Stakeholders of the project intervention area are different groups from the Andean society that directly or indirectly benefit from páramo goods and services, principally its biodiversity, its water (consumption, irrigation and energy generation) and its area for productive, cultural and recreation activities. Other stakeholders are different levels of government whose policies affect páramo. During the PDF-B phase of the project, all principal stakeholders were identified, contacted and formal or informal commitment obtained for the execution of the full size project. A detailed list of stakeholders contacted during PDF-B is provided in Annex 6. The project’s approach is fully participatory which means that the direct stakeholders will participate in the design, the execution and the monitoring and evaluation of the project. In general, the local stakeholder alliances, the PIM and the informal and formal replication mechanisms are platforms for the validation of project activities by the opinion of all stakeholders.
Farmers in the PIS9 - This is the main stakeholder group of the project since they are using páramo for their subsistence through their agricultural activities within the páramo and directly below páramo using water of páramo for irrigation. These farmers cause high pressure on the páramo but at the same time constitute the major potential allies for conservation activities. The project will support them by identifying alternative livelihood options and by technical capacity building, but the project might have an initial negative impact on this group as well, since conservation activities are likely to affect the extension of crop growing and animal husbandry which is not directly compensated for by alternative livelihood options. Representatives of farmer communities and individual farmers (man and women) were consulted regularly during the PDF-B phase, not only regarding the elaboration of Action Plans for the PIS, but also regarding activities at national and international level, such as the preparation of the policy, training, environmental education and research activities. During project execution, farmers , organized in farmer communities, production cooperation and irrigation boards will participate in all activities as well, being the leaders of the PMP and the main target group of the training and the communication components.
Local Governments - The link between páramo biodiverstity conservation and water regulation makes páramo conservation directly related to local decision making. During the PDF-B, local governments of different levels (municipal, provincial) at the PIS participated directly in, and in some cases even coordinated, the elaboration of the action plans and participated actively in the preparation of the policy and training components as well. Since most potable water services and hydroelectricity generation is administrated by local governments, their interest is both political as economical. Their involvement in the project will be through their participation in local stakeholder alliances at the sites, and they are the main target groups of component two (policy), three (training) and four (communication) while local governments at higher levels and in other areas will participate intensively in the formal replication mechanism of component five (replication).
Local NGOs - Local conservation and development organizations, having a longer history in páramo management at the site and likely to continue their activities after the end of the GEF project, have coordinated in most cases10 the elaboration of the plan of action at the PIS, and participated in the elaboration of the other components. During execution, they will in most cases coordinate the local stakeholder alliances of component one (site management) and be a part of the main target group of component three (training). Local NGOs in other areas will participate in the replication mechanism of component five. Existing networks and platforms of organizations (e.g. páramo working groups, NGO coalitions) will be actively involved as consultative groups in project execution.
Private sector - Producer groups or individual commercial companies using páramo are likely to be affected by páramo conservation activities (forestry, animal husbandry, potato production, mining, tourism). They were contacted during the PDF-B phase at local level (action plans) and at national level (policy development). They will be included in project execution in component one (site management) and in component two (policy) as beneficiaries of productive sector policies and as users of codes of conduct. A continuous discussion with the private sector within local stakeholder alliances will be established to assure a positive impact of the alternatives for them. A special role is given to private companies with a natural resource conservation interest (private reservation owners, bottled water companies, forestry industry).
Ministry of Environment (GEF Focal Point) - The GEF focal points are in all four countries the national authority for water and biodiversity management. 11During the entire project execution (preparation, PDF-B, implementation) the focal point is always informed and strategies are discussed and agreed upon with the ministries at central level. At local level they participate in planning activities (especially in areas where there is a relation with protected areas), in order to strengthen páramo management with project activities and to increase the area of impact of the project through replication in protected areas and buffer zones. Local personnel of the national park system form a main target group of component three (training). The focal points belong to the main target group of the policy component and are benefiting directly from the information provided by research activities and of PIM.
Other governmental sectors - Representatives of other sectors (agriculture, forestry, mining, etc.) were identified and contacted during the policy activities preparation of PDF-B, and participated in the design of different other components (education, site management). They will be formally included in local stakeholder alliances of component one, they are the main target group of component two (codes of conduct) and will be included in the formal replication mechanisms of component five.
National and international NGOs - Other environmental organizations with activities in páramo at national or international scale were contacted through páramo working groups and/or during the project design in the PDF-B phase. They will participate in the project execution through the coordination of complementary projects in component five and through the interchange of information in component four.
Farmers in lower areas- Those farmers, which are not directly living in páramo, but cultivate lower areas, are in many cases dependent on water regulation from páramo for irrigation of their crops. During PDF-B, effort was put on identifying and including different local organizations at watershed level (irrigation boards and second-level farmers and indigenous organizations). They are a target group of the environmental education and awareness raising activities of component four and likely will profit from policy decisions for farmers higher in the watershed. They will also be affected by regional planning schemes originating from component five.
Civil society - Urban and rural population that uses páramo resources (potable water, agricultural produce, scenic beauty through tourism, etc.) benefits from good páramo conservation. They will participate in the project as a target group for the awareness raising activities of component four by which a broad social platform for páramo conservation will be created. They also will be consulted regularly in the process of the development of policy options and instruments that might affect them directly or indirectly and for which willingness to pay and/or collaborate has to be improved (payment schemes for water, market development for sustainable produce).