Wetlands are one of the worldâ€™s most important environmental assets which experience complex challenges. Wetlandsâ€™ sustainability require meaningful participation of the riparian communities in their management, yet this remains a challenge. Yala Wetland is a very important resource whose key challenges revolve around land and water resource use for competing interests and from catchment degradation. Consequently, action research was conducted to assess level and effectiveness of Yala Wetland community participation in Yala Strategic Environmental Assessment and Land Use Plan processes.
The Spectrum Model revealed wetland communities participation in SEA/LUP processes was at Inform (17%) and Consult (83%) levels while the measure of effectiveness on 10 indicators was poor (20%) and unsatisfactory (80) thus not meaningful and effective. Consequently, Yala Hub Framework was developed to improve community participation, occasioning significant improvements in the final Yala LUP (consult 80% and collaborate 20%) and effectiveness moved to satisfactory and good. The Yala Hub also led to a community- led governance framework and an equitable benefit sharing mechanism of wetland resources. Thus, effective community participation determines and influences effective implementation of decisions made and that increased participation will eventually increase the effectiveness of community development.
Keywords: Participation, Yala Hub Framework, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Land Use Planning, Wetland