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Natural Resource Governance around the World

Participatory and Negociated Territorial Development (PNTD). An approach to rural development

Written by: Paolo Groppo

Writing date:

Organizations: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Type of document: Work document


This document suggests an approach to Participatory and Negotiated Territorial Development (PNTD), and proposes concrete responses to the following challenges: improving trust between social actors, strengthening social cohesion and promoting systemic territorial development.

The appearance of territoriality in the current debate on rural development is not accidental. It is a response to the economic and social changes produced within each country, and in the political context of globalization. This responds to the need to adapt methodologies, instruments and activities to the new requirements imposed by these changes and undesired impacts. This debate promotes a different view of territorial issues and directly involves rural populations in the design of new development perspectives.

The actors define the territory in which they live or interact. The territoriality of the actors and the territorial vision helps to establish a common identity and favors the realization of their strategies and projects. In addition, the plurality of actors with different interests and values, and sometimes in conflict, influence the dynamics and interrelations within the common territory. Negotiation is the means to guide a dialogue towards an agreement. When talking about negotiation, we not only refer to the handling of conflictive situations but also to any process of seeking to harmonize the diversity of interests through dialogue.

Frequently, dialogue and negotiation between actors occur even without external support. In this sense, the negotiation process is supported on the basis of human rights and under the first article of the International Convention on Human Rights which establishes that all people have the right to their own determination.

Paolo Groppo

June 2019

The document is available on the FAO website through this link:

Table of contents


Table of contents

I. Rationale and Use

1 Failure of top-down approaches and the rise of bottom-up concepts

2 Current challenges in addressing rural development issues

3 Innovation – added values of the proposed approach

4 Objectives and target audience of the document

II. The process

1 The purpose of the PNTD approach

2 Basic characteristics of the process

3 Phases and key issues describing the process

III. A methodological approach for Participatory and Negotiated Territorial Development

Phase 1 – Views: Understanding the actors and the territory as a social product

Phase 2 - Horizons: Dialogue and proposals

Phase 3: Negotiation process: seeking consensus for the development of the territory

VI. Conclusion