The Need for Transformation

The Need for Transformation

Over the last decade, the concept of transformative governance that is adaptive in nature has gained popularity and interest in the scientific community as a way to anticipate and manage regime and resources. However, many are struggling to apply such governance in practice. To effectively implement transformative governance, practitioners and policy makers need the capacity to anticipate and respond to the potential change, as well as the knowledge and ability to integrate present and future socio-environmental systems and processes. Transformative governance needs to follow a complex framework that includes processes and dynamics amongst land and water as well as those people accessing or managing the resources.

The need for fundamental change is evident in the way various sectors are searching for transformation in the way things are done. Transformative education, for example, seeks teaching and learning methods that prompt a deep structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings and actions so as to alter our way of being in the world1. The Bologna process2 that started in 1999 has sought this transformation for higher education in Europe. With 47 country signatories to the Bologna Accord, the process paved the way for convergence of higher education systems in Europe to meet new societal demands.

Transformative research is also being sought among members of the scientific community, to challenge our current comprehension of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or educational practice in search of pathways to new frontiers3. In responding to climate change, values play a huge role as we search for a collective understanding of how we need to respond – for humanity’s collective common sense4. While awareness is growing about the impacts of land and water use change on human security, discernment on values, behaviours and attitudes that drive these changes is still limited. The search for transformation is about the search for values that can help us take on the responsibility for sustaining the one earth we have, and this cannot be done solely through acquiring information or knowledge. The search for transformation entails finding a secular language that can be understood in a diversity of life situations to encourage dialogue on values and bring out the wisdom from local contexts to address global challenges.

This Conference on Transformative Land and Water Governance: A Collaborative Engagement towards Transformative Research and Governance for Sustainable Human Development seeks to bring out diverse responses to the growing environmental and socio-political concerns in the region, and not just come up with one response that fits all. It seeks to present a “fit-for-purpose” framework or strategy for research and planning development by bringing in people who use interdisciplinary scientific approaches to address urgent local and national challenges within the context of (i) sustainability science, (ii) local wisdom, risk resilience and adaptation and (iii) youth and values formation. Through this conference, we seek to develop more critical understanding about transformative land and water governance generated through knowledge and experiences shared from Mindanao, the Philippines and beyond. The conference also hopes to generate collaborative engagements among participants on topics that promote sustainability science, disaster risk resilience and youth and values formation.


1 Teaching for Change: Engaging in Transformative Education. accessed 24 Sep 2013
2 UNESCO. 2013. The Bologna Process: Its impact in Europe and beyond.
3 National Science Foundation. Definition of Transformative Research. accessed 24 Sep 2013.
4 Carlgren, Andreas. 2010. Crisis Requires Creativity: Andreas Carlgren, Swedish Minister for the Environment, in an interview with Philip Geister SJ. In ecojesuit, 15 Aug 2010. accessed 22 Sep 2013.

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