The developing IUCN Natural Resource Governance Framework (NRGF) is a knowledge basket with the goal and purpose of strengthening the assessment of governance and improving decision-making. Governance is important as it is a critical factor in both effectiveness and justice in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development efforts.
The NRGF is being developed around a set of core, regionally validated governance values and principles and diverse components to support assessment and decision-making. Understanding and addressing power lies at the core of this approach.
At the IUCN Council meeting in October 2015, the PPC commended the significant progress that CEESP has been made in developing the NRGF within a relatively short period of time. The PPC noted the work carried out to date and supported the modular and regional approach for future work as outlined in the report presented. In addition, the PPC recognized that further institutional support and dedicated fundraising is required and recommended that the development of the NRGF remains a high institutional priority in the lead up to the WCC and over the 2017 -2020 Programme period. Following the CEESP SC meeting in November, CEESP proposes to continue to place governance at the heart of its programme priorities. This will be presented to members at the World Conservation Congress in 2016. Impressively, to date over fifty percent of contributions to the NRGF development have come from volunteer contributions of CEESP and WCEL members and partner organizations. This amounts to over 1280 expert volunteer days. Several partner organizations have provided small grants or made in-kind contributions to the NRGF. In 2015 partner organizations, these included the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA) who provided financial and in-kind support for NRGF WG and partnership meetings. The PPC also supported the need to strengthen the one Union Approach which not only recognizes the inclusion of relevant parts of the union but also linking resources to responsibility. Read the NRGF Brief by IUCN Councilor George Greene on the One Programme Approach. This is consistent with the approach developed by the NRGF. Outreach has included most regional offices and many IUCN programmes and CEESP remains committed to collaboration.
The regional approach focuses on learning and reflective governance analysis that aims to understand current practice and support its improvements through a process of co-creation of knowledge with end-users. This enhances legitimacy, credibility and potential for early uptake. In the NRGF scoping regions the WG has engaged with the regional offices and a diversity of partners, including university researchers and NGOs. In 2013-2014 exploratory meetings were held with the regional offices in South East Asia, Eastern and Southern Africa and Mesoamerica. In 2015 concerted efforts were been made to build on these relationships and strength opportunities for collaboration. In Eastern and Southern Africa, the NRGF co-hosted a workshop on a governance inquiry guide with the regional office. This guide supports both assessment and better decisionmaking through inclusive listening and learning approaches. This meeting was well attended by IUCN members in the region. The NRGF WG also hosted a governance round table with regional members for the regional office. ESARO was among the invitees to the Addis Ababa Technical Meeting (June 2015) and Southern African partnership meeting (October 2015). In Asia, the NRGF working group focal point has been in discussion with ARO and the Mangroves for the Future to identify common sites for governance analysis. While in Mesoamerica the NRGF Focal point is developing a process for building on outcomes from NRGF work agreed to and led by CEESP and ORMACC respectively.
The four modules under active development are: strengthening understanding and implementation of rights in governance, legal assessment (led by WCEL), communications and partnership engagement; and strengthening capacities and capabilities. Considerable effort has been invested in strengthening the conceptual framing and the regional situational analysis work will be complemented by a survey of governance work of IUCN in the second quarter of 2016. In addition, an agreed set of conceptual papers will be written in 2016.
A CEESP-led Working Group of over 35 members leads technical development and provides a platform for engagement across the Union. There are regional leads for each region or sub-region in which activities are underway. The WG includes key secretariat members including the Gender and Social Policy Advisors, a member of the IUCN Global Policy Unit, and the Environmental Law Centre. Commission members of the working group come primarily from CEESP but include members from the World Commission on Environmental Law and the Commission on Ecosystem Management
In 2016, we look forward to building on these positive outcomes and strengthening the One Programme approach, the delivery of planned outputs and the further mapping of the NRGF.