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Forum global sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition • Forum FSN

Re: Online consultations for a knowledge sharing platform on resilience

Mike Jones
Mike JonesSwedish Biodiversity CentreSweden
Dear All,
I would like to pick up on a comment by Nancy White with regard to sense making and complexity. I use the sense making framework of Dave Snowden in my approach to understanding the kinds of hard to define problems associated with any environmental management project, of which food security in the context of climate change is an example. I wrote a article on this in relation to pastoralist systems in E. Africa Knowing what kind of system we are attempting to change has major implications for the design of policy and project interventions.
Similarly, I use Holling’s Panarchy as another sense making tool for understanding change in complex systems and wrote another article about this
My impression from the reports that I have seen about resilience building for food security in E Africa, suggests that much of the work being done is based on simple systems thinking and that in part at least, this is due to the accountability constraints of donors who need to know what has been accomplished by the expenditure of funds granted. Matching the needs of cost/benefit accounting with the demands of changing complex and unpredictable systems is challenging. It suggests that a four step approach is required in the design of resilience building projects for food security in the face of climate change:
1) what kind of system will the intervention be aimed at;
2) if its a complex system, then an assessment key drivers and thresholds that define desirable and undesirable trajectories of change using Holling’s Panarchy
3) participatory selection of a desirable future state for the system;
4) design a project around a theory of change to achieve the desired future state.
My background is in ecology, rural development, planning and complex systems a.nd I lead the resilience thematic group in IUCNs Commission on Ecosystem Management
All the best