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Insiders versus outsiders: perspectives on capacity issues to inform policy and programmes

  • Year: 2009
  • Author: Robins, L
  • Journal Name: Local Environment
  • Journal Number: Vol.14, No.1
  • Country: Australia

This paper informs policy and programme development for capacity building within the context of decentralised governance arrangements by examining stakeholder perspectives about capacity issues. The capacity issues of Australia's network of 56 community-based Boards, governing each of its designated natural resource management regions, are explored as an arena of learning. The approach described facilitates stakeholders in considering capacity issues across human, social, institutional and economic dimensions and elicits a range of views about the nature of the issues. The paper provides a conceptual model for capacity building that proved a useful tool for supporting this process. The outcomes of workshop events with three key stakeholder groups in the Australian context are presented. The work indicates convergent and divergent perspectives about capacity issues between these groups, especially "insiders" (Board members) compared with "outsiders" (policy/research and Indigenous stakeholders). It suggests that policies and programmes (targeting and/or affecting insiders) developed by outsiders in isolation are not likely to address their issues. The need to collaboratively develop and implement capacity-building policies and programmes is emphasised, based on developing a broad, shared understanding.

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