When Ciprian was last visiting his village in Romania he felt a sense of despair and frustration. During his childhood, Ciprian developed a great love for the forest and mountains surrounding his village. Sadly throughout his life, he has witnessed the destruction of much of the forest surrounding his childhood home. He notes ‘every time I visit the village where I grew up yet another large section of forest has been cleared.’
This exposure from a young age has given Ciprian an excellent understanding and appreciation of how the natural environment is managed. When Ciprian was growing up, the forest surrounding his village was controlled by the government. When Romania moved to a democratic system the management of its natural resources was moved to private institutions and entities. Ciprian was distressed to observe that the change in management structure did not seem to make any difference to preserving the forest. It was still disappearing at an alarming rate!
Ciprian was inspired to find out more about natural resource governance structures. One way he is achieving this is by helping organise a symposium relating to corporate responsibility and sustainable development. The symposium is organised biennially by a worldwide group of academic researchers in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainable development. This year, the group was going to host the conference in Melbourne but Ciprian convinced them otherwise. He organised for one of the members of the group to visit Armidale where he was quickly convinced that the regional city was the perfect place to hold the conference.
This year the conference will be focusing on the policy shift from ‘Government to Governance.’ This relates to whether or not local communities and private entities should be involved in the management of natural resources such as water, biodiversity and forests, rather than this being the exclusive role of government.
There are of course advantages to changing the governance of natural resources to private stakeholders and communities. There is more flexibility when government is not involved. Public interest considerations may also be more prominent under this model. Communities are also directly interested in natural resource management in their areas as they personally depend on the resources. On the other hand, sometimes local communities don’t have the experience, the needed funds, or a holistic view of the issues relating to governance of the area. These and many more considerations will be explored extensively at the symposium.
Congratulations to all the organisers of the Symposium on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development!
Written by Julia Day