Case study – Bega Valley

Two regions were selected to build and demonstrate resilience investment capabilities in those regions as the basis for ramping up the development of national capabilities. One of these demonstration areas is Bega Valley. Bega Valley has experienced catastrophic drought, bushfires, floods and a pandemic in the last five years, and these have had a cumulative impact. People have lived experience of disaster and want to look forward and have some agency in building the future they desire. Because of these circumstances people are at different stages of recovery and their recognition and willingness to reimagine their future and do things differently. Work is needed to build on what exists and at a pace that is tractable for individuals and organisations. Furthermore, the science of climate change trajectories  is not sufficient to help society at large plan for a different way forward. There has been much less effort to provide evidence-based, credible imagined future pathways to start to build alternative, positive recovery and development trajectories forward. This formed the entry point for this project.

Planning for an adaptive future in Bega Valley

CSIRO, Value Advisory Partners and the University of Adelaide are working with a range of participants including local government, businesses, communities and NSW Government agencies to identify and assess investment opportunities in disaster risk reduction and sustainable development for a resilient Bega Valley.

Through workshops and individual consultation, the project team focused on scoping future scenarios for the Bega Valley, by:

  • Identifying collaborators and complementary initiatives in the region
  • Identifying broad elements of future visions and values, strategic opportunities for value creation, disaster risk reduction and building resilience
  • Listening closely to people in the Bega Valley to understand how they might like to move forward with this project, beyond June 2021.

Through a process of open inquiry, listening, and active co-learning we have designed project activities that contribute to recovery in a way that also builds capability for the future.

This Bega Valley demonstration project – through the application of fundamental elements of the Enabling Resilience Investment framework – has shown the possibilities and potential for amplifying existing efforts by local and regional stakeholders to collaboratively do ‘disaster recovery’ differently. In doing so, this work has contributed to building  a sense of agency in creating future opportunities and generated some high-level themes or options (which need further work to develop fully articulated options and pathways). These high-level options have the potential to reduce disaster risks, create and realise new value, and enable transitions towards well-adapted and disaster resilient futures. These outcomes form a solid basis for ongoing collaboration in the application of the Enabling Resilience Investment approach to expand and further progress the assessment of options and pathways so they are attractive to private and public sector investment.

What comes next?

The next stage of collaborative work, supported under the auspices of the Australian Climate Service, is being scoped with the Bega Valley Shire Council, State Government agencies and community groups and will involve:

  • Wider application of participatory visioning and adaptive options and pathways identification
  • Detailed work with smaller groups to build resilience investment cases.

This next stage of work will commence in early 2022.

The report Towards visions, options and pathways for an adaptive future in Bega Valley: Building national capability for Enabling Resilience Investment is now available.

Download the report from CSIRO’s Research Publications Repository.


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