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272 Introduction Matthew McKinney and Edward P.Weber Introduction Before we move to the final chapters in the book, which take a broader and more academic view of governance, it is instructive to clarify the nature of governing natural resource and environmental issues in the twenty-first century.The first two sections of this introduction present our emerging understanding of the types of problems we face and the range of governance arrangements that have emerged to meet the challenges associated with those problems. Types of Public Problems Scholars and practitioners increasingly recognize three broad categories of natural resource and environmental issues,ranging from most to least tractable:(1) technical and practical problems; (2) value-laden problems in which people agree on the basic nature of the problem but not on how to resolve it; and (3) value-laden problems in which people disagree on both the nature of the problem and how to resolve it.The last of these—often referred to as ‘wicked or intractable’ problems— are the problems that grab headlines, generate lots of work for litigators, and pose considerable challenges to policymakers and the administrators responsible for managing them. We believe that efforts to govern transboundary water in river basins fall into this category, and that the uncertainties associated with governing the Columbia River Basin are compounded by five major perturbations—climate change,population increases,changing energy demands,deteriorating infrastructure, a and deteriorating ecological system—noted at the beginning of the book. Technical and Practical Problems: Technical and practical problems can generally be answered by reasoning and the application of existing knowledge. People are likely to agree on the nature of such problems and on a short list of potential solutions. These problems are susceptible to expert-generated solutions without much consideration of values, and they may not require high levels of involvement by those the problems affect. Value-laden Problems: A somewhat less-tractable type of problem arises when people generally agree on the nature of a problem but they disagree over the basic direction to take in responding to it. In this type of problem, values and interests begin to pull people in different directions.Even working together in good faith and with reliable information,they are likely to encounter difficulty even in identifying Introduction to Part IV 273 options for consideration. In fact, just acknowledging the need for a solution may raise choices that are too painful even to contemplate, and stakeholders will try to avoid discussing the matter or to dominate any discussion they enter into.Valueladen issues require that the values in tension be given serious consideration, not just by the experts, but also by both those who are interested in and affected by the issues and those who must implement the solutions.Technical experts can help inform possible solutions to these types of problems, but without the participation of those who actually bear the full brunt of the problem (stakeholders), progress will remain elusive.In such cases,people may be wary of each other,and it can take a substantial commitment of time for them to reveal their values, learn about and acknowledge each other’s interests, and build trust before they’re ready to address specific problems and to seek agreement. Participation by stakeholders in some form of collaborative problem-solving greatly increases the likelihood of success. What Makes Some Problems ‘Wicked’: The third category of natural resource and environmental issues consists of problems that are often described as ‘wicked or intractable’ (Rittel and Webber 1973; Allen and Gould 1986; Heifetz and Sinclair 1988; Susskind and Field 1996; Forester 1999; Mathews 2002; Putnam and Wondolleck 2003). Because they are so difficult to resolve, they warrant a deeper analysis and require more robust tools for responding to them. In contrast to issues that are more readily resolved, issues arising from wicked problems (1) tend to involve many stakeholders with different—often divergent—interests; (2) revolve around complex, sometimes confounding information; and (3) occur in a briar patch of governmental jurisdictions with overlapping and conflicting mandates, laws, policies, and decision-making protocols. In such issues, the power to address the problem is scattered among a host of players. Disputes arise over facts and data, previous or tangential issues,the parties’intentions and“agendas,”and over who has the authority to make or implement decisions.Typically, communication fails, trust plummets, and goodwill goes out the door. More fundamentally, wicked problems are those in which people disagree over not only how to solve the...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780870716928
Related ISBN
9780870716911
MARC Record
OCLC
830023889
Pages
464
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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