JICA Ogata Research Institute



How Can We Mitigate Power Imbalances in Collaborative Environmental Governance? Examining the Role of the Village Facilitation Team Approach Observed in West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Researchers have focused on collaborative governance as an effective measure to realise sustainable natural resource management through the participation of various stakeholders. However, the literature has indicated that issues such as power imbalances tend to undermine the effectiveness of collaborative governance. Powerful actors represented by the government tend to control collaborative processes and produce benefits for dominant groups, while less empowered local communities are often deprived of opportunities for livelihood improvement. Although numerous researchers have analysed the key factors that influence the processes and outcomes of collaborative governance, few have identified a concrete measure to reduce the risk of failure, particularly when managing power imbalances in developing countries. This study explored a methodology to address the power imbalances in collaborative governance based on a case study of a participatory peatland fire prevention project implemented in West Kalimantan Province, Indonesia. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaire surveys conducted with project participants suggested that measures such as establishing a joint team of government officers and villagers, providing a common facilitation training programme, training villagers as facilitators, promoting equal knowledge sharing, and allowing villagers to make their own decisions mitigated the power imbalances between the two groups.

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