Citizens for biodiversity

In addition to governments and companies, citizens also make an important contribution to the development, conservation and protection of nature and biodiversity, both as individual consumers and through social organizations and local initiatives. In doing so , they also have the potential to contribute to larger-scale transformations towards a sustainable society. In line with historical examples where committed citizens self-organized to protect natural resources and natural landscapes. However, at current moment, knowledge is lacking under what conditions citizen involvement may contribute to substantial system change beyond local effects.

The “citizens for biodiversity” project develops an overarching perspective on socio-ecological interactions from citizens and their contribution to the transition to a nature-inclusive society. Using the “Theory of Change” approach, we aim to develop effective strategies and tools to make optimal use of the change power of citizen involvement. Together with Dutch NGOs (IVN and Stichting De Noordzee), we formulate a “Theory of Change” for each organization, based on the vision and strategies of NGOs to work towards transformational change and scaling up of. In current times of decentralization and bottom-up approaches, authorities aim to strengthen their relationship with citizens and consumers. While in practice, such collaboration is still a difficult process (Mattijssen, 2018; Van Dam, 2016), evidence amounts that for scaling up and scaling out of citizen involvements, collaborations between state and non-state-actors is crucial (Buijs et al 2018). That is why policy and science demand attention for the importance of the institutional context in which citizen involvement takes shape (eg de Wilde, Hurenkamp, ​​and Tonkens 2014; Buijs et al. 2016). The ultimate aim of the project is to develop action-oriented suggestions for governments, NGOs and businesses and develop marketable products for national and international interdisciplinary projects. With this, the project contributes to strengthening the contribution of citizens for biodiversity to a transition to a nature-inclusive society.

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