Responsible [ri-spon-suh-buhl] adj: answerable or accountable, as for something within one’s power, control, or management
Development [di-vel-uhp-muhnt] noun: the act or process of developing; growth; progress
Our environment is shaped not just by geography and bio-physical factors, but also by socio-economic, legal and political ones. ALERT therefore takes a holistic approach to conservation recognizing that our actions must address all these factors if our programs are to succeed.
By acting collectively the stakeholders of Africa can combine expertise, knowledge and funding to generate real, long-lasting, cost efficient and responsible solutions that are reflected in policy of national governments all the way through the structure of society to the actions of the individual.
Too often conservation efforts have been implemented using a broad brush approach. A particular solution may have been relevant to the location in which it was developed, but elsewhere a seemingly similar challenge can be fundamentally different in origin and require an adapted response. Responsible development promotes the implementation of locally conceived solutions that benefit from the experience of schemes successfully implemented in other locations.
Systems based & cooperative solutions
In nature each environment acts as a complex system comprised of many parts. Air, water, plants, animals, and, of course, people are all part of an inter-connected system. Using a systems thinking based decision making framework allows us to consider the impacts of our actions on the whole system. Such decision making can only be undertaken through co-operation between all stakeholders with their varied view points, and understanding, of the system.
Unless conservation solutions are relevant to the needs and aspirations of communities who live on the land they will have little reason to support them, and the solutions will ultimately falter. Programs are often donor driven and research often only meets the requirements of a PhD thesis. Responsible development promotes community involvement in all aspects of conservation from design and implementation to ongoing reviews of the success of the program – an element often given little heed.
Long term solutions
Responsible development seeks to promote the appreciation of the need for long term solutions in a short-term world.
The African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) is dedicated to the facilitation and promotion of sound conservation and management plans for the African lion (Panthera leo). By means of a responsible development approach we aim to realize the species’ potential to provide substantial social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits.