01 | A strategy for excellence

Organisation. Island Government of Gran Canaria – Department of the Environment
Date. December 2014
Location. Gran Canaria
Project. Environmental Strategy for forest zones 2015-2019


The Department of the Environment of the Island Government of Gran Canaria is responsible for the management of protected areas and forestry, hunting, environmental education and public use of the island. Its scope of work covers more than 40% of the island’s territory, with more than 65,000 hectares (160,600 acres) of protected areas and woodlands. This large, protected area coexists with one of the highest population densities in Spain.

The opportunity

The Department wanted to establish a shared strategy to improve internal coordination for its technical team of more than 35 people, and to provide a better response to the management needs of the territory it administers.

The solution

The starting point was to establish a vision that would set the course: the Island Government aimed high and opted for excellence: “To be an excellent public service, which manages the territory and its biodiversity in a sustainable way and joins forces with society in a shared and inclusive project”.

From this starting point, they took the bull by the horns, and we opened a participatory process to every level of society, whereby, with just a blank sheet of paper, we asked what society actually required from the Department of the Environment. There was a clear response, summarised in 6 points that ended up becoming the Department’s 6 strategic objectives for the coming years:

(1) Responsible management
(2) To work together within a framework of permanent participation
(3) To have appropriate rules
(4) To have a natural environment we can enjoy, learn about and know how to value and take care of
(5) To have, conserve and make the most of a natural environment
(6) To have a natural environment we can live from by conserving it

Based on this strategic framework, the Department reviewed its structure to bring it into line with these objectives. An Action Plan that included 43 actions was established and an Improvement Team was set up to drive its implementation and to come up with a series of priority first-step actions.

The Improvement Team is still active today and continues to address the priorities of the Department and to adapt the Strategy to emerging needs as and when they arise.


Leadership for Sustainability, Participatory Processes

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