political issues that do not have predetermined solutions. Thus, their analysis requires a suitable multi-disciplinary approach for managing wicked problems or “messes.” (Ulrich 1983, Janssen and Goldsworthy 1996, Rosenhead and Mingers 2001, Fischer 2003, Khisty 2006)
Participatory process design Designing a participatory process and choosing the appropriate methods in a given NRM context depend on so many variables that it is difficult to undertake them in a standardized and linear manner. Rather, it requires a more open and adaptive process. (Stern and Fineberg 1996, Edelenbos 1999, Beierle and Cayford 2002, Creighton 2005, Daniell et al. 2010b, von Korff et al. 2010)
Identifying and deciding who participates is a delicate strategic question with consequences for resource use, methods, equity, decision acceptance, implementation capacity, etc.
Understanding participants’ interests in participating in the process, including potentially hidden motivations and agendas of stakeholders, such as resistance to the process or to other stakeholders, is crucial to support effective process design.
Development and use of participatory methods and tools Participatory methods and tools need to be well calibrated and attractive because stakeholders’ time is limited. Tests are necessary before working in the field. (Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2000, Chambers 2002, Lamers et al. 2010, Kaner 1996, Schwartz 2002)
Facilitation is crucial. The facilitator needs a range of social and technical skills to handle a range of different situations, participants, and attitudes. Skills are improved through practice.
Ethical and political issues, including the potential changes to existing power structures incited by the participatory NRM process The values that guide the intervention should be clarified before starting the process, as they will directly affect its design. In particular, understanding and coping with power asymmetries between participants requires fine-tuning of the process and tools used. (Arnstein 1969, Taket 1994, Midgley 2000, Freire 2001, Cahill et al. 2007, Sultana 2007, Daniell et al. 2009, Barnaud et al. 2010)
The question of to what extent decision makers are willing to take into account the stakeholders’ opinions is often a key point of debate when leading participatory processes.
Evaluation and outcomes of participatory processes Participatory processes lead to various outcomes that are not always planned. Evaluating, measuring the impacts, and learning from these experiences require a large spectrum of analysis. (Rosener 1978, Guba and Lincoln 1989, Syme and Sadler 1994, Webler 1995, Estrella and Gaventa 1998, Rowe and Frewer 2000, Brinkerhoff 2002, Daniell 2008, Jones et al. 2009)