SPARE project partners met on 4-7 July 2016 in Allex, in the Drôme Region in France, to take part in a workshop on advanced participatory methods for river protection and management.

Six main methods were presented and practiced during the workshop: Monitoring & evaluation (M&E), Self Modelling for assessing Governance (SMAG), Wat-A-Game (WAG), Participatory modeling and simulation, Participatory Planning (COOPLAN), and Preparing Participation (PREPAR).

During the monitoring & evaluation (M&E) session, participants exchanged their views about the added-value and constraints of M&E. They discussed what the objective of the SPARE process in their case study site was and how to assess it. The second method, Self Modelling for assessing Governance (SMAG), is being experimentally developed and tested in the frame of the SPARE project. Participants were asked to draw a map of their river, identify the most significant changes which occurred in the management of the river over the past decades, and represent these changes, their causes and their consequences on a timeline. Wat-A-Game is a toolkit composed of simple bricks which allows to represent explicitly, through a role playing game, how water flows, how it is polluted, transformed, shared and used. Following a first manipulation of the toolkit, participants created and played their own game to represent issues on their river. Issues represented by SPARE partners related mainly to hydropower development, river conservation, ecosystem services and interlinkages among river uses (energy production, drinking water, canoeing, cycling, etc.). Participatory Planning (COOPLAN) is about building action plans for river protection and management. Concretely, it entails identifying objectives, selecting actions which could be implemented to reach these objectives and organizing these actions in space and time. Finally, the PREPAR method is about deciding who will participate, how and when.

On Wednesday afternoon, workshop participants discovered the Drôme case study site through a field visit.

written by Emeline Hassenforder, irstea