Integrating adaptation pathways with Seascapes governance in a resource-cursed Papua New Guinea

Dr James Butler1

1CSIRO Land & Water, Brisbane, Australia

 

Adaptation pathways is the practice of decision-making which sequences actions over time to account for rapid change and future uncertainty to achieve climate-resilient development. However, in developing countries pathways practice is hampered by a lack of stakeholder capacity and complex political dynamics, often driven by a ‘resource curse’ of super-abundant natural resources in global demand. In this study we re-focussed adaptation pathways practice towards addressing the systemic issues of politics in decision-making. We present the example of the Bismarck Sea in Papua New Guinea, which is a priority ‘seascape’ under the Coral Triangle Initiative due to its high ecological, cultural and economic values, and escalating tensions between private and public stakeholders who hold these values, caused by rapid resource exploitation. We used live examples of large scale development proposals (e.g. oil palm, tourism, seabed mining) as catalysts to expose current decision-making actors and mechanics, and the politics and institutions that shape them. We established a multi-stakeholder learning process around each development proposal to assess its potential implications for the seascape’s trajectory relative to stakeholders’ aspirational vision for the system, and the Sustainable Development Goals. This paper reflects


Biography:

James is a sustainability scientist with a background in agricultural economics and natural resource governance gained in southern Africa, Europe and Australia. He joined CSIRO in 2006, and is based in Brisbane as a Senior Scientist. His research analyses complex development problems in the Asia-Pacific, with a focus on regional security and climate compatible development. He applies concepts of social-ecological systems, resilience, transformation and well-being to explore alternative futures through participatory action research. James enjoys integrating the varied knowledge of science disciplines, communities and policy-makers to generate systems understanding, innovation and change.

Determinates of socially-supported wild-catch fisheries and aquaculture in Australia

Dr Karen Alexander1, Dr Kirsten Abernethy2

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

2Sea Change Consulting, Port Fairy, Australia

 

To secure the future of wild-catch and aquaculture fisheries, it is increasingly clear that, alongside effective and responsible management and production, building and maintaining societal support is vital. There are several recent examples in Australia where fisheries have been threatened, even shut down, by not having a ‘social license to operate’. This is despite having good ecological, economic and management credentials.

Drawing together knowledge from existing literature and an expert survey, we developed a strawman definition and a list of determinants of societal support. We then tested and refined the strawman against four Australian case studies using literature, media and key informant interviews. We identified 16 determinants of societal support ranging from external factors (which cannot be influenced, but which operations should be aware of) to inward- and stakeholder-facing (which can be influenced). Based on these findings, we developed a self-audit tool for use by operations to establish which determinants they should focus on improving. Overall, the determinants of social license are likely very similar across all industries. Social license is also largely based on perception, and therefore, what may be most beneficial is a regular perceptions survey addressing the determinates identified in this project.


Biography:

Dr Karen Alexander is a political ecologist with wide-ranging interests, centring on marine governance. Karen specialises in issues around the transition to a blue economy and her recent research at the University of Tasmania has focused on ocean and coastal conflict, societal support for sectors such as offshore energy and aquaculture, coastal ecosystem-based management, and marine spatial planning.

Integrating adaptation pathways with Seascapes governance in a resource-cursed Papua New Guinea

Dr James Butler1

1CSIRO Land & Water, Brisbane, Australia

 

Adaptation pathways is the practice of decision-making which sequences actions over time to account for rapid change and future uncertainty to achieve climate-resilient development. However, in developing countries pathways practice is hampered by a lack of stakeholder capacity and complex political dynamics, often driven by a ‘resource curse’ of super-abundant natural resources in global demand. In this study we re-focussed adaptation pathways practice towards addressing the systemic issues of politics in decision-making. We present the example of the Bismarck Sea in Papua New Guinea, which is a priority ‘seascape’ under the Coral Triangle Initiative due to its high ecological, cultural and economic values, and escalating tensions between private and public stakeholders who hold these values, caused by rapid resource exploitation. We used live examples of large scale development proposals (e.g. oil palm, tourism, seabed mining) as catalysts to expose current decision-making actors and mechanics, and the politics and institutions that shape them. We established a multi-stakeholder learning process around each development proposal to assess its potential implications for the seascape’s trajectory relative to stakeholders’ aspirational vision for the system, and the Sustainable Development Goals. This paper reflects on the applicability of adaptation pathways thinking for marine governance in developing countries.


Biography:

James is a sustainability scientist with a background in agricultural economics and natural resource governance gained in southern Africa, Europe and Australia. He joined CSIRO in 2006, and is based in Brisbane as a Senior Scientist. His research analyses complex development problems in the Asia-Pacific, with a focus on regional security and climate compatible development. He applies concepts of social-ecological systems, resilience, transformation and well-being to explore alternative futures through participatory action research. James enjoys integrating the varied knowledge of science disciplines, communities and policy-makers to generate systems understanding, innovation and change.

Can a heterogeneous community grant a social licence? Insights from an NZ survey on aquaculture

Mr Jim Sinner1, Mr Mark Newton1, Jaye Barclay1

1Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand

 

Social License to Operate (SLO) has entered the public discourse as industry, government and civil society actors contest the operations of resource-based industries. With governments referring to SLO as a necessity for investment, companies are responding with their own evidence base for SLO. Such evidence is supposed to indicate consent from ‘the community’, so it is important to understand how attributions of SLO are differentiated across the population. This is especially true in the marine environment, a commons whose communities of interest extend well beyond a single locality. In the first survey to measure marine SLO, we surveyed New Zealanders (n=86) about a specific aquaculture company and, separately (n=153), about the aquaculture industry. Respondents living near the named company assigned greater SLO than distal respondents assigned the aquaculture industry, and recreational fishers assigned greater SLO than non-fishers. Differences in SLO assignment reveal how companies could gerrymander the measurement of their social license by surveying only those likely to approve. At the same time, our findings can guide companies interested in genuine SLO and can empower concerned citizens to critique and resist inauthentic SLO claims.


Biography:

Jim Sinner is a senior scientist and team leader at the Cawthron Institute in Nelson, New Zealand. Active in both marine and freshwater environments, his research interests centre on critical enquiry into environmental governance, collective management of diffuse impacts and social licence.

On the promise and impossibility of a ‘best’ valuation framework for marine management

Dr Marc Tadaki1, Mr Jim Sinner1, Dr Charlotte Šunde1, Dr Shaun Awatere2, Dr Bruce Glavovic3, Dr Nick Lewis4, Dr Janet Stephenson5

1Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand

2Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Hamilton, New Zealand

3Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

4University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

5University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

 

Environmental valuation is widely promoted as a technology for marine governance. As standardized techniques for comparing social and ecological ‘values’, valuation methods (it is hoped) provide a logic for rendering decisions that transparently and legitimately balance economic and ecological concerns. Scholars have debated the theoretical and democratic premises of different valuation methods, and much has been learned about how valuation might be useful. Despite the hopes of practitioners, however, there will not – and cannot – be a ‘best’ valuation method that can overcome the messy problems of place, power, and ecological contingency. This paper draws on interviews and engagements with community leaders in New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds to show how and why a ‘best’ valuation framework is impossible. By conceptualising the moment of ‘valuation’ within its broader context, we show how valuation is inherently constrained by contestable choices about the bounding of the decision context, the pathways for community participation, and the vesting of decision making authority. Recognizing the impossibility of a ‘best’ valuation framework does not shackle the project of environmental valuation research so much as liberate it to enable practitioners to identify and rethink the often-invisible boundaries and effects of decision making frames.


Biography:

Marc Tadaki is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Cawthron Institute in Aotearoa New Zealand. His research examines the relationships between environmental decision making, scientific expertise, and democracy.

Indigenous and scientific knowledge to manage Aotearoa New Zealand’s marine estate

Dr Karen Fisher1, Dr Kate Davies2

1University Of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

2NIWA, Hamilton, New Zealand

 

The institutional arrangements to manage the coastal/marine space in Aotearoa New Zealand is highly fragmented and gives rise to contestations that are both spatial and temporal.  At present, the focus is on managing effects, including cumulative effects, across land and sea and regulating activities largely on a case-by-case basis.  Resource consents, marine consents and individual transferable quota act to secure access to resources for individuals and entities.  The assumption is that, by managing the effects of a particular activity, then cumulative effects are implicitly addressed.  Taken separately, these regimes go some way to regulating access and use of resources to ensure sustainability; however, in reality, there are numerous failures that prevent this from taking place. In this paper, I consider how science and indigenous knowledge (mātauranga Maori) intersect with institutional arrangements to address cumulative effects.  I focus in particular on the need to find ways to understand the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on sites and practices that have cultural, spiritual and metaphysical significance for Māori.


Biography:

Karen Fisher is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment, University of Auckland.  Her research focuses on environmental governance of freshwater and marine resources in Aotearoa New Zealand, the role of Maori in post-Treaty settlement arrangements, and Indigenous ontologies and epistemologies.

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