Participation of Portugal in the Theory of Change workshop
In the beginning of this year, we received with great enthusiasm the confirmation that Portugal was one of the three countries selected by the Promote Pollinators Alliance to participate in the Theory of Change workshop for the development of a National Pollinator Strategy.
What were your expectations?
Although Portugal has given important steps in the last years to improve the knowledge about pollinators and to promote dissemination activities about this fundamental functional group, we still lack a concerted initiative towards the conservation and sustainability of pollinators and pollination. Thus, the possibility to participate in this workshop is a great opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with an interdisciplinary team and with the guidance of international experts from Promote Pollinators Alliance and the Naturalis Museum.
The expectations are high. We hope that this workshop gives us a concerted background to propose and discuss concrete actions with targeted actors to protect and promote pollinators and pollination in Portugal. Personally, we would like to identify pathways that, in the context of Portuguese landscape and stakeholders, enable us to start developing actions. Therefore, we look at the documents that are being produced as key tools to trigger action. We also have the expectation that the documents produced would serve as the backbone of a future Portuguese Action Plan for pollinators.
What are your experiences so far?
The workshop has several steps in the way. We have just had the second workshop and are in the mid of the process, although we feel that we are far from the end. The experience is being enlightening. We are learning in all the steps and with all the participants, sharing views that were not fully understood or taken into consideration before. We are having the opportunity to talk about pollinators with very different actors and stakeholders and we are learning that although we use similar words, they do not necessarily represent the same concept for everybody. The process of identifying the impact statement has been challenging and has connected all the participants to a common goal. Yet, although the goal is clear, the pathway to reach it is difficult, but highly inspiring at the same time.
Have there been any surprises?
Although all the participants are overwhelmed with work, the opening and willingness to engage in the workshop has been surprising. This has multiplied the number of meetings between the participants as they want (and should) be part of the entire process.
How do you look ahead?
We sincerely hope to produce a tool that enables us to work at the national level with different actors and stakeholders and start acting! To start engaging actors from different areas of expertise, together with citizens, to take action is a challenge, but it is fundamental to protect and promote pollinators and pollination! We feel that at this moment there is great receptivity for this topic and having clear pathways (sooner or later) will enable to motivate changes.