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Date of publication
January 2005

Territorial Development: an innovative approach

The purpose of this Participatory and Negotiated Territorial Development is therefore to define a process in which the analysis of local territorial issues, based on the viewpoints of the different actors and on an historical analysis, contribute to a coherent understanding of the territorial system. Furthermore, this approach is based on the idea that all identified territorial issues be placed on a negotiation table that will gather all the stakeholders in order to discuss area-related problems, with the aim of possibly collaborating in the formulation of a Social Territorial Agreement.

This method requires the definition of a new role for the experts who act as mediators/speakers and facilitators of the whole process. The experts legitimize their position through an equitable and impartial attitude (“the honest broker”) in search of a wide consensus and adjust their intervention according to the stakeholders’ margins of flexibility in order to stimulate an agreement among the different viewpoints.

Undoubtedly, stakeholders’ bargaining power, which allows them to participate in the negotiation or precludes such participation, is the most delicate aspect of this approach. This is why it is important, from the very start, to activate a widespread effective media campaign and a search for partnerships. which are the two pillars of the process aimed at building weak and marginal actors’ capacity to negotiate.

Finally, this approach to the territory is based on the concept of an open process of diagnosis as a means to support the definition of a collective territorial project. Such a project (i.e. the Social Territorial Agreement) provides a new perspective to the management and prevention of problems arising from local competition over the use of and access to land and natural resources. These problems can, of course, be quite different depending on the context and the issues at stake in a particular geographic area.

The document is presented here in three languages, English, Spanish and Portuguese, in order to stimulate a group discussion between partners interested to Territorial issues.

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