Define motivations and objectives of equity within the context of the problem:
1. Clarify ethical motivations and how this may shape the way we identify the problem, the process and decision.
2. Identify the diversity of potential issues concerning equity at the outset, particularly the opportunities that might arise from instigating, exacerbating, or ameliorating conflict.
3. Determine which dimensions of equity are important given the objectives and the context. Given the tools and available data, which of these are tractable.
Plan for a diversity of stakeholders and objectives:
4. If stakeholders are involved in the decision process, be sensitive to potential conflict. Be aware of potential biases and limitations of the processes of elicitation and negotiation.5. Determine the implications for equity of targets and objectives, and decide how to manage objectives that might be less measurable (though no less important).
6. Use informed and appropriate metrics of equity and efficiency carefully within planning and prioritisation (if this matches your objectives for equity).
7. Consider what you are asking stakeholders to do and whether this adequately compensates and incentivizes them for the duration of the intervention.
8. Consider decision models that allow a level of uncertainty due to self-determination.
Ensure equity is achieved during implementation:
9. Monitor and rigorously evaluate equity objectives during implementation, particularly when conservation actions rely on volunteer participation.
10. Expand, modify, or restrict the intervention as required.
We believe there is a big opportunity for conservation decision-making to be guided by these principles of ethical pluralism, particularly in the design of more holistic measures and methods for assessing equity. There is also scope for a better understanding of the preferences stakeholders hold for equity, as well as how policies achieve equity in practice (ie, applied ethics).
Although incorporating equity into conservation decision-making adds a layer of complexity to an already challenging process, embracing this complexity will result in better more enduring conservation outcomes.
Created with images by Göran Höglund (Kartläsarn) - "Peru - Machu Picchu" • Jens Lelie - "Forking forest path" • Anna Jiménez Calaf - "untitled image" • mckaysavage - "Peru - Machu Picchu 095 - feeling the power"