Environmental water management's cultural imperative

Environmental water management's cultural imperative

Social and cultural values: Indigenous interests in water governance Dr Sue Jackson Principal Research Fellow Australian Rivers Institute Australian Rivers Institute Aim Describe the emerging models and mechanisms for including indigenous interests in water governance: Indigenous entitlements

Representative consultative groups Indigenous input to planning, EFAs Native title agreements (esp. mining) Indigenous water policy group Can these approaches help build resilient communities and ecosystems? Australian Rivers Institute Indigenous perspectives Excluded until this century, customary systems of water governance ignored Diverse and interdependent indigenous interests, not fully recognised

Indigenous advocacy rights orientation, calls for greater equity in distribution, inc. resource rights Indigenous control of water e.g. cultural flows more effective participation in management, inclusion of IK restoration of environmental systems A governance agenda - to influence law, policy, planning as well as research and renegotiate r/s Australian Rivers Institute Indigenous access to water: Geography matters Two very different contexts reflecting differences in climate, entitlements, water cultures, histories of

development Northern Australia tropical, under-developed, significant and relatively powerful indigenous sector strongly attached to intact, unregulated rivers Southern water scarcity, intense competition, lack of legal recognition of rights, smaller more marginalised populations, attenuated connections Affects claims and perceived legitimacy makes you think about water and power Australian Rivers Institute Indigenous Water Policy Group Many regard the NWI as an

important foundation, but a narrow one Indigenous input was minimal and awareness low NAILSMA set up the Indigenous Water Policy Group Members drawn from northern Land Councils, government agencies are connected Shared interests across north Australian Rivers Institute Model in capacity building, exchange, dialogue

One of Policy groups roles: Oversee development of research program to address issues arising from NWI Research team brought in extra expertise Identified research gaps e.g. customary management, economic requirements, legal frameworks Promoted cooperation And built capacity in agencies Australian Rivers Institute Very successful model of policy entrepreneurialism

Significant policy innovation - SIRs Tindal (Katherine) WAP introduced a limit on water extraction No Indigenous land within WCD, Native title pending Initially no allocations for Indigenous commercial use Strategic Indigenous Reserve was established Calculated at 2% of consumptive water, equiv. to claim area Precedent for other NT WAPs (25%) But, new government is opposed Australian Rivers Institute (CEO NAILSMA, IWPG)

The development of the Strategic Indigenous Reserve would include a focus on capacity building to support productive use of water, and, more fundamentally, increase Indigenous participation in water planning and land and water management more broadly' Australian Rivers Institute Prospects for resilient communities and ecosystems Indigenous presence shows resilience IWPG demonstrates quality of Indigenous

contributions to water governance Resilience scholars consider that local ecological knowledge constitutes a key analytical domain for SES research Australian Rivers Institute Resilience cont But, how social change is conceived is a limitation How well does it address normative issues resilience of what and for whom? does the resilience of some livelihoods result in the vulnerability of others? (Cote and Nightingale 2012)?

who governs, whose systems framings count, and whose sustainability gets prioritized (Smith and Stirling, 2010: 1) Focus is on institutions (getting the rules right) vs attention to politics and culture Move from attending to institutional configurations alone, and towards the processes and relations that support these structures Australian Rivers Institute Resilience cont Look at principles from the standpoint of differently placed/situated groups with different norms, values etc

Understand historical context and cultural differences Flexibility could mean anything goes Attitudes to risk open to review and change requires trust & that your needs are understood Australian Rivers Institute Resilience cont Deal with contested values overcome inequality Avoid narrowly framed models of social and environmental

priorities are all options on the table? e.g. re-allocation to indigenous groups Buy-back funds/trusts Water for Indigenous env. assets Australian Rivers Institute

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