Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainability Research Program

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1 Socia Sciences and Humanities Research Counci of Canada Nationa Round Tabe on the Environment and the Economy Consei de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada Tabe ronde nationae sur environnment et économie Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program Advice on Capacity and Knowedge Needs, Research Agenda, Executive Committee Nationa Round Tabe on the Environment and the Economy to the Socia Sciences and Humanities Research Counci October 2002

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary Advice from the NRTEE: The Need to Invest in Human Capita for Sustainabiity Advice from the Consutations: Program Objectives, Research Agenda and Design Needs 2 Recommended Objectives for the Nature and Society Program 2 Recommended Research Focus and Agenda 3 Advice on Program Needs 4 1 Background 7 2 Advice from the NRTEE: The Need To Invest in Human Capita for Sustainabiity 7 3 Advice From The Consutations: Program Objectives, Research Agenda and Design Needs Recommended Nature and Society Program Objectives: Focus on Capacity and Knowedge Advice on Nature and Society Research Focus and Agenda Context Research focus Proposed Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Agenda Living in Nature Integrated Governance Stewardship and Innovation in the Pubic and Private Sectors Advice on Program Needs Capacity Buiding Knowedge Deveopment Research Communication and Knowedge Transfer Partnerships 16 Appendix A: Participants 17 September 9, 2002 Experts Advisory Group 17 June 21, 2002 Preiminary Consutation 18

3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In March 2002, the President of the Socia Sciences and Humanities Research Counci (SSHRC) invited the Nationa Round Tabe on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) to organize a high-eve expert advisory process to advise on the design of a arge-scae research program focused on the socia, economic, ega and cutura aspects of environment and sustainabiity issues. SSHRC requested advice on the knowedge needs of key stakehoders, the scope and foci of a research agenda, and the most appropriate research approaches for the program. In coaboration with SSHRC and Environment Canada, 1 the NRTEE convened two advisory meetings in the summer of 2002, gathering knowedge users from severa eves of government, industry and civi society aong with sustainabiity research eaders from academe Advice from the NRTEE: The Need to Invest in Human Capita for Sustainabiity The NRTEE has carried out muti-sectora work in a broad range of appied environment and economy programs for many years. It is thus acutey aware of the need to improve Canadian capacity and knowedge transfer in the fieds of environment and sustainabe deveopment, in order to better support awareness, decision making, management and governance in these areas. Infuentia socia, economic and ecoogica trends present fundamenta new questions for Canadians. These trends are chaenging our understanding of how best to manage human impacts on nature and how best to govern and make decisions. For exampe, we must now simutaneousy accommodate: escaating signas that human activity has outstripped ecoogica carrying capacity and the resuting need for profound changes such as the de-carbonization of the economy; a disconnect between the economic signas offered by our fisca and nationa accounting systems and the accumuating, but uncounted, ecoogica deficit; continuing uncertainties in ecoogica knowedge and understanding, requiring adaptive management approaches and the appication of the precautionary principe; rapid technoogica evoution that sometimes creates new hopes and sometimes new probems; a growing gap in environmenta vaues between Europe and North America, and ongoing North/South divisions; and competing and sometimes differing centres of power for taking action on sustainabiity within the Canadian federation. Is Canadian society equipped to meet this immense chaenge? And are we confident that we have the knowedge needed to emerge as a winner? Our frank response to this question must be no we have 1 Environment Canada co-funded the NRTEE-ed consutations with externa stakehoders, and conducted a parae interdepartmenta consutation with federa government departments, which wi be reported on separatey. 2 See Appendix A for meeting participants. Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 1

4 more knowedge to gain and much more work to do. We simpy do not have cear and widey accepted answers to very basic sustainabiity questions, incuding many that ie in the socia sciences ream. Supported by major pubic investments in recent budgets, 3 significant advances have been made in our knowedge of the biophysica underpinnings of sustainabiity, and innovative new technoogies are emerging to reduce our environmenta footprint. However, to date, no simiar strategic investment has been made in buiding the socia knowedge and capacity that is just as essentia to success. An investment in human capita wi be a key eement in buiding Canada s capacity to meet the sustainabiity chaenge. As a resut, the NRTEE supports the aunch of a SSHRC program focusing on nature and society. 1.2 Advice from the Consutations: Program Objectives, Research Agenda and Design Needs Two advisory meetings convened knowedge users from severa eves of government, industry and civi society aong with sustainabiity researchers from academe. Their views form the basis for the foowing observations and advice on the focus and design of the proposed Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research program. Recommended Objectives for the Nature and Society Program The consutation identified two categories of human capita requiring deveopment and investment: capacity buiding to generate a cadre of highy educated professionas, managers and researchers for depoyment into a sectors of society (in universities and beyond); and knowedge deveopment to buid the basis for sound, evidence-based decision making. Capacity buiding: the transition to sustainabiity requires a professiona workforce awyers, administrators, economists and panners, educators, marketers and researchers with a sophisticated grasp of issues, exposure to interdiscipinary schoarship, taent for socia innovation and training in change management. New and expanded financia support and academic resources are required for graduate students focusing on the socia science aspects of environment and sustainabiity issues. The goa woud be to make graduate work in this fied financiay competitive with graduate work focusing on the natura science aspects of environment and sustainabiity, and to meet current demand for graduate admissions. Knowedge deveopment: Socia science research is needed to better inform decision making and to expore best practices (in the pubic and private sectors and in civi society) in inking the environmenta, economic and socia aspects of sustainabiity. In particuar, expanded knowedge is needed to address the sustainabe deveopment impementation gap evident within a sectors and at a eves of society. This research shoud emphasize innovation and rea word appication. The recommended objectives for the Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research program can be summarized as foows: the program shoud be designed to address the growing needs of the pubic, private and civi society sectors for more and better socia science and humanities-oriented 3 For exampe, the Sustainabe Deveopment Technoogy Fund, the Canadian Foundation for Cimate and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Cimate Change Action Fund. 2 Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

5 capacity and knowedge on environment and sustainabiity issues. Specificay, the program shoud inform decision making and best practices in the pubic and private sectors, as we as in civi society, by: deepening understanding of socia, ega, economic, manageria, ethica and cutura aspects of environment and sustainabiity; supporting the formation of highy trained professionas, managers and researchers for depoyment across society; supporting high-quaity issue-based research that emphasizes innovation and rea word appication, and the fundamenta and theoretica research to underpin this appied work; promoting the transfer of this knowedge among researchers, research partners, poicy makers and other stakehoders within Canadian society; and where appropriate, extending and deveoping research partnerships invoving the pubic, private and not-for-profit sectors. Recommended Research Focus and Agenda SSHRC funds four categories of programs: investigator-driven research, targeted research, advanced research training, and research communication and knowedge transfer. The foowing advice assumes that investigator-driven research and other funds wi continue to be avaiabe to researchers in the environment and sustainabiity fieds whose research interests do not fit within the targeted research agenda proposed beow. Sustainabiity is an issue of goba concern the word knows no ecoogica boundaries, and poitica and economic boundaries are fading. Impementing sustainabiity presents a sectors of society with simiar questions, issues and chaenges. The Nature and Society program shoud therefore fund both domestic research and internationa research, the atter especiay where internationa agreements, institutions or directions are infuencing domestic poicy, or where comparative anaysis can revea best practices. The research themes shoud be reevant and appicabe to a actors in society individuas, community groups, Aborigina peopes, pubic poicy decision makers and private sector managers; individua research projects coud use any one or more of these actors as subject or audience. The research scope shoud incude both evidence-based research to support and inform more effective governance and decision making, and fundamenta and theoretica research, where this is connected to the ong-term needs of research and poicy deveopment at the practica eve. Three custers of issues emerged as research priorities for the Nature and Society program. These themes were considered to be reevant for governments of a eves (oca to internationa), for private sector firms in various sectors and stages of sustainabiity eadership, and for civi society organizations, community-based initiatives and individuas: Living in nature: What is the interdependence between human and natura systems? How woud human society need to change in order to ive in baance with nature, and what are the reative roes of technoogy, institutions, cutura vaues and individua behaviour in achieving this baance? Integrated governance: What are the eements of good governance as seen through the ens of environmenta sustainabiity? and Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 3

6 Stewardship and innovation in the pubic and private sectors: What toos can society use to ensure high eves of stewardship whie encouraging and rewarding innovation? The Canadian Institutes of Heath Research (CIHR) are deveoping a Nationa Research Agenda on the Environmenta Infuences on Heath that wi spe out nationa priorities for environmenta heath research in Canada over the next 10 to 15 years. For this reason, heath and environmenta issues are not addressed as a theme area for the Nature and Society program. Advice on Program Needs SSHRC has deveoped a wide array of program mechanisms, each designed to support activities at various stages of the training, research, interaction and knowedge transfer process. The design of mechanisms for the Nature and Society program wi be infuenced by current capacity in the community, the types of issues being addressed, and the needs of stakehoders (knowedge producers and knowedge users) in this fied. The foowing key needs shoud be considered in the design of the program: financia support in the form of graduate feowships and top-up awards to attract the best and brightest students to the socia sciences and keep them there; encouragement of strong coaboration between discipines. There is a need for both research within core discipines and interdiscipinary research; however, interdiscipinary research faces distinct barriers within the university system. The Nature and Society program shoud signa the vaue of interdiscipinary research, by being open to a discipines, but giving preference to appications with a strong interdiscipinary focus; deveopment of individua knowedge eaders and champions. Research chairs offer a strong mechanism for deveoping knowedge eaders and champions; they aso enabe senior peope to provide eadership and catayze research groups. These chairs shoud have a defined fied of expertise much ike the Industria Research chairs funded by the Natura Sciences and Engineering Research Counci (NSERC). Knowedge users in the business sphere iked this mode because it offers one-window entry into specific fieds of knowedge; sma research teams that are abe to meet often can provide a more conducive environment for true interdiscipinarity than can major coaborative research initiatives; creative and aggressive approaches to outreach and knowedge transfer are needed to make the knowedge acquired under this program accessibe to users. Program design, funding and assessment criteria shoud make this a priority. One way to achieve this is to encourage very porous boundaries between academic and other constituencies, through mechanisms such as virtua schoars in residence. Another option is to offer a singe eectronic gateway to research findings. Consideration shoud aso be given to how to better transfer the arge body of research and knowedge generated outside Canada; fexibiity around partnership modes. The program shoud seek partnerships where desirabe and necessary, but not necessariy partnerships. There exists a diversity of types of research needs, and partnership requirements shoud be driven by these needs. In theoretica research such as 4 Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

7 environmenta ethics, partnerships may not be required. In practica research, eary and active invovement of partners can be beneficia. Partnership invovement coud take the form of funding, data sharing and/or hosting graduate researchers. SSHRC s Community-University Research Aiance (CURA) program and NSERC s Industria Research Chair program represent successfu partnership modes that meet different research needs. A strategic objective of the Nature and Society program shoud be to bring the human and biophysica sciences together. The separation of the human and natura sciences has ong impeded the structured and systematic production of knowedge on environmenta issues. Whie tri-counci research is not the objective of the Nature and Society program, it woud be highy desirabe for SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR to outine how research inking the socia, heath and/or natura sciences wi be supported. Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 5

8 1. Background In March 2002, the President of the Socia Sciences and Humanities Research Counci (SSHRC) invited the Nationa Round Tabe on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) to organize a high-eve expert advisory process to advise on the design of a arge-scae research program focused on the socia, economic, ega and cutura aspects of environment and sustainabiity issues. Past attempts to pan a socia sciences research program on sustainabe deveopment had reveaed the need to improve the carity and specificity of research objectives for any future proposas, and to incude knowedge users as we as researchers in estabishing these objectives. Hence, SSHRC requested advice on the knowedge needs of key stakehoders, the scope and foci of a research agenda, and the most appropriate research approaches for the program. In coaboration with SSHRC and Environment Canada, 4 the NRTEE convened two advisory meetings, gathering knowedge users from severa eves of government, industry and civi society aong with sustainabiity research eaders from academe. 5 The preiminary consutation meeting, hed in June 2002, investigated society s priority knowedge needs in the fieds of environment and sustainabiity. This conversation shaped the research agenda recommendations proposed for the Nature and Society program. The second meeting, hed in September 2002, refined this agenda. It expored the needs for training, research, interaction and knowedge transfer in this fied, and how best to support these needs in the design of the program s mechanisms. 2. Advice from the NRTEE: The Need to Invest in Human Capita for Sustainabiity The NRTEE has been engaged in muti-sectora work in a broad range of appied environment and economy programs for many years. This experience has made the NRTEE acutey aware of the need to improve Canadian capacity and knowedge transfer in the fieds of environment and sustainabe deveopment, in order to better support awareness, decision making, management and governance in these areas. Accordingy, the NRTEE wecomed the opportunity to work with SSHRC and Environment Canada in panning a program to increase Canadian capacity in these fieds. Infuentia socia, economic and ecoogica trends present fundamenta new questions for Canadians. These trends are chaenging our understanding of how to manage human impacts on nature and how best to govern and make decisions. For exampe, we must now simutaneousy accommodate: compexity in many dimensions: competing ecoogica and socio-economic demands; rapidy evoving technoogy that sometimes creates new hopes and sometimes new probems; and unexpected ecoogica, economic and socia indirect causaities, feedback oops and interdependencies; 4 Environment Canada co-funded the NRTEE-ed consutations with externa stakehoders, and conducted a parae interdepartmenta consutation with federa government departments, which wi be reported on separatey. 5 See Appendix A for meeting participants. Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 7

9 continuing uncertainties in ecoogica knowedge and understanding, suggesting for exampe, the need for adaptive management approaches and the appication of the precautionary principe; mutipe tempora and spatia scaes of ecoogica effects, and the ensuing need for governance mechanisms and management responses to operate simutaneousy across internationa, nationa, regiona and oca eves, and across generations; and redistribution of roes and responsibiities, as pubic sector governance becomes more coaborative and cooperative or is shifted between eves of governments, and as private sector and civi society actors assume new partnership and sef-governance roes. Is Canadian society equipped to meet the immense chaenge of sustainabiity, and are we confident that we have the knowedge needed to succeed? Our frank response to this question must be no we have more knowedge to gain and much more work to do. In Canada today, we simpy do not have cear and widey accepted answers to very basic sustainabiity questions, incuding many that ie in the socia sciences ream, such as: What are the systemic manageria, economic and cutura barriers underying the so-caed impementation gap on sustainabiity (the gap between stated commitments and reaization of more integrated environment economy decision making), and how can these be overcome? How can we baance internationa environmenta obigations with oca interests and rights, and how do we manage this tension within the confederation s division of powers? How can we vaue natura capita in nationa and corporate accounting and decision-making systems? What are the inks between environmenta security and quaity of ife, and how do these reate to traditiona measures of standard of iving? How can pubic sector, private sector and individua decision making grappe with environmenta and socia impacts for which cause and effect occur generations apart? How do and how shoud financia markets assess and vaue environmenta/sustainabiity performance (strong and weak)? What comparative advantages do Canadian industries have, how can these be appied to give the country an edge in new environmenta technoogies, and what poicy instruments can hep to incubate these inventions? How can resource-dependent rura communities best be supported as environmenta pressures and/or market transitions threaten traditiona iveihoods? What infuences individua consumption choices, and how do environmenta vaues fit within this demand? What approaches can move society toward a cuture of sustainabiity? A of our knowedge and creativity wi be needed to answer such questions. Supported by major pubic investments in recent budgets, 6 we have made significant advances in understanding the biophysica underpinnings of sustainabiity. At the same time, we are making steady progress in creating innovative 6 For exampe, the Sustainabe Deveopment Technoogy Fund, the Canadian Foundation for Cimate and Atmospheric Sciences, and the Cimate Change Action Fund. 8 Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

10 new technoogies to reduce our environmenta footprint. However, to date, no simiar strategic investment has been made in buiding the socia knowedge and capacity that is just as essentia for success. Large hurdes remain on the path to a more environmentay sustainabe society: these ie in our socia institutions, poicies and vaues, and in the arge knowedge gaps in the socia sciences (e.g. economics and finance, poitica science, management, aw, socioogy, psychoogy and ethics). An investment in human capita wi be a key eement in buiding Canada s capacity to meet the sustainabiity chaenge. As a resut, the NRTEE supports the aunch of a SSHRC program targeting nature and society. 3. Advice From The Consutations: Program Objectives, Research Agenda and Design Needs Two advisory meetings convened knowedge users from severa eves of government, industry and civi society aong with sustainabiity researchers from academe. Their views form the basis for the foowing observations and advice on the focus and design of the proposed Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research program. 3.1 Recommended Nature and Society Program Objectives: Focus on Capacity and Knowedge The consutation identified two categories of human capita requiring deveopment and investment: capacity buiding to generate a cadre of highy educated professionas, managers and researchers for depoyment into a sectors of society (in universities and beyond); and knowedge deveopment to buid the basis for sound, evidence-based decision making. Capacity buiding: The transition to sustainabiity requires a knowedgeabe workforce awyers, administrators, economists and panners, educators, marketers and researchers with a sophisticated grasp of the issues, exposure to interdiscipinary schoarship, a taent for socia innovation and training in change management. As we begin to operationaize sustainabiity, the demand for such individuas can be expected to grow. At the same time, the ageing of the Canadian popuation means that in the coming decade arge numbers of experienced workers in a sectors wi retire. In academe, for instance, an inventory of socia science and humanities researchers who focus on environmenta issues in Canadian universities found that over 50% are 55 years of age or oder. 7 The pubic and private sectors face simiar issues. Consutation participants pointed to the need for succession panning in the environmenta management fied. They aso identified this renewa as an unprecedented opportunity to expand the range of empoyees with exposure to and expertise in sustainabiity issues. Currenty, there is itte incentive, support or access for individuas wishing to speciaize in the socia science aspects of environment and sustainabiity within the higher education system. Graduate students and post-doctora feows with an interest in environment and sustainabiity issues face 7 Inventory of Canadian Socia Science and Humanities Researchers Working on Environmenta Issues, Professor Phiippe Crabbé, University of Ottawa, This prognosis is simiar to that in many other academic discipines. Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 9

11 financia disincentives to adopting a socia science rather than a natura sciences focus: whereas NSERC offers targeted and comparativey generous financia assistance to recruit individuas into the natura sciences as eary as the senior undergraduate eve, SSHRC has no schoarships avaiabe for any studies at the masters eve 8 and no doctora or post-doctora schoarships targeted specificay to environment and sustainabiity. Moreover, graduate environmenta programs with a socia science and humanities orientation 9 are heaviy oversubscribed. As an exampe, appications to graduate studies outstrip avaiabe positions by a factor of 7:1 in York s doctora program, 10 pointing to a need for expanded academic resources to host capacity buiding. Knowedge deveopment: Consutation participants energeticay confirmed the need for a focused program to support socia science research on practica sustainabiity issues particuary on the inkages between the environmenta, economic and socia aspects of sustainabiity. A recurring theme was the need for research to address the sustainabe deveopment impementation gap evident within a sectors and at a eves of society. Such research woud expore best practices in the pubic and private sectors and in civi society, and woud be used to better inform decision making. This research was seen to entai three eements: i. a deepened understanding of socia, ega, economic, manageria, ethica and cutura aspects of environment and sustainabiity; ii. evidence-based research to support and inform more effective governance and decision making; and iii. fundamenta and theoretica research, where this is connected to ong-term needs of research and poicy deveopment at the practica eve. Participants agreed that the research shoud emphasize innovation and rea word appication. They underined that interdiscipinary projects and schoars face significant barriers within the academic community, and they emphasized the vaue of interdiscipinarity and coaboration in sustainabiity research. Accordingy, the recommended objectives for the program are: to address the growing needs of the pubic, private and civi society sectors for greater and improved socia science and humanities-oriented capacity and knowedge on environment and sustainabiity issues. Specificay, the program shoud inform decision making and best practices in the pubic and private sectors, as we as in civi society, by: deepening understanding of socia, ega, economic, manageria, ethica and cutura aspects of environment and sustainabiity; supporting the formation of highy trained professionas, managers and researchers for depoyment across society; supporting high-quaity issue-based research that emphasizes innovation and rea word appication, and the fundamenta and theoretica investigations to underpin this appied work; 8 This is true for a socia science and humanities fieds, not ony the environment and sustainabiity fied. 9 There are 22 Canadian universities offering a master s program with a specific environmenta focus; 7 of these aso offer a doctora program. Crabbé, op. cit. 10 Persona communication, Dr. Peter Victor, former Dean, Facuty of Environmenta Studies, York University. Nature and Society Program Experts Advisory Committee Meeting, Ottawa, September 9, Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

12 promoting the transfer of this knowedge among researchers, research partners, poicy makers and other stakehoders within Canadian society; and where appropriate, extending and deveoping research partnerships invoving the pubic, private and notfor-profit sectors. 3.2 Advice on Nature and Society Research Focus and Agenda Context SSHRC provides funding for four categories of programs: investigator-driven research, targeted research, advanced research training, and research communication and knowedge transfer. The foowing advice assumes that investigator-driven research and other funds wi continue to be avaiabe to researchers in the environment and sustainabiity fieds whose research interests do not fit within the targeted research agenda proposed beow. SSHRC s experience has been that the most effective targeted research programs ay out overa thematic areas or custers of research issues. They do not attempt to define specific research questions. Accordingy, the foowing discussion maps out proposed thematic areas that respond to the needs of knowedge users, but avoids being overy directive Research focus Sustainabiity is an issue of goba concern the word knows no ecoogica boundaries, and poitica and economic boundaries are fading. Significant initiatives, issues and chaenges can be found at a scaes of activity and socia/poitica organization from the individua and community eves to the nationa and internationa eves. The Nature and Society program, then, shoud fund both domestic and internationa research. Funding for internationa research is especiay important where internationa agreements, institutions or directions are infuencing domestic poicy, or where comparative anaysis can revea best practices. Consutation participants agreed that impementing sustainabiity presents a sectors of society with simiar questions, issues and chaenges. They proposed that the research agenda concentrate on fundamenta themes that woud be reevant and appicabe to a actors in society individuas, community groups, Aborigina peopes, pubic poicy decision makers, and private sector managers. Any one or more of these actors coud serve as the subject and audience for the Nature and Society program research. Consutation participants aso recommended that the program embrace the broadest scope of research. Evidence-based research is needed to support and inform more effective governance and decision making. Fundamenta and theoretica research is aso needed, but ony where this is connected to the ong-term needs of research and poicy deveopment at the practica eve. Incuded in this atter category woud be the deveopment of new methodoogies such as the accounting for natura capita, deaing with intergenerationa equity, or ways of studying, generating and visuaizing aternative futures. Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 11

13 3.2.3 Proposed Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Agenda Based on consutation with users of sustainabiity knowedge within government, industry, civi society and academe, three research themes are proposed for the Nature and Society program. These are considered to be reevant for governments of a eves (oca to internationa), for private sector companies in various sectors and stages of sustainabiity eadership, and for civi society organizations, community-based initiatives and individuas: Living in nature: What is the interdependence between human and natura systems? How woud human society need to change in order to ive in baance with nature, and what are the reative roes of technoogy, institutions, cutura vaues and individua behaviour in achieving this baance? Integrated governance: What are the eements of good governance seen through the ens of environmenta sustainabiity? and Stewardship and innovation in the pubic and private sectors: What toos can society use to ensure high eves of stewardship whie encouraging and rewarding innovation? The Canadian Institutes for Heath Research (CIHR) are deveoping a Nationa Research Agenda on the Environmenta Infuences on Heath that wi spe out nationa priorities for environmenta heath research in Canada over the next 10 to 15 years. For this reason, heath and environmenta issues are not addressed as a theme area for the Nature and Society program Living in Nature What is the interdependence between human and natura systems? How woud human society need to change to ive in baance with nature, and what are the reative roes of technoogy, institutions, cutura vaues and individua behaviour in achieving this baance? Human systems are subsystems of the surrounding environment, and as such are deepy reiant on its ecoogica integrity. The character of these human systems (economic, technoogica, socia and cutura) in turn determines their impact on nature. This is equay true for urban issues, Aborigina or rura communities, natura resource extraction and manufacturing systems, or protected area management. Increasingy, sustainabiity practitioners are grapping with how to manage on an ecosystem basis, how to accommodate widey ranging spatia and tempora scaes of impacts, and how to design and manage the economic and ifestye changes required to ive more sustainaby. Human and socia sciences bring many dimensions to the understanding of these issues. Exampes of their contribution incude: economic vauation of ecosystem services or of ecoogica debts; socio-economic assessment of the environmenta impacts of aternative economic deveopment options; panning of urban transportation demand-management opportunities; historica and anthropoogica research into traditiona use of the and and traditiona knowedge; exporation of socia and cutura infuences on the formation of environmenta vaues; and 12 Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

14 phiosophica investigation of environmenta justice or of how to reconcie intergenerationa objectives with short-term wants and needs. In addition to the above exampes, the iving in nature theme woud expore how socia earning and change management can be promoted. It woud ook at how technoogy shapes our reationship with nature, and expore cutura notions of wefare and we-being and how these infuence consumption patterns. It woud deveop methodoogies for the study of aternative futures Integrated Governance What are the eements of good governance as seen through the ens of environmenta sustainabiity? There is an increasing need to reconcie governance institutions and modes with emerging sustainabiity principes and perspectives. Current institutions and modes face mounting pressures posed by: the need to manage goba pubic goods; a growing gap in vaues between Europe and North America, and ongoing North/South divisions; tension between internationa obigations (trade and environmenta) and oca ecoogica and economic interests and rights; competing within the Canadian federation; an erosion of trust in institutions of a types, and withdrawa of the socia icence to govern and operate; demands for increased transparency, accessibiity and accountabiity to a wider range of stakehoders; and continued barriers to integrating environmenta and socia concerns with traditiona economic priorities. These stresses chaenge governance in the broadest sense from the roes of nation states, supra- and sub-nationa governments, to the organizationa design and mandates of pubic and private sector institutions, and to the vaues, ethics and historica rights that underpin current structures. We need to earn more about best modes and practices for responding to these pressures. At the oca community eve, for instance, some citizen groups are working with oca businesses and a eves of governments to manage airsheds and watersheds on an integrated and coaborative basis. Comanagement boards, estabished under Aborigina and caims, offer modes for the management of migratory species. In the private sector, seected corporations are evoving from a mode of governance focused on sharehoders to one with a broader focus on stakehoders, and increasing numbers of companies are producing corporate sustainabiity reports. Municipa governments are pressing for changes in their powers to enabe better governance of urban sustainabiity issues. And some provincia governments have deegated certain environmenta responsibiities to the municipa eve or to the private sector, uneashing a debate about the appropriate roes of the pubic and private sectors. Major reforms to the governance of environmenta issues took pace in Canada with the 1998 Canada-wide Accord on Environmenta Harmonization. In the internationa sphere, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) s Commission for Environmenta Cooperation represents a unique attempt to address Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 13

15 environmenta concerns within the context of a trade agreement, and structures such as the Arctic Counci and the Internationa Joint Commission manage cross-border regiona issues. To date, we know surprisingy itte about how these changes in governance are affecting Canada s economy, society and the environment in which we a ive Stewardship and Innovation in the Pubic and Private Sectors What toos can society use to ensure high eves of stewardship whie encouraging and rewarding innovation? What methods and techniques woud ead to more sustainabe outcomes? Traditiona command-and-contro instruments and compiance-based environmenta management are proving inadequate, on their own, for achieving more compex and muti-dimensiona sustainabiity objectives. The ast decade has seen an exposion in experimentation with new approaches for baancing stewardship and innovation, but the idea too kit for change management remains eusive. In the pubic poicy ream, traditiona egisation and reguation are being compemented by tax incentives, subsidy remova, emissions trading, green procurement, pubic reporting requirements, awareness programs and various forms of vountary initiatives. Phiosophies of resource management and panning have evoved, and new forms of resource vauation and sustainabiity indicators are being introduced. In the private sector, environmenta management systems are spreading, and toos such as ife-cyce assessment, design for the environment, suppy-chain management and environmenta indicators are heping firms to operationaize sustainabiity objectives. Non-governmenta organizations (NGOs) for their part have ed civi-society initiatives to estabish market standards for sustainabiity practices, e.g. through the Forest Stewardship Counci certification program, and are eading programs in making information about oca emissions and reeases readiy avaiabe to the pubic. Exporation of the stewardship and innovation theme begins with an investigation of what infuences current behavioura choices and management phiosophies. It woud incorporate how natura science knowedge is communicated and transated into pubic poicy, and how ecoogica and heath risks are perceived and baanced against poitica and economic risks. There woud aso be a need to assess the effectiveness of the current instruments used for sustainabiity management, to design modes for choosing instruments, to draw essons about the optimum combinations and design of toos, and to devise new instruments for creating a positive innovation environment for sustainabiity. This theme incudes the tricky question of how to operationaize intergenerationa equity considerations into decision making. Another crucia aspect of this theme is how to compare and benchmark Canadian approaches against those of major internationa competitors. How do the characteristics of nation states (poitica, economic, ecoogica, socia) infuence their approaches to managing environment and sustainabiity? In the ream of business management, what is the evidence for and what are the eements of the business case for sustainabiity? Why do some firms choose to maximize their competitive advantage through sustainabiity eadership, whie others ag behind compiance? Further business dimensions that coud be expored are the response of capita markets to sustainabiity initiatives and the ways in which new environmenta technoogies and practices are deveoped, diffused and adopted. 14 Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

16 3.3 Advice on Program Needs SSHRC has deveoped an array of program mechanisms, each designed to support activities at various stages of the training, research, interaction and knowedge transfer process. The design of mechanisms for the Nature and Society program wi be infuenced by current community capacity, the types of issues being addressed, and the needs of stakehoders (knowedge producers and knowedge users) in this fied. Consutation participants outined various key needs that shoud be considered in the design of the program: financia support to attract the best and brightest students to the socia sciences and keep them there; encouragement of strong coaboration between discipines; deveopment of individua knowedge eaders and champions; support for sma research teams as opposed to major coaborative research initiatives; creative and aggressive approaches to outreach and knowedge transfer; and fexibiity around partnership modes Capacity Buiding One objective of the Nature and Society program shoud be to generate a cadre of highy educated professionas, managers and researchers for depoyment into a sectors of society. Such capacity buiding requires a new investment in graduate feowships and top-up awards for socia science studies on environment and sustainabiity Knowedge Deveopment Another objective of the Nature and Society program shoud be to bring the human and biophysica sciences together. The separation of the human and natura sciences has ong impeded the structured and systematic production of knowedge on environmenta issues. Whie tri-counci research is not an objective of the Nature and Society program, it woud be highy desirabe for SSHRC, NSERC and CIHR to outine how research inking the socia, heath and/or natura sciences wi be supported. There is a need for both discipinary and interdiscipinary research. Consutation participants spoke time and again of the difficuties interdiscipinary schoars face within the university system, arguing the Nature and Society program shoud incude a strong signa regarding the vaue of interdiscipinary research. The program shoud be open to appications from a discipines, with preference given to those with a strong interdiscipinary focus. Participants aso noted that true interdiscipinarity deveops best within sma groups that are abe to meet often. They expressed support for a sma-team approach to research funding as opposed to the major coaborative research initiative mode. There was consensus that research chairs offer a strong mechanism for deveoping knowedge eaders and champions, and that they enabe senior peope to provide eadership and catayze research groups. As evidence, participants pointed to the Eco-Research Chair program funded under the Green Pan; Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 15

17 athough this program was never subject to forma evauation, individuas funded through it have continued to be eaders and ambassadors for sustainabiity issues within the academic community. Chairs created under the Nature and Society program shoud have a defined fied of expertise, much ike the Industria Research chairs funded by NSERC. Knowedge users in the business sphere iked this mode because it offers one-window entry into specific fieds of knowedge. SSHRC s aocation under the Canada Research Chair program woud need to be compemented to provide for chairs under the Nature and Society program Research Communication and Knowedge Transfer The Nature and Society program design and funding criteria must give priority to a non-traditiona and aggressive approach to research communication and knowedge transfer. This coud be achieved by encouraging very porous boundaries between academics and other constituencies, through mechanisms such as virtua schoars in residence. This approach aso faciitates mutipe-perspective research, by providing academics with exposure to different approaches and points of view. Other non-traditiona forms of knowedge transfer shoud be rewarded in proposa assessments and project evauations. Consideration shoud aso be given to how to better transfer the arge body of research and knowedge being generated outside Canada. Knowedge users asked that the program s outputs be made readiy avaiabe, suggesting, for exampe, a singe eectronic gateway to research findings Partnerships Consutation participants argued for partnerships where desirabe and necessary, but not necessariy partnerships. They asked for openness to a diversity of types of needs and associated partnerships. Theoretica research in fieds such as environmenta ethics, for exampe, may not require partnerships; conversey, practica research can benefit from eary invovement of partners, whose contribution can take the form of funding, data sharing and/or hosting graduate researchers. Community-based research benefits tremendousy from a partnership approach. Participants supported the Community-University Research Aiance (CURA) mode, which requires researchers and knowedge users to work together at a stages of the research process, from identification of research questions to appication of research-generated knowedge. Some NGOs may be abe to take on a more engaged roe in managing such community-based programs. Simiary, business-focused research profits from partnerships such as those under the NSERC Industria Research Chair mode. 16 Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

18 APPENDIX A: PARTICIPANTS September 9, 2002 Experts Advisory Group Jean Béanger, Member and Chair of the Economic Instruments Committee, Nationa Round Tabe on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), Ottawa, ON Karen Brown, Assistant Deputy Minister, Environmenta Conservation Service, Environment Canada, Hu, QC Peter G. Brown, Professor, Schoo of the Environment, McGi University, Montréa, QC Tom Brzustowski, President, Natura Sciences and Engineering Research Counci of Canada (NSERC), Ottawa, ON Eizabeth Dowdeswe, Former Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme, Toronto, ON Ned Eis, Vice-President, Program Branch, Socia Sciences and Humanities Research Counci of Canada (SSHRC), Ottawa, ON Janet Haiwe, Executive Vice-President, SSHRC, Ottawa, ON Kathryn Harrison, Associate Professor, Department of Poitica Science, University of British Coumbia, Vancouver, BC Irwin Itzkovitch, Assistant Deputy Minister, Earth Sciences Sector, Natura Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON Linton Kuak, Director, Heath, Safety and Environment, She Canada Ltd., Cagary, AB Caude-André Lachance, Director, Pubic Poicy, Dow Chemica Canada Inc., Ottawa, ON David J. McGuinty, President and CEO, NRTEE, Ottawa, ON Ken Ogivie, Vice-Chair, NRTEE and Executive Director, Poution Probe, Toronto, ON Marc Renaud, President, SSHRC, Ottawa, ON Qussai Samak, Membre de a TRNEE et Conseier syndica, La Confédération des syndicats nationaux, Montréa, PQ Beth Savan, Director, Environmenta Studies Program, Innis Coege, Toronto, ON Stuart Smith, Chairman, ENSYN Technoogies Inc., Etobicoke, ON Stuart Martin Tayor, Professor and Vice President of Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC Peter Underwood, Deputy Minister, Nova Scotia Department of Agricuture and Fisheries, Haifax, NS Peter Victor, Professor, Facuty of Environmenta Studies, York University, Toronto, ON David Watters, Visiting Executive, Pubic Poicy Forum, Ottawa, ON Mark Winfied, Director, Environmenta Governance, Pembina Institute for Appropriate Deveopment, Ottawa, ON Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 17

19 Observers: Caire Apevich, Research Associate, NRTEE John W. ApSimon, Specia Science Advisor to the Deputy Minister, Environment Canada Stephanie Cairns, Consutant, Wrangeia Consuting Jacques Critchey, Senior Program Officer, Strategic Programs and Joint Initiatives, SSHRC Phiip Enros, Director, Science Poicy Branch, Environment Canada Jane Inch, Research Advisor, Poicy Research, Environment Canada David Moorman, Senior Poicy Anayst, Poicy and Liaison Branch, SSHRC Gene Nyberg, Corporate Secretary and Director of Operations, NRTEE Dary Rock, Director, Strategic Programs and Joint Initiatives, SSHRC Boris Stipernitz, Poicy Anayst, Panning and Internationa Coaboration, SSHRC June 21, 2002 Preiminary Consutation Ed Aquiina, Member, NRTEE and Specia Advisor to the Mayor of the City of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON Nige Bankes, Professor, Facuty of Law, University of Cagary, Cagary, AB Jean Béanger, Member and Chair of the Economic Instruments Committee, NRTEE, Ottawa, ON David Bennett, Nationa Director, Department of Heath, Safety and Environment, Canadian Labour Congress, Ottawa, ON Michee Brenning, Director, Environmenta Bureau, Agricuture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, ON Peter G. Brown, Professor, Schoo of the Environment, McGi University, Montréa, QC Anthony T. Chares, Department of Finance and Management Science/Environmenta Studies, St. Mary s University, Haifax, NS Ann Dae, Program Manager, Science, Technoogy and Environment Division, Roya Roads University, Victoria, BC Rod Dobe, Professor, Schoo of Pubic Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC Peter L. Drake,Vice-President and Deputy Chief Economist, TD Bank Financia Group, Toronto, ON Richard Gibert, Research Director, Centre for Sustainabe Transportation, Toronto, ON Jon K. Grant, Peterborough, ON Janet Haiwe, Executive Vice-President, SSHRC, Ottawa, ON Art Hanson, Distinguished Feow, Internationa Institute for Sustainabe Deveopment, Winnipeg, MB Don Houston, Director, Environmenta Programs, Canadian Institute for Chid Heath, Ottawa, ON 18 Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program

20 Irwin Itzkovitch, Assistant Deputy Minister, Earth Sciences Sector, Natura Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON David J. McGuinty, President and CEO, NRTEE, Ottawa, ON Shira Muoy, Cumuative Effects Advisor, Stewardship and Pubic Affairs, Canadian Association of Petroeum Producers, Cagary, AB Ron Nieson, Manager, Environmenta Affairs and Sustainabiity, Acan Inc., Montréa, QC Beatrice Oivastri, Chief Executive Officer, Friends of the Earth, Ottawa, ON Gordon R. Peeing, President, Mining Association of Canada, Ottawa, ON John Robinson, Director, Sustainabe Deveopment Research Institute, University of British Coumbia, Vancouver, BC Qussai Samak, Membre de a TRNEE et Conseier syndica, La Confédération des syndicats nationaux, Montréa, PQ Peter Sherhos, Director, Poicy Anaysis, Canadian Environmenta Assessment Agency, Hu, QC Gen Toner, Professor, Careton Research Unit on Innovation, Science and Environment, Schoo of Pubic Administration, Careton University, Ottawa, ON Peter Victor, Professor, Facuty of Environmenta Studies, York University, Toronto, ON David Watters, Visiting Executive, Pubic Poicy Forum, Ottawa, ON Rick Wishart, Manager of Education Programs, Ducks Unimited Canada, Stonewa, MB Karen Wristen, Executive Director, Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, Ottawa, ON Observers: Caire Apevich, Research Associate, NRTEE Stephanie Cairns, Consutant, Wrangeia Consuting Nathaie Chaifour, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO, NRTEE Jacques Critchey, Senior Program Officer, Strategic Programs and Joint Initiatives, SSHRC Kate Davies, Specia Advisor to the Director, Canadian Institutes of Heath Research Jane Inch, Research Advisor, Poicy Research, Environment Canada Bi Jarvis, Director Genera, Poicy Research, Environment Canada David Moorman, Senior Poicy Anayst, Poicy and Liaison Branch, SSHRC Gene Nyberg, Corporate Secretary and Director of Operations, NRTEE Boris Stipernitz, Poicy and Panning Anayst, Research Ethics and Integrity, SSHRC Nature and Society: Environment and Sustainabiity Research Program 19

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