The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) sought independent expert advice to co-design a long-term state-wide strategic framework to support Victoria’s regions to adapt to climate change.
We collaborated with DELWP to co-develop a Theory of Change for their ‘Supporting Our Regions to Adapt’ (SORAd) program; guidance materials to support the development of region specific Adaptation Plans in Victoria; and the monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement (MERI) framework for the SORAd program.
We used an iterative, co-design approach, which involved the RMIT research team – including the Australian Resilience Centre – the DELWP Adaptation Policy Team, and DELWP Regional Community and Partnerships Teams. The guidance materials aim to help users understand the complex drivers (ecological, social, cultural, political, ethical, economic, etc.) of risks and vulnerabilities, in order to build adaptive capacities in key ‘leverage points’ within a region.
Working through an understanding of adaptation as a multi-stakeholder, learning-based practice, the project’s theoretical basis included concepts and methods from adaptive pathways planning, transitions management, and systems and resilience thinking. As adaptation practitioners, policy makers and researchers this multi-agency, multi-disciplinary team recognised that we are actively creating adaptation through our work and relationships. We collectively acknowledged that our own frames, narratives and positions as ‘experts’ and influencers, in shaping the way decisions may be made that will have broader impacts.
The DELWP regions are now undertaking development of their regional adaptation strategies and annual adaptation action plans using the guidance materials. We are now working with some of them through those processes.