Purpose of the Toolkit
HighARCS has formulated an integrated action planning approach that cuts across disciplines and sectors, builds cooperation in the field and develops new forms of partnership with poor upland communities. The approach was designed to facilitate participatory and integrated policy development. It aimed to ensure that local needs were prioritised and incorporated with institutions responsible for different levels of planning and implementation. Researchers at all field sites worked in collaboration with local communities and stakeholder groups to facilitate a process of information-exchange and joint assessment and decision-making, and to promote shared accountability. Such a process was conceived to ensure continuity of appropriate and accepted practices after the project ended. A series of capacity-building workshops ensured that the project was inclusive of all marginal stakeholder groups, including women, young people and ethnic communities. Workshops brought together project managers and researchers from both Europe and Asia to share ideas and expertise, including learning about local cultural contexts and relevant gender issues in relation to local livelihoods.
To bridge the science-policy and science-practice interfaces, new knowledge originating from the HighARCS project has been made accessible to a range of stakeholders from farmers and the general public to natural resources managers and policy makers in appropriate formats. To enhance the legacy of the HighARCS project and facilitate the dissemination of Integrated Action Planning Practices (IAPPs) and outcomes globally, the online Wetland Resources Action Planning (WRAP) toolkit was conceived. The main purpose of the WRAP toolkit is to promote a systematic approach to integrated action planning and to provide a readily accessible suite of integrated wetland assessment tools and examples of outputs, together with insights from lessons learned during the course of the HighARCS project. The WRAP toolkit has been designed around the conceptual model of an integrated action planning process (Figure 1). Central to the WRAP toolkit is integrated action planning as a systematic process, consisting of integrated wetland assessments (2.1), integrated action plan formulation (2.2) and implementation and joint monitoring and evaluation (2.3). Principles to ensure an integrated approach throughout the process are presented (1) and examples of HighARCS project outputs are provided (3.1) together reflections and lessons learned (3.2), to better inform potential users concerning the opportunities and limitations to adopting such an approach.
Figure 1. Schematic representation of the HighARCS WRAP toolkit.
As a reader of the WRAP toolkit, you may have different entry points, concerns or roles with regards wetland assessments. You may belong to a local group of farmers or fishers who wish to take up some issue; you may be professional planners employed by local authorities; you may come from an international or a local NGO concerned about sustainable development; or having a concern from some different position. In the WRAP toolkit, the methods and tools given to allow stakeholder participation in the planning process are mostly intended for academic researchers or technical planners who are not familiar with such tools.