Stakeholder analysis (SA) is a powerful tool for policy analysis and formulation, and has considerable potential in natural resource policy and programme development. It is an approach for understanding a system, and changes in it, by identifying key actors or stakeholders and assessing their respective interests in that system. It has been developed in response to the challenge of multiple interests and objectives, and particularly the search for efficient, equitable and environmentally sustainable development strategies. This paper reviews the underlying concepts and methods of SA and the underlying links between economic efficiency, equity and environmental concerns. It examines the particular characteristics of natural resources management (NRM) which make it particularly appropriate for the application of SA: these include multiple uses and users of the resource; unclear or open access property rights; temporal trade-offs; the presence of externalities; and imperfect markets. It discusses a classificational system which distinguishes between conflicts and trade-offs, and briefly reviews parallel methodological developments, including cost-benefit analysis (CBA), decision analysis, conflict resolution and social actor perspectives, and suggests areas of complementarity. A number of key issues are raised in the review that have implications for the future direction of SA. These include: the areas in which SA has particular relevance; its value to NRM policy-makers and others in overcoming trade-offs and conflict; the different levels and circumstances in which it might most usefully be applied; and its potential for representing the interests of different groups, including the most disadvantaged, as the basis for interventions. The paper highlights some research and methodological needs directly relevant to natural resource managers and intended beneficiaries, namely: (a) acquiring empirical knowledge and understanding of the key stakeholders involved in the process and the factors governing their resource allocation procedures; (b) developing improved systems, frameworks and methodologies for analysing situations and incorporating stakeholder and institutional concerns; (c) developing knowledge of the opportunities and scope for action by policy-makers and facilitators in the design of interventions and the resolution of conflicts.
Agricultural Systems – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 1997
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