Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Andrea Olive (University of Toronto)
Session Abstract: Policy practitioners and scholars across the globe are grappling with many complex challenges posed by human impacts on the environment and climate change. There is increasing recognition by public policy and administration scholars and practitioners that complexity and uncertainty must be central to both theory and practice. In many policy areas ‘adaptiveness’, ‘resiliency’ and ‘networks’ have become core concepts. This panel focuses on the enduring complexity related to many environmental policy challenges that are multi-disciplinary, multi-level, multi-sector, multi-agency, and multi-actor. The papers in this panel focus on various approaches that are being used to advance knowledge and practice in complex cases at the global, transboundary and domestic scales. Papers in this panel cover new approaches to overcoming implementation challenges associated with international agreements, environmental governance indicators and science-policy networks. The papers will also cover new approaches to diagnosing and advancing scholarship that focuses on ‘speaking truth to practitioners’ and more fully engaging practitioners in knowledge creation and mobilization to improve policy implementation and outcomes.
Complex Environmental Governance: Applying Water Governance Indicators in the Great Lakes Region: Carolyn Johns (Ryerson University) Abstract: Across the globe, many jurisdictions are grappling with how to improve governance of the environment and water. This has resulted in efforts by policy practitioners to embrace complexity and improve outcomes. Since 2015, the OECD has been working on a framework of 12 water governance principles, with the intent of understanding and improving water governance. In 2017-18, the OECD developed and pilot-tested 36 water governance “indicators” (WGIs) within 12 OECD jurisdictions at various scales (national, basin, regional, and local) and released its report at the World Water Forum in 2018 urging other jurisdictions to use its WGIs to assess water governance and improve outcomes. Given that some 40% of the world's population lives in transboundary river and lake systems, this paper reports on the results of a research project which adapts and applies the WGIs - for the first time - to the transboundary context in the Great Lakes region. This paper presents findings from the application and analysis of the OECD water governance indicators to the Great Lakes case using voluntary self-assessment by 40-50 experts and key stakeholders. The paper reflects on whether the OECD’s WGIs provide a suitable means for assessing the adaptiveness of water governance systems in a transboundary context; the value of using governance indicators in complex environmental systems; and if governance indicators can be the foundation of better integration of scholarship and practice related to complex governance and public administration systems.
Water Crisis and Management in the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo: Can Water Governance Indicators Shed New Light on the Way Forward?: Debora VanNijnatten (Wilfrid Laurier University ) Abstract: Water management in the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo Basin presents managers on both sides of the border with an extremely challenging context; while it has one of the fastest growing populations on the continent, the Basin hosts one of the most endangered rivers in the US, with droughts and heat waves shrivelling both surface and groundwater sources. Clearly, current management approaches have failed to adapt governance systems with changing environmental and human needs. Given the current state of water crisis in the region, it is important to understand why governance and policy regimes in these areas have not been able to cope with the impacts of population growth, agricultural uses, changing consumption and production patterns, and climate change. This paper presents findings from the application and analysis of the OECD water governance indicators to the Rio Grande-Rio Bravo case using voluntary self-assessment by 40-50 experts and key stakeholders. The paper reflects on whether the OECD’s WGIs provide a suitable means for assessing the adaptiveness of water governance systems in a transboundary context and the value of using governance indicators in complex environmental systems, particularly those in crisis.
Policy Implementation Issues in Addressing Global Agenda 2030: Gordon McBean (Western University) Abstract: Canada and most countries have agreed to the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, collectivity called the Global Agenda 2030. This global strategy covers all aspects of our world and are complex agreements to implement. For example, the Agenda for Sustainable Development has 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 Targets. Implementation in Canada, and other countries is complex in terms of environmental policy and governance across different levels of governance, as well as geographically and in terms of political support. There have been international and national responses. Canada has formally signed these 3 international agreements, but federal leadership and support from the provinces has been mixed. There is also the need to address internationally coordinated and national scientific programs, improve related assessment processes, and improve how the science community, across all social, natural, economic, engineering and other disciplines can take a transdisciplinary approach to more effectively work together to address these policy issues, advise governments and all Canadians. As a former ADM at Environment Canada and head of a university-based institute, the author of this paper outlines the implementation challenges, how well investments in university-based science-focused research networks (related to many environmental issues) have aligned with these policy agendas, and whether the federal government's new 'institute approach' will improve work at the science-policy interface, policy implementation, and policy outcomes related to these complex issues.