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Participatory Mapping: Evaluating Practice in Caribbean Small Island Developing States

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  • Tombolo Maps & Design

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Participatory mapping is a form of intimate cartographic collaboration with communities that takes advantage of their unique local and traditional knowledge in decision-making processes. Having demonstrated its benefits in a myriad of subjects and locales across the globe over the past twenty-five years, participatory mapping is currently being recognised as a valuable tool to approach the impacts of climate change. Its worth stems from the holistic combination of scientific and local/traditional knowledge and its bridging of the gap between top-down and bottom-up approaches. By uniting these knowledge types, participatory mapping can fill a significant gap in addressing issues like the impacts of climate change, and it can further involve and engage stakeholders in decision-making processes. Participatory mapping has been used in 68 percent of the Caribbean, with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago tied for the most projects as of 2015. This research developed a survey to gather information on participatory mapping in Caribbean SIDS and then compiled a collaborative database of projects, and an associated bibliography of publications, that promotes the transferring of ideas between practitioners. This was supplemented by the creation of a flexible and adaptable best practice methodology, which advocates for accountability and strengthened participatory processes. With this, Caribbean case studies were tested and evaluated to determine their conformance with the established best practice. Finally, a conceptual framework was designed that combined the key research themes of participatory mapping and climate change. By integrating participatory mapping into the climate change framework, it validated the importance of local/traditional knowledge and illustrated how, in combination with scientific data, it can be used to address climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. The significance of these results is their value to connect and educate practitioners, encourage best practice in Caribbean SIDS, and embolden the use of local/traditional knowledge in the face of climate change impacts.
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Maps communicate our experiences about the landscape and are, therefore, ideal tools for negotiating disagreements over land-based resources. In managing resource conflicts, maps provide the opposing parties with the medium and tools to realize their priorities in cooperation or competition with each other. Maps are also assertions of power, and state maps were instrumental in conquering native lands in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. However, critical reviews of the Cartesian concept of mapping in the nineteenth century challenged beliefs that projected cartography as an objective science confined to professionals. The critiques created openings to redefine the map’s historical importance to highlight alternative mapping methods. Today, digital technology has transformed mapping from the art for a few cartographers and empowered non-state actors and communities with little or no background training to map their lands. The chapter discusses participatory mapping and distinguishes it from conventional and collaborative mapping practices. The chapter then reviews how digital mapping technology has improved participatory mapping and enhanced PGIS applications in conflict mitigation.
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Participatory mapping is a human practice that spans thousands of years. From oral storytelling to the first hand‐drawn maps, participatory processes and methods have always been used in cartography and planning and yet the term “participatory mapping” did not become popular until the 1990s. For many practitioners, participatory mapping can be used to broaden access to spatial data and technology for socially and economically marginalized groups to facilitate decision‐making. Activists use participatory mapping to protect indigenous and experiential knowledge and advocate for local knowledge to reshape policy and foster normative behavioral change around land‐use concepts. From conservation and natural resource management, to rural or urban planning, to social and environmental activism and advocacy, participatory mapping is an important tool to understand the production of spatial knowledge.
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The impacts of climate change on the development prospects of least developed landlocked countries and small island developing states.
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The goal of our paper is to characterize challenges and offer potential solutions for structuring collaborative research that benefits conservation, based on our collective experience as foreign and local scientists conducting collaborative research in small island states. Specifically, we draw upon presentations by the authors and discussions amongst an international audience of marine scientists at a symposium of the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC3) around the question: “What does on-the-ground best practice look like for effectively co-producing cross-border marine research in small island states?” Our discussion builds on broad guidance of the UN's SAMOA Pathway (General Assembly resolution 69/15), an output of SIDS Conference 2014, and takes into account international statements on cross-border research integrity⁵. The IMCC3 symposium was predominantly attended by foreign scientists collaborating in small island states, so we primarily offer experience-based advice for applied researchers in this community. We do, however, include key information and actionable recommendations (see Table 1) for local research communities in small island states, and for funders. Recommendations are made in the following areas, identified through thematic analysis of symposium discussions: (1) aligning priorities; (2) building long-term relationships; (3) enhancing local capacity; and (4) sharing research products. 1. ^http://aosis.org 2. ^The vulnerability of small island states to environmental change became a focus of the United Nations (UN) International Year of Small Island Developing States in 2014 (General Assembly resolution 67/206). 3. ^General Assembly resolution 69/15, SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway, A/RES/67/15 (14 November 2014). Available online at: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/69/15&Lang=E (Accessed July 22, 2015). 4. ^General Assembly resolution 67/206, International Year of Small Island Developing States, A/RES/67/206 (21 December 2012). Available online at: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/67/206 (Accessed July 19, 2015). 5. ^e.g., The Montreal Statement—Agreed at the 3rd World Conference on Research Integrity, this non-binding document sets out responsibilities for managing collaborations, collaborative relationships, and research outcomes. 6. ^www.sids2014.org 7. ^http://eca.state.gov/fulbright 8. ^www.gov.uk/government/groups/the-darwin-initiative 9. ^www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkba_NG0dGs 10. ^http://catlinseaviewsurvey.com/
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Winner of the 2010 James M. Blaut Award in recognition of innovative scholarship in cultural and political ecology (Honors of the CAPE specialty group (Cultural and Political Ecology)). Decolonizing Development investigates the ways colonialism shaped the modern world by analyzing the relationship between colonialism and development as forms of power. Based on novel interpretations of postcolonial and Marxist theory and applied to original research data. Amply supplemented with maps and illustrations. An intriguing and invaluable resource for scholars of postcolonialism, development, geography, and the Maya.