Collaboration in Policy and Practice: Synthesising Policy Implications

CVCB book coverby Dana M. Kelly, Valerie A. Brown, Michael Cuthill, Tony Byrne and Helen Ross

Collaborating in Policy and Practice: Report of Synthesising Policy Implications Project Cooperative Venture for Capacity Building 2002-2007 was commissioned by the Cooperative Venture for Capacity Building (CVCB) and Innovation in Rural Industries.

Capacity building in natural resource management is essential for fostering sustainable rural industries in developed and developing countries alike. However, the effectiveness of capacity building is constrained by a lack of collaboration between the national policy and local strategy levels. A change of approach to achieve stronger collaboration is required if capacity building is to reach its full potential.

The aim of the CVCB Synthesising Policy Implications Project was to ‘engage with national policy makers and the whole NRM [National Resource Management] policy community, in order to inform policies and institutional arrangements for NRM capacity building among rural industries and natural resource management.’

Collaboration in Policy and Practice outlines the results from the 12-month project Synthesising Policy Implications for the Co-Operative Venture of Capacity Building. This project reviewed existing CVCB research from the past five years,as well as other relevant literature; conducted interviews, seminars, web-based discussion groups and workshops involving national policy makers; and identified key stakeholders.

The importance of this report lies in the strong direction it provides on how to achieve collaboration for capacity building in rural industries and natural resource management in Australia. More specifically, it highlights the opportunity for rural research and development corporations, and other agencies, to collaborate for capacity building. It identifies barriers, benefits, and potential risks, suggests ways to move forward in this area, and provides a foundation for appropriate policy development.

Most importantly, Collaboration in Policy and Practice outlines five key strategies for collaboration for capacity building, as identified by the CVCB Synethisising Policy Implications Project:

  • sharing a language
  • linking diversity of models and activities for capacity building
  • enhancing teamwork, including appropriate skills for managing change
  • re-orientating institutional arrangements to include integrative structures
  • developing a collective knowledge synthesis.


Finally, Collaboration in Policy and Practice recommends the formation of a national working group to progress a ‘working better together agenda’, and that this working group should oversee the development of a ‘quality framework for capacity building in rural industries and natural resource management’. Ultimately, this framework will provide direction to the diverse private, community and (local, state and federal) public agencies operating in this area.