Measuring Success in Devolved Collaboration

A recent article, published in the Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law, Measuring Success in Devolved Collaboration, examines the growing use of “devolved collaboration” to manage and protect community resources.  In recent times, a growing emphasis on participatory mechanisms of resource-based decision making emphasizing “place-based” collaborative processes has emerged in many countries. The article describes how such processes involve stakeholders from the public and private sectors who consult together in order to arrive at shared goals regarding resource use and planning. Collaborative processes arise from a growing dissatisfaction with top-down centralized “announce and defend” decision making policies. Yet, devolved collaboration is not without its challenges. Scholars have identified that devolved collaborative processes must not be indifferent to social, structural, institutional disparities in order for it to realize its potential for equitable decisions. In response, the article suggests structural improvements to the current process of unanimity-based devolved collaboration which includes the use of majority vote in cases where unanimity is not possible, and offers a set of principle-based measures or indicators that can be used at the community level to help assess whether benchmarks of equitable participation are being achieved at the local level.

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