Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Talk at the Cradle-to-Cradle Network thematic seminar on Governance

The website of the Interreg project "Cradle-to-Cradle Network" has reported on the thematic seminar on Governance that took place in Leuven in July. Our Cycloop network was contracted by the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) for the perspective study on governance for cradle-to-cradle. The presentations of Johan Hovelynck and myself presented at the thematic seminar are available online.

The following was reported on the project website:

“It is clear from conversations during the last two days that ‘governance’ is in some ways less tangible than other C2C areas, such as product design, where one can set clear criteria to decide to what extent a product is C2C. In the C2CN project ‘governance’ was set up next to the other target areas, but it’s really an activity that cuts across the three other target areas.” Johan Hovelynck, Triagram.

Furthermore, Mr. Art Dewulf (Wageningen University) explored different approaches to governing change in a multi-actor perspective and presented a brief overview of corresponding lead-roles. Accordingly, he presented some initial findings on governance practices in domains related to environment and sustainability, close to the target areas in the C2CN project. To conclude, Art looked into organisational conditions for multi-actor governance, strategies of government actors and, finally, at some dilemma’s and tensions that seem implied in a governance approach."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Coping with ambiguity in natural resources management

An article by Marcela Brugnach (now at University of Twente), Hans-Jorgen Hendriksen, Peter van der Keur and myself has just been published on-line in the Journal of Environmental Management. On the basis of existing literature, and illustrated with the Guadiana case, we address the question of how to deal with the ambiguity resulting from the simultaneous presence of multiple frames in natural resources management.

This is the abstract:

Coping with ambiguities in natural resources management has become unavoidable. Ambiguity is a distinct type of uncertainty that results from the simultaneous presence of multiple valid, and sometimes conflicting, ways of framing a problem. As such, it reflects discrepancies in meanings and interpretations. Under the presence of ambiguity it is not clear what problem is to be solved, who should be involved in the decision processes or what is an appropriate course of action. Despite the extensive literature about methodologies and tools to deal with uncertainty, not much has been said about how to handle ambiguities. In this paper, we discuss the notions of framing and ambiguity, and we identify five broad strategies to handle it: rational problem solving, persuasion, dialogical learning, negotiation and opposition. We compare these approaches in terms of their assumptions, mechanisms and outcomes and illustrate each approach with a number of concrete methods.

Brugnach, M., Dewulf, A., Henriksen, H. J., & van der Keur, P. More is not always better: Coping with ambiguity in natural resources management. Journal of Environmental Management, In Press, Corrected Proof.