Collaboration Exercise Through Prototyping for Promoting Climate-smart Land Use Practices

Participants, speakers and facilitators during ACLP Module 3 workshop. Photo: GIZ/Diella Dachlan

The third module of the ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP) was divided in two. Module 3A took place on September 21-22, 2021, concentrating on the theme “Strengthening Personal Connection with the System”; and Module 3B took place on October 11-12, 2021, focusing on the theme “Collaborating with Others on Prototyping”.
All sessions in Module 3 were centred on the practice of Theory U, within the context of the Change Project in promoting the implementation of climate-friendly and resilient land use practices guided by ASEAN policies and priorities.

Module 3A workshop underlined the importance of building relationships with stakeholders to enact change, using the landscape-based approach as the only way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The programme aimed to help the participants exercise the necessary skills to conduct a sensing journey, experience the organization, challenge and system through the lens of different stakeholders by listening to stakeholder mindsets, personal challenges, and existing practices in the field, before jumping into a conclusive solution for a particular problem.

Module 3B workshop underlined the prototyping practices translating a concept into an experimental action model. In Theory U, prototyping allows an individual or group to explore the future after establishing a connection with the source (presencing), and clarifying a sense of the future they want to emerge (crystallizing). Through active observations and engaging discussions in each session, both participants and speakers acquired new insights into bringing climate-smart land use concepts closer to the planning and managing stages.

Introduction to the sensing, presencing and prototyping journeys

Theory U is a central concept in the design and conduct of the ACLP programme. It is a change management tool that can be used beyond the Change Project. In this module, participants learned to familiarize themselves with the theory and put it into practice.

In Module 3A, the participants were introduced to the sensing journey by Mr Andre de Wit, the ACLP facilitator. His key point was the importance of listening and observing the system closely. The participants learned to hold back their judgement or cynicism while talking with stakeholders. They also learned to observe how relationships and interactions occur with the people they are interviewing in the sensing journey.

The participants conducted the sensing journey by interviewing stakeholders via virtual platforms due to COVID-19 restrictions on meeting in person. The interviews were designed to collect data from the field and better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by stakeholders dealing with the issue closely. The exercise aimed to practice skills that advance the participants’ awareness of the different aspects of a system, including hearing voices from marginalized groups. It enhanced the participants’ understanding of stakeholder perspectives in the system, and improved the connection between stakeholders and participants, thus better obtaining ideas for a prototype. After gaining a better understanding of the issue from the stakeholders, the participants learned about presencing and prototyping in Module 3B.

The next stage was brainstorming ideas while clarifying the intention of the prototype. The participants learned to prototype an agreed area of action based on the feedback generated by the empathic and generative conversations with the relevant stakeholders. The final prototype can be in the format of lessons learned in the current practice, actionable plans, or a completely new area of intervention that is useful to promote change related to smart land-use regional priorities.

Stakeholder engagement

Mr Cristopher Lomboy from RARE spoke about the importance of engaging stakeholders to create collective and joint actions to overcome challenges and obstacles to initiating changes in a community. Participants must build a trusting relationship to address complex issues in social, institutional, and environmental areas. He emphasized the importance of co-ownership and co-creation of workable changes in a community.

It is important to build long-term interactions with the stakeholders by using comprehensive and coherent sets of strategies. To keep that engagement sustainable, participants should consider presenting and communicating ideas in consideration of diverse expectations and ways to fulfil them coming from different groups of stakeholders. Participants could also use six behavioural levers as a tool to help influence and reinforce change: information to achieve plausible deniability; rules and regulations to change behaviour; social influencers to create actual social proof; choice architecture to create a structure of the context, timing and presentation of options to influence a decision; material incentives to make it easy for people to engage in the project; and an emotional appeal to engage stakeholders in the projects.

Mr Lomboy also touched on his experience in private sector engagement during the programmes he initiated. He learned to listen to corporate interests, understand where they were coming from, and whether the value exchanges benefit the affected communities.

Climate-smart forestry and agriculture

Module 3 allowed participants to bring together the leadership and technical components of promoting climate-smart practices in land use sectors. Dr Rex Victor O Cruz, Professor and UP Scientist III, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), spoke about how forests matter to climate change because they are the largest carbon storage of all biomes. Deforestation annually contributes 11 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A growing population causes deforestation which increases demand for food, wood-based products, water, and energy, impacting changes in land uses. Forested areas are now being converted to agriculture, brushland, housing, and urban areas.

Forests can either sustain or impair the function of agriculture and urban areas. For instance, a healthy forest supplies clean water and creates biodiversity necessary for soil fertility and productivity. The low risk of soil erosion and abundant clean water from forests can create a safe, secure, and healthy urban area. On the other hand, any destruction in a landscape affects the overall condition of the landscape. Because of rising sea levels or tidal floods in urban areas, there is a demand to expand and relocate the uninhabitable areas to upland areas with a high risk of biodiversity loss, increase in soil erosion, GHG emissions, and the like.

Due to this interconnection, Dr Cruz reminded policymakers to stop neglecting the role of the landscape approach in sustainable development, especially in its climate mitigation and adaptation potential.

Initiating a successful initiative: ANGA

Participants learned to recognise a successful initiative that is relevant, right, revolutionary, and rationally effective. On behalf of the Department of Agriculture in Thailand as chair of the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN), Dr Margaret Yoovatana presented the successful initiatives of the network in establishing the ASEAN Negotiating Group on Agriculture (ANGA).

The formation of ANGA directly contributes to the ASEAN Food and Agriculture (FAF) Strategic Plan 2025. ANGA continues to shape the joint position of ASEAN in the agriculture sector in international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Last year, ANGA submitted a multi-country proposal to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) from the Southeast Asia region. The proposal concerned a readiness fund and enhancing investment in agriculture. Through the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), ANGA was able to submit its proposal and is now in the fine-tuning stage. Collaboration with all sectoral actors, coordinators, internal protocols, and political support made this submission happen. For more information, please visit: About ANGA.


The ASEAN Climate Leadership Programme (ACLP) is an initiative led by the Climate-Smart Land Use (CSLU) ASEAN project in collaboration with the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). The programme is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammernarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.