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Capacity building for adaptive management: a problem-based learning approach

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Capacity building for adaptive management: a problem-based learning approach
   PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE This article was downloaded by: [Royal Holloway University]  On: 2 June 2011 Access details: Access Details: [subscription number 935144575]  Publisher Routledge  Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Development in Practice Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713412875 Capacity building for adaptive management: a problem-based learningapproach  Jayalaxshmi Mistry; Andrea Berardi; Indranee Roopsind; Odacy Davis; Lakeram Haynes; OrvilleDavis; Matthew SimpsonOnline publication date: 20 April 2011 To cite this Article Mistry, Jayalaxshmi , Berardi, Andrea , Roopsind, Indranee , Davis, Odacy , Haynes, Lakeram , Davis,Orville and Simpson, Matthew(2011) 'Capacity building for adaptive management: a problem-based learning approach',Development in Practice, 21: 2, 190 — 204 To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/09614524.2011.543272 URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09614524.2011.543272 Full terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdfThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.  Capacity building for adaptivemanagement: a problem-basedlearning approach  Jayalaxshmi Mistry, Andrea Berardi, Indranee Roopsind, Odacy Davis, Lakeram Haynes,Orville Davis, and Matthew Simpson  As natural-resource issues become more complex, particularly in developing-world contexts,there is a growing need for adaptive management solutions. However, the skills necessary todeal with these increasingly complex situations are not always present in many low-incomecountries. There is also a growing recognition that many capacity-building activities arelimited in their effectiveness. This article suggests a problem-based learning (PBL) approachto capacity building. Using the example of training courses developed to help natural-resourcemanagement in Guyana, this article illustrates how PBL can help to enhance the capabilitiesneeded for adaptive management.  De´ veloppement des capacite´  s pour la gestion adaptive: une approche base´ e sur l’apprentis- sage par proble` mes Tandis que les questions relatives aux ressources naturelles deviennent plus complexes, en par-ticulier dans le contexte des pays en de´ veloppement, il existe un besoin croissant de solutions degestion adaptive. Or, les compe´ tences ne´ cessaires pour faire face a`ces situations de plus en plus complexes ne sont pas toujours pre´ sentes dans de nombreux pays a`faibles revenus. Onassiste e´ galement a`une reconnaissance croissante du fait que les activite´ s de renforcement des capacite´ s sont d’une efficacite´ limite´ e. Cet article sugge`reune approche base´ e sur l’appren-tissage par proble`mes (APP) pour ce qui est du renforcement des capacite´ s. Graˆ ce a`l’exemplede cours de formation mis au point pour contribuer a`la gestion des ressources naturelles auGuyana, cet article illustre la fac¸on dont l’APP peut contribuer a`ame´ liorer les capacite´ s requises pour la gestion adaptive. Capacitac¸a˜  o para gesta˜  o adaptativa: uma abordagem de aprendizado baseada em problemas Conforme as questo˜ es sobre recursos naturais tornam-se mais complexas, particularmente emcontextos de paı´ ses em desenvolvimento, ha´ uma necessidade crescente de soluc¸o˜ es gerenciaisadaptativas. Pore´ m, as habilidades necessa´ rias para se lidar com estas situac¸o˜ es cada vez maiscomplexas na˜ o esta˜ o sempre presentes em va´ rios paı´ ses de baixa renda. Ha´ tambe´ m um recon-hecimento crescente de que as atividades de capacitac¸a˜o sa˜o limitadas em sua efetividade. Esteartigo sugere uma abordagem de aprendizado baseada em problemas (PBL) para a capacitac¸a˜ o. 190 ISSN 0961-4524 Print/ISSN 1364-9213 Online 020190-15 # 2011 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/09614524.2011.543272 Routledge Publishing  Development in Practice, Volume 21, Number 2, April 2011  D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ R o y al  H oll o w a y  U ni v e r si t y]  A t : 12 :49 2  J u n e 2011  Utilizando o exemplo de cursos de treinamento desenvolvidos para ajudar a gesta˜ o de recursosnaturais na Guiana, este artigo ilustra como a PBL pode ajudar a aumentar as habilidadesnecessa´ rias para a gesta˜ o adaptativa.  Fortalecimiento de capacidades para una administracio´  n flexible: un me´  todo de aprendizaje basado en problemas  A medida que la problema´ tica de los recursos naturales se vuelve ma´ s compleja, en particular enlos paı´ sesendesarrollo, ha aumentado lademandadealternativas deadministracio´ n flexible.Sinembargo, en los paı´ ses de bajos ingresos no siempre se cuenta con habilidades para manejar sucreciente complejidad. Tambie´ n se piensa cada vez ma´ s que las acciones destinadas a fortalecer capacidadesnosiempresoneficaces.Esteensayoproponeunme´ todoparafortalecercapacidadesmediante el aprendizaje basado en problemas (o PBL por sus siglas en ingle´ s). Utilizando elejemplo de unos cursos de capacitacio´ n disen˜ ados para administrar recursos naturales enGuyana, el ensayo demuestra co´ mo el PBL puede fortalecer las capacidades que se requierenen una administracio´ n flexible. K  EY W ORDS : Environment; Labour and livelihoods; Methods; Latin America and the Caribbean Introduction Natural-resource management is a complex business. Today, in many parts of the world,particularly biodiversity-rich developing countries, we are dealing with increasingly dynamicecosystems, made even moresoprincipally as aresultofdirectandindirect humaninterventionsat a range of scales. The social systems that manage, depend upon, and affect these ecosystemsare also experiencing a shift away from top–down, single agency / community governance andare moving towards increasingly complex, multifaceted and unpredictable relationships andbehaviours among a wide range of stakeholders, from local to global levels. Current thinkinginnatural-resource management haslinked these two systems, naturaland social, into integratedsocial-ecological systems (Berkes and Folke 1998, Berkes et al. 2003), whereby there is anexplicitandintimateinterdependencebetweenthetwosystems(indeed,anecocentricworldviewwould state that the social is merely a subsystem of the ecological).At the same time, there has been a move away from expert-led approaches towards greaterparticipation of local communities (Pain 2004; Leal 2007), and more recently an emphasison stakeholders at all levels, in the form of co-management (e.g. Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2004; Armitage et al. 2007). At the heart of all this is the recognition that complexity,uncertainty, and change are inherent in social-ecological systems, and that many problemsemerging from these systems could therefore be described as ‘wicked’ (Rittel and Webber1973; Commonwealth of Australia 2007; Batie 2008). Several authors characterise a wickedproblem as an issue that manifests itself only as you try to engage with it and change it, andin the process the problem in turn changes; there is no definite solution that people couldaim at; no case history to draw upon; no right or wrong approach to take which would makeevery stakeholder equally happy; and there is no way to anticipate the consequences of people’s actions or environmental change. The best way to tackle a wicked problem is to con-stantly learn about the changing situation and adapt one’s goals, plans, and actions accordingly.Adaptivemanagement,orlearningbydoing,hasbeentheresponsetodealingwiththecomplexand unpredictable nature of natural-resource management and conservation issues (Gundersonand Holling 2002; Berkes et al. 2003). Being ‘adaptable’ requires a range of skills, as well as a  Development in Practice, Volume 21, Number 2, April 2011 191 Capacity building for adaptive management   D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ R o y al  H oll o w a y  U ni v e r si t y]  A t : 12 :49 2  J u n e 2011  knowledge base upon which to build (Mistry et al. 2009a). Key skills needed for adaptive man-agement include risk management, initiative, critical and systemic awareness, and reflectivepractice; and as the number of stakeholders or mistrust between those involved in managementprocesses increases, skills of negotiation, conflict management, and empathy becomeincreasingly important. As there have been calls for a significant shift away from top–downdecision making led by experts (usually foreign), strengthening local and institutional capacityfor adaptive management through enhancement of these skills can, as Rodriguez et al. (2006)point out, help people in biodiversity-rich developing countries to take the lead in findinglong-term sustainable solutions to their own natural-resource management and conservation / poverty dilemmas.Historically,capacitybuildingandtrainingactivities,thecoreofmanydeveloped-worlddonor-funded natural-resourcemanagement, conservation,anddevelopmentprojects and interventions,have focused much more on delivering a ‘product’ and trying to provide local people with ‘pre-scriptiveadvice’,ratherthandevelopingtheirabilitiestoworkthroughthewickedproblemsthem-selves (Kaplan 2000; Black 2003). Reasons for this include the short timeframe within whichmany of these projects run, thereby restricting innovative learning approaches and the develop-ment of ‘soft’ skills that evidently take time to develop, as well as the agendas of fundingbodies and researchers (see Mistry et al. 2009b). There is also a need for a change in facilitatorsmindset; with a move away from dependency on past solutions and trained behaviours, andinstead freeing participants to respond uniquely to unique situations (Kaplan 2000). Armitage etal. (2008)proposethatcapacitybuildingforadaptive(co-)managementshould‘createenablingconditions for learning which . . . involve a concern with issues of power, culture, institutions,worldviews and values’ (p. 96). Also, as Eade (2007) points out, real capacity is not built unlessit contributes to enabling participants themselves to change their own realities.One particular approach through which one can develop the soft skills necessary for adaptive(co-) management is Problem-Based Learning (PBL). PBL can be defined as ‘a developmentand instructional approach built around an ill-structured problem that is a mess and complexin nature; requires inquiry, information-gathering and reflection; is changing and tentative;and has no simple, fixed, formulaic, “right” solution’ (seehttp://www.samford.edu/ctls/pbl_background.html, nd). ‘Problems do not respect disciplinary boundaries’ (Pawson et al. 2006: 105), and as such, PBL requires a holistic and integrative consideration to the manage-ment and synthesis of knowledge. PBL and the use of scenarios in particular correspond directlywith the skills developed through a futures-orientated approach to education (e.g. Hicks, 2002).As with any learning approach, PBL has its strengths and weaknesses (see Table 1 in Pawson et al. 2006: 107), yet it can lay the groundwork for life-long learning (Dochy et al. 2003) whichin terms of capacity building for adaptive (co-) management is essential.In this article, we report on and discuss a capacity-building initiative developed within anintegrated conservation and development project focused on the North Rupununi region of Guyana. A PBL approach was taken to developing training courses for Guyanese staff working in local, district, and national organisations and for local indigenous communitiesto promote adaptive management of their natural resources. This is not necessarily a ‘new’approach, since it could be argued that traditional or indigenous knowledge is a form of adap-tive management, as the knowledge and skills have been acquired over time in response tochanging circumstances (Berkes et al. 2003). However, even for the most remote communities,regional, national, and global driving forces – whether they are locally-led economic develop-ment or foreign extractive activities, as well as global phenomena such as climate change – arebringing new challenges and stakeholders into the frame. The evolution of traditional adaptivemanagement practices, therefore, needs to be complemented and fortified with other forms of knowledge and skills.192 Development in Practice, Volume 21, Number 2, April 2011  Jayalaxshmi Mistry et al.  D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ R o y al  H oll o w a y  U ni v e r si t y]  A t : 12 :49 2  J u n e 2011  The context of the PBL courses The North Rupununi District, in south-west Guyana, is the homeland of the Makushi andWapishana peoples. The savanna, forest, and wetland ecosystems support an extremely highterrestrial and freshwater biodiversity (Wetlands Partnership 2006). Extensive biodiversitysurveys are limited in this region, but surveys undertaken have identified more than 400 fishspecies, which in turn supply a food chain to endangered species such as the Black Caiman(  Melanosuchus niger  ), Giant Otter ( Pteronura brasiliensis ), Giant River Turtle ( Podocnemisexpansa ), and recovering populations of the largest freshwater fish in the world, the Arapaima(  Arapaima gigas ). These species are not only important for conservation but also supply localpeople with a range of livelihood activities, including subsistence fishing, ecotourism, and theaquarium fish trade.However, Guyana is economically poor, and natural-resource exploitation through loggingand mining, particularly by foreign investors, is rapidly moving into the country, especiallyas resources become exhausted in other regions of the world. With this has come pollution,over-harvesting, irresponsible hunting, and unregulated or poorly regulated mining andlogging that are resulting in the loss of species in general, and more specifically in the destruc-tion of sustainable traditional livelihoods.Current land tenure in the area includes limited titled Amerindian lands, while most of theregion is carved up as state-owned forests, logging concessions, and conservation concessions.Many different stakeholder groups are concerned with natural-resource management within theNorth Rupununi: government bodies, non-government organisations, local communities,commercial interests, and individual people. However, the major issues restricting the propermanagement of the North Rupununi are limited (scientific) knowledge (in that traditional eco-logical knowledge is not taken seriously by non-indigenous stakeholders), high levels of poverty, chronic health problems, low levels of literacy, conflicting and overlapping roles of stakeholders, inadequate land rights for local communities, the current lack of legislation orappropriate legislation on natural resources, and the limited capacity for statutory agenciesand communities to monitor and uphold the law (Wetlands Partnership 2008a).An integrated conservation and development project, termed the NRAMP (North RupununiAdaptive Management Process), was developed to facilitate and build capacity for effectiveand appropriate natural-resource management to promote and sustain human and ecologicalhealth in the face of increasing social and environmental change (see Wetlands Partnership2008b for full details). The NRAMP is based on a number of key principles (see Figure 1)and promotes adaptive management by means of a ‘learning cycle’ approach. The cycle issimplified into five steps: goal-setting, observing, evaluating, planning, and acting. Goal-setting takes place according to stakeholder aspirations and through a process of negotiation.Background information is collected (observed) to help to set a baseline to determine whetherthe goals are achievable, and then this information is evaluated according to the goals. Futureactions are planned in order to support positive change or reverse negative change, and theseplans are put into action by allocating responsibilities and resources. Changes that are takingplace through action are observed and evaluated according to whether they are in accordancewith the agreed plans. The NRAMP involves continuous iterations between these steps. It hasbeen implemented for social and ecological monitoring in the North Rupununi, to support thedevelopment and promotion of local livehoods such as ecotourism, and for capacity building atschool, community, institutional, and postgraduate levels.Here we report on the community- and institution-level courses which build capacity forNRAMP implementation. (All materials for these courses can be freely accessed atwww.nrwetlands.org.gy.) The level of the community course needed to be appropriate for people  Development in Practice, Volume 21, Number 2, April 2011 193 Capacity building for adaptive management   D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ R o y al  H oll o w a y  U ni v e r si t y]  A t : 12 :49 2  J u n e 2011
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