The Interaction Indicators: What does this mean?
Agenda 21, adopted during the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, set out the objectives to attain sustainable development. It calls for the harmonization of efforts to allow the construction of sustainable development indicators. Indeed, knowledge on the environment is dispersed in reports, institutions, expertise and memory. None of the stakeholders - as individual or a group - has enough knowledge to solve a problem or address an issue that is collective in nature. The interaction indicators allow gathering together the profane and scientific know-how for better understanding of society-nature interactions. They identify anthropogenic pressures exerted on the environment, thereby offering opportunities to envisage the changing of use practices. Without denying the significance of ecological sciences, the regional programme gives primary importance to social sciences.
The local communities of the West Africa, their knowledge on the savannas, their relationship with the biosphere reserves, are at the centre of the project which implies the local know-how into the process of co-constructing interaction indicators. The interaction indicators therefore represent socially constructed tools whose purpose is to provide concise information about the way in which various phenomena have a reciprocal influence on one another, with the aim of communicating or taking decisions about such co-evolutions.