Managing a territory of life: Questions for a grassroots discussion

Territory of life ‘management’ encompasses all the actions taken to care for it, as well as to maintain and realize benefits from it. This usually includes a variety of activities, directed and informed by governance decisions, that include surveillance and enforcement of rules, harvesting and caring for natural resources, and monitoring and on-going evaluation of results. Management activities are often laid-out and described in a management plan (or its equivalent) which can be adjusted over time to respond to changes and lessons learned.

Management is about what is done to reach specific objectives. It usually concerns a set of activities and the means of carrying them out. Learn more!

While the #resilience and security tool includes some basic questions on territory of life management, the facilitation team may wish to accompany the community to have a more in-depth discussion and understanding on this important topic. The guiding questions below can help in this effort.

Management Plan

  • Is there a (written or oral) management plan in place?
  • Is the plan fully informed by our community’s knowledge and experience?
  • Does the plan respect our community’s decisions and vision for the territory of life?
  • Are management activities and their results/impacts monitored?
  • Is the management plan integrated with broader plans (e.g. land use planning at municipal or district level) in a way that enables the contributions and needs of the territory of life to be recognized and addressed?

Human and technical capacities

  • Are there enough people engaged in managing the territory of life and– in particular– are they able to enforce the rules agreed by our community?
  • Do they have the skills and equipment they need to effectively implement the management plan?
  • If not, could they be trained or otherwise acquire those skills and equipment?

Resources and contributions

  • Are currently available resources and contributions able to meet the management needs of our territory of life – e.g. volunteer time, contributions in kind, infrastructure (boat, car, cell phones), funding?
  • Is the source of these resources and contributions secure and sustainable?
  • What could be improved with more, or more appropriate, resources?

While a community role in governance is necessary for a ‘defined’ territory of life, a community role in management is not.

Some custodian communities choose not to manage their territories directly. This could be for technical, legal or practical reasons.  In all cases, however, direct or delegated effective management of a territory of life is necessary for a community to build and maintain its sustainable self-determination. It is thus important to understand how the management is done, including the knowledge, skills and human and financial capacities on which it depends.