Dialogues science and civil society, an original experiment in the Boeny region, Madagascar, since 2021

#Dialogue Science Civil Society , #mangrove , #protected areas , #CRGIZC , #Madagascar , #Debate

Two science-decision-maker dialogue workshops were held at the Roches Rouges Hotel in Mahajanga, on the theme of Mangroves, on 14-15 December 2021 and 7-8 April 2022, the third workshop in Ambato-Boeny on 24-25 May 2022 was devoted to the flooding of the Betsiboka River, and the fourth will take place in mid-September 2022 in the Marovoay region on the silting up of irrigated perimeters upstream of the Betsiboka Delta. 

The sessions, which varied in form (30 people in the room for two days or 20 people in the field for two half-days in the room), were recorded, transcribed in Malagasy and then translated into French and are currently being analysed using computer software for processing public debate (AREN platform developed in Madagascar thanks to the post-doctoral work of Antsa NIRINA AVO, a Malagasy mathematician trained at the University of Fianarantsoa).

The material collected is very rich, partly because the dialogue was conducted in Malagasy, alternating presentations, debates and group work. The tone is very free, with criticisms or the highlighting of misunderstandings and blockages to be overcome. This allows us to deconstruct what we mean by "dialogue" and "participatory". The sequence of several sessions makes it possible to increase mutual knowledge and, gradually, trust, and to build priorities in the chosen themes.

The challenge is to enhance the value of these exchanges between scientists, representatives of ministries, members of the CRGIZC and the Boeny Region, mayors of the communes concerned by the river and its delta, NGOs and universities, in order to build development alternatives, solutions to problems and projects to be submitted to donors, based on shared diagnoses.

Workshop 1: Mangroves of Bombetoka

The first Dialogue on the theme of the Bombetoka mangroves brought together 22 people in a room for two days in Mahajanga, half of whom were from the CNRE-IRD and the other half from the CRGIZC and Mahajanga institutions involved with the Betsiboka delta.

On the basis of explanatory maps (land use, islets, commune boundaries, etc.) and scientific presentations, the workshop made it possible to exchange and debate the representations of mangroves in the space of the estuary and in the history of the appearance of islets and their colonisation by mangroves, as well as collect perceptions of the dynamics and uses, while developing a shared vocabulary (DIDEM/Deltas-Madagascar Report No. 5) 

22 people met for two days in a room in Mahajanga, half of them from the CNRE-IRD and the other half from the CRGIZC and the institutions of Mahajanga involved with the Bombetoka Bay


Workshop 2: Mangroves in Coastal Protected Areas

The second Dialogue, on the theme of mangroves in coastal protected areas, brought together more than 30 people over two days. The four coastal protected areas presented their problems, a great opportunity to exchange on the common issues faced by the managers of these PAs. Other issues suggested by the Boeny Region were discussed in 5 groups: mangroves, fisheries, maps for decision making, watershed and delta hydrology, taxation, and resulted in recommendations (DIDEM/Deltas-Madagascar Report N° 9).