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HOLDING THE RING IN REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT

HOLDING THE RING IN REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT

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HOLDING THE RING IN REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT

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  1. HOLDING THE RING IN REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT John Friend IOR (emeritus), South Yorkshire, UK ISSS 55, University of Hull July 2011 SIG on Systemic Approaches to Conflict and Crises chaired by Dennis Finlayson Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  2. HOLDING THE RING IN REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT John Friend Introduction – theory & practice Two regional contexts – Venezuela 2000 New Zealand 2009 Facilitating the Venezuelan workshop Facilitating the New Zealand workshop Contrasts between the experiences Reflections on learning points Relevance to interests of this SIG/ISSS - discussion Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  3. HOLDING THE RING IN REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT Introduction – theory A decision-centred approach to planning pioneered in IOR within the Tavistock Institute – especially useful for working across boundaries. known as the “Strategic Choice Approach” Introduction – practice Many varied applications over 4 decades: usually, group workshops using paper on walls can be complemented by informal small group sessions using electronic recording aids Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  4. THE VENEZUELAN STORY – A TIME LINE Aug 1997 Profs. Jorge Giordani & Elisenda Vila at Lincoln launch Dec 1998 Hugo Chávez elected President of Venezuela Giordani appointed Minister of Planning and Development Oct 1999 Rosenhead & Friend invited to advise on regional choices Dec 1999 Catastrophic landslides following exceptional rains Jan 2000 Rosenhead’s first visit – focusing on choices for Vargas state Mar 2000 Friend’s first visit including strategic choice workshop Apr 2000 Joint visit of JF with JR; further workshop on Vargas futures Apr 2001 Further joint visit including workshop with a new focus Apr 2002 Chávez returns to office after a 48 hour coup Mar 2005 JR/JF visit after Giordani reappointed – translations launched May 2005 Ana Maria, Elisenda report on community & policy workshops in UK at first meeting of OR Society Problem Structuring Group Dec 2006 JR & JF invited to opening of National Planning School 2007-2011 Further Rosenhead visits – focus shifts to electricity supply Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  5. TIMELINE OF MY FIRST CARACAS VISIT, 19-26 MARCH 2000 Sunday late evening arrival in Caracas Monday briefing by Minister Giordani witness to negotiation with another Minister on financial compensation for residents to be announced by President on TV that evening Tuesday Escorted tour of stricken coastal communities – on same day as Presidential visit Workshop invitations sent out by Vice Minister Wednesday First workshop session in early evening Thursday Morning summons to meet chief project engineer Second workshop session in early evening Friday Debriefing sessions Saturday Escorted visit to historic city centre before flight back to UK Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  6. 22 MARCH WORKSHOP – DRAMATIS PERSONAE Topic: reconstruction choices for Vargas State – in a crisis situation not predicted at time of my invitation Time frame: 1700 to 2000 hours Location: MPD offices Project sponsor: Vice-Minister Gustavo Buenaño for MPD Project agents: John Friend – lead facilitator (facilitation team) Jose Madrid – MPD strategy unit John Foley – UCV Ana Maria Benaiges – UCV - recorder Translator: uncertainty about role? Project hosts: emergency teams, project engineers, planning consultants, civil defence (20 invitedministries of planning, environment, Participants) military, cartography & other experts Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  7. 22 MARCH WORKSHOP – FINDING A FOCUS 8 decision areas from January workshop + 2 added after my local visit + 7 more added in workshop. Intense debate over reformulations. Stickers issued to participants – 5 each –for judging priorities Topic of heated debate: are choices still open in upper valleys? Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  8. 22 MARCH WORKSHOP –ALTERNATIVES EXPLORED IN GROUPS Five important areas of choice were agreed for exploration of options in groups. In each group, balance sheet of advantages of A vs B used to elicit key areas of uncertainty to be probed further. Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  9. 23 MARCH – MORNING VISIT TO CHIEF ENGINEER’S OFFICE Purpose: to persuade facilitators – JM and JF – that all options for change to scheduled river projects were already closed. 23 MARCH – RESUMPTION OF WORKSHOP Slightly reduced group of participants, with some additions – but chief project engineer absent Proposed process for this session: Adjustments to foci and groups to finalise (draft) proposals for action & exploration then merge into a specimen progress package Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  10. REFLECTIONS ON 22/23 MARCH WORKSHOP • brief glimpse of challenges & conflicts at a particular moment in a complex, evolving and politically charged drama precipitated by catastrophic flooding of communities living in steep parallel valleys • composition of group: bias towards expert advisers rather than policy makers – later corrected through follow-on workshop with senior managers in April, but level of engagement now less intensive • effects of working across languages - both positive and negative. Value of some Spanish terms e.g. paquete de compromisos • value of a running record compiled on a laptop by Ana Maria of the facilitation team, complementing the group’s photo-record Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  11. THE NEW ZEALAND STORY – A TIME LINE 1990’s Droughts exacerbate mounting conflicts among users of river water in Canterbury region of South Island 2002-8 Environment Canterbury commissions Canterbury Regional Water Strategy (CRWS) phases 1, 2, 3; a large volume of data generated. Also a large volume of opinion through use of “Open strategy” approach. 2009 Jan CEO of ECan discusses with Gerald Midgley at ESR ways of reducing complexity for a key meeting of his Steering Group planned for 22-23 February. CEO expresses interest in use of Strategic Choice Approach. 2009 Feb JKF visit to work with ECan team in planning and co-facilitating a 2-day strategy workshop 2009 Sep Target for publishing draft strategy after wide public consultation on strategic alternatives endorsed by steering group at our workshop Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  12. REFLECTIONS ON 23/24 FEBRUARY WORKSHOP • a brief yet pivotal event in a long-running programme in which an unwieldy amount of information had been generated through both technical investigations and political consultations • the steering group members represented sharply opposing interests - yet had already spent much time listening to and recognising the interests of the others • prior formulation of policy areas and tentative strategic directions by the CWMS management team had anticipated the workshop approach, and thus provided a valuable initial focus • language difficulties were minimal – limited to occasional misunderstandings through differences in vowel pronunciation • sensitivity to the need to accept Maori framework of Tangata Whenua as a parallel holistic frame of evaluation, rather than view it as reflecting the interests of one indigenous stakeholder group Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  13. INTERPRETING INTO A PROGRAMME FOR CONSULTATION Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  14. THE FOUR SELECTED STRATEGIC OPTIONS • “Continue to improve the current approach” • “Advance environmental protection before developing significant infrastructure” • “Reconfigure consents and infrastructure for protection and repair of the environment, improved reliability of supply and for development” • “Advance infrastructure with strong requirements for environmental repair and protection” Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  15. A RETROSPECTIVE JUDGEMENT “The shift we made from Open strategy to Strategic choice was pivotal in the success of the development of the CWMS. This was initially based on the recommendations from your book and then our discussions and finally on the engagement with John. I think that NZ is about to rediscover strategy development and there are very few people in the country who think in those terms.” CEO Environment Canterbury in an email to Gerald Midgley on his leaving NZ Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  16. WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS? Immediate: selected pages emailed to NZ from an IOR report of 1976 on working upwards and downwards between levels in UK structure plans 2009 Sep: draft strategy published after wide consultations 2010 Apr: Elected members of ECan replaced by six commissioners after period of political turmoil 2010 Sep: Severe earthquake strikes not far from Christchurch 2011 Feb: Further severe earthquake causes much loss of life and destruction of buildings in Christchurch city centre 2011 Jun: Series of aftershocks cause further destruction 2012: Despite these political and environmental shocks, workshop recognised as having generated an acceptable framework for future policy development Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  17. Some lessons after comparing experiences • Workshops can help in guiding policy development across boundaries as well as within organisations • Process-engaged and process-detached workshops offer different opportunities for facilitation and learning • Effects of brief process interventions in politically turbulent contexts are difficult (impossible?) to evaluate • Expect unpredictable disturbances – political, meteorological, seismic – both before and after an intervention • Nevertheless, diverse experiences are worth mining for lessons of potential future value • Language difficulties/challenges can offer a rich source of learning • Any initial learning points can be enriched by exposing them to further reflection and argument. Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt

  18. Some discussion points • Capturing lessons from diverse experiences – challenges and benefits? • How to build helpful frameworks for review? • What kind of problem focus – ser or estar? • Linkages between system structure and problem structure? • Creating academic contexts for action research and skill development – the IOR legacy and others? Holding the Ring in Regional Water Management - IOR2011RegionalWater.ppt