With Moragh Mackay, whose PhD research focuses on natural resource management (NRM) governance, I am helping to design and facilitate a systemic inquiry supporting innovation in NRM governance in the Corangamite Region of Victoria. Backed by a consortium of Landcare Networks, the Governance Project has conducted two workshops, and plans two more. We define our scope as follows…
Why governance? Every biophysical problem is also a social situation; every environmental crisis is a challenge to improve governance—the way the political, social and economic sectors make decisions and take action for the common good. Governance operates from national down to regional, sub-regional and local level. Each level has its practices and knowledge base. But do accountabilities and relationships help or hinder the contribution of each level?
The assumption is: We can do it better. We can work together better, and gradually improve practices and structural arrangements in NRM to make better use of resources and capacities.
Why a systemic inquiry? The Governance Project is a space for the science and practice of change in social systems. Systems thinking is a way to make sense of what causes what, for what purpose. A systemic inquiry supports people in a system looking at what is happening, designing a better way to do things, and learning as they put that into practice.
The assumption is: First solutions often reproduce a problem. You won’t shift a pattern until you change the habits, assumptions and structural arrangements that hold the pattern in place. Real change requires digging down to challenge those forces.