Abstract: New governance approaches are required to navigate local to global scale social-ecological change, and to address a growing problem of "fit" (e.g., spatial, temporal) between biophysical systems and governance systems. Multi-level, collaborative and adaptive governance arrangements are emerging in response to this problem, although slowly and in a geographically patchy manner. Research in two aquatic systems — the Upper Mackenzie Basin, Northwest Territories and the Tam Giang Lagoon, Central Vietnam — will illustrate how we can approach the problem of fit by linking communities with regional and national-level actors, fostering the co-production of knowledge crucial to understanding and monitoring social-ecological change, and by shortening feedback loops between observations of abrupt change and policy response. These cases also show how emerging governance arrangements can lead to a novel reallocation of rights and responsibilities, and support opportunities for shared learning and adapting.
Bio: Derek Armitage is an Associate Professor in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo where he leads the Environmental Change and Governance Group (http://ecgg.uwaterloo.ca/). His research interests center on the human dimensions of environmental change and the formation of adaptive, multi-level governance systems. The problem of "fit" is a central interest — how governance systems and institutions can better match the dynamics of biophysical systems, with a primary focus on coastal/marine contexts. His publications have appeared in such journals as Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Global Environmental Change, Ecology and Society, and International Journal of the Commons. He is co-editor (with Fikret Berkes and Nancy Doubleday) of Adaptive Co-Management: Collaboration, Learning and Multi-Level Governance (UBC Press, 2007) and co-editor (with Ryan Plummer) of Adaptive Capacity and Environmental Governance(Springer-Velag, 2010). He has served as a consultant on a variety of projects for government agencies in Canada (Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, OMNR, Alberta Environment), the Global Environmental Facility (World Bank), ADB and IADB. He is a Senior Fellow, Earth Systems Governance project, and Adjunct Professor, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba. Currently, he is acting as the Governance Working Group Leader for the Community Conservation Research Network (http://www.communityconservation.net/) and the Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Climate Change Adaptation (http://parca.uwaterloo.ca/).