Special Session: Bridging the research-management gap in the Natural Resources Management sector

The NRM Strategy and Implementation Plan for KwaZulu-Natal provides a Research Framework to bridge the gap between research and planning and management, with a focus on ensuring that research addresses the most important needs of the sector.  The interactive session unpack, rework and expand the Research Framework and priorities.

Research plays an important role in any sector, but due to the often, largely ad hoc approach, research frequently only addresses some of the sector needs. There is consequently a need to understand and share knowledge in a structured manner, to strengthen the mutually supportive relationship between research on the one hand, and planning, operations and management on the other. The focus, in this case being the natural resources management (NRM) sector, which has a key role to play in improving and maintaining our biodiversity assets.

The need to enhance the role of research was given effect by developing a NRM Research Framework as a component of the recently completed NRM Strategy and Implementation Plan (SIP) for KwaZulu-Natal. The Framework is structured according to five research thematic areas, namely: i) socio-ecological system dynamics; ii) land degradation; iii) livelihoods; iv) institutions, actors and governance; and v) decision support. The Framework intends to bridge the gap between research and planning and management, and the role of resource users across all three components. This can be achieved by making research more accessible, determining research needs and priorities, undertaking monitoring and evaluation (M&E) to feedback to research, and identifying and accessing funding.

This special session provides an opportunity to start implementing this component of the Provincial SIP by providing for the exchange of experiences and lessons from research, presented in-line with the Research Framework. The Framework will also be workshopped to develop an "action-based" way forward for enhancing its role and value to NRM, and thereby biodiversity conservation in the province. This builds on concepts that are run at a national level, such as the annual Management, Research and Planning (MaReP) sessions, and will be aligned with a similar process that is being run nationally.

The special session will commence with background to the Research Framework and its role in the Provincial NRM SIP. Guest speakers in any of the three components (research, planning and management) are invited to share experiences and lessons in a short, concise presentation, using the Framework to structure the insights. These will provide the opportunity for practical insights, understanding research incentives, links with the sector needs, coordination and existing challenges.

The KZN Research Framework stems from processes done for the Ntabelanga-Laleni Ecological Infrastructure Project (NLEIP) as part of a holistic approach to NRM. The Framework is structured according to five research thematic areas, namely: i) socio-ecological system dynamics; ii) land degradation; iii) livelihoods; iv) institutions, actors and governance; and v) decision support. The session requests an open call for guest speakers to submit an abstract to present on research within one of the thematic areas. The Framework will be circulated to potential speakers to provide guidance with respect the various thematic areas. 

The session overview and the practical examples will form the foundation of an interactive workshop component of the session, where the Research Framework with be unpacked, reworked, detailed and expanded with attendees. The aim will be to not only workshop the existing Framework, but to identify research priorities and actions for initiating coordination, using the Framework is a driving force.

The intended outcomes of the session will be i) a revised version of the Provincial Research Framework, with practical examples, lessons and inputs; ii) a clear, action-based way forward, with detail on priorities to incentivise research in the five thematic areas; iii) target specifications (i.e. universities, consultants, etc.) ; and iv) funding opportunities. The outputs and outcomes of the session will be made available in the research section of the KZN NRM Portal (website) which serves as the central hub for the SIP.

Open session – researchers and practitioners are encouraged to submit relevant presentations for inclusion in this session. Participation in the session during the Symposium is open to all. Submissions that cannot be incorporated into the session by the convener will be considered for general sessions in the remainder of the programme.

Navigate between Special Sessions
               | CLIMATE CHANGE
CO-MANAGEMENT
| GENETICS | ZONE OF INFLUENCE | RESEARCH-MANAGEMENT GAPPA VIABILITY |               
| INVASIVE SPECIESFUNCTIONAL DIVERSITY | MARINE PLASTICS
ELEPHANTS |