Regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) requires data for planning and evaluation decision making. The use of participatory monitoring data in regional decision making processes requires action to improve both the provision of appropriate data and the process for using data in decision making. This review provides an overview of existing participatory monitoring in the SAMDB NRM region and a situation analysis of the national and international experiences of using participatory monitoring data for decision making in NRM.
Many of the participatory monitoring programs reviewed do not currently meet all standards for usefulness in regional decision making primarily because they do not understand or prioritise regional decision making as a driver for the monitoring. This may in part be due to a failure of feedback from decision makers to monitoring programs about the usefulness of participatory monitoring data and the required changes to improve utility. NRM Board planning processes should provide feedback on the appropriateness and adequacy of monitoring programs. The engagement of participants in data provision for decision making should be an equal priority with the provision of support for participatory monitoring for purposes such as capacity building.