An Assessment Framework is under development by the Institute and partners - UNEP, Equator Initiative and Partners, COMPAS Network - to capture and explore community wellbeing as it relates to ecosystems and biological resources. One objective of the assessment is the formulation of Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) policy recommendations from the community level (see Learning for the Practitioners - Benefit Sharing Perspectives from Enterprising Communities).
The framework hybridizes top-down and bottom-up planning processes. It seeks to report on general national wellbeing indicators such as food security, health, economic wellbeing, conservation efforts, political inclusion etc, whilst simultaneously facilitating communities’ determination of the basis of each assessment indicator (e.g. types and amount of staples consumed to achieve food security). This hybrized assessment seeks to foster greater relevance of policy driven goals at the community level. It is hoped that this process and the outputs might also facilitate more effective implementation of policy targets relevant to biodiversity and development.
Another objective of the Assessment exercise is the identification of community vulnerabilities, including those resulting from degradation of bio-cultural resources, and appropriate policy and practical measures required to reduce these vulnerabilities.
Several project components are underway. These include the following:
1. A survey study of factors that facilitate successful establishment of community based bioenterprises.
2. A toolkit on community wellbeing assessments is being developed with draft components available for testing by community based organizations and partners.
3. Testing of the Asessment Framework by various community sectors in various networks for the Framework's utility as a planning tool.
How to Participate
The project is open for participation and several tools are available for download.
Interested communities or organizations can participate as follows:
1. Facilitate a discussion within a local community (defined as a group of people connected to each other on the basis of shared activities and ecosystem, and may include several ethnic and social group), to assess their perspectives on wellbeing by utilizing the Framework. In the discussion, test the relevance of the indicators and parameters in the community's specific context and note feedback and suggestions for making the Framework more relevant to the local context.
2. Share the results of your discussion with UNU-IAS for compilation and wider dissemination.
3. Share the Assessment information with people and networks that might be interested in conducting a similar assessment.
4. Discuss your views and suggestions on such an approach in the soon to be launched Community Wellbing Forum.