Presentation on theme: "Voice & agency: The promise of process for Indigenous engagement: What does research say about effective engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander."— Presentation transcript:
Voice & agency: The promise of process for Indigenous engagement: What does research say about effective engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities? Dr Janet Hunt Fellow, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University
What is ‘engagement’? ‘ Engagement’ is: a sustained relationship between groups of people working towards shared goals 2
The spectrum of engagement 3 Aboriginal community: Has control – defines problem, goals & means Has delegated decisions Plans jointly Advises Is consulted Receives information
4 UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 18: Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own Indigenous decision making institutions. Article 19: States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the Indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them (UN General Assembly 2007:8).
5 Studies reviewed 16 studies covering 12 regions, included: COAG trials, Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly, Ngaanyatjarra Regional Partnership, Noongar approaches, Fitzroy Futures Forum, Lockhart River Qld, Groote Eylandt & Bickerton Island RPA. 12 health studies, 9 early childhood case studies, 14 natural resource management studies, plus 3 case studies of engagement with NGOs.
What works: Relationships Responding to Indigenous history, cultures and social dynamics of ‘communities’ Valuing skills and knowledge of community organisations and Indigenous people Clarity about purpose and relevant scale for engagement (often needs to be multi-level) Engagement needs to relate to Indigenous concepts of wellbeing and aspirations (not just COAG targets) 6
What works: Relationships Long-term relationships of trust, respect and honesty Accessible, ongoing communication and information – clarity, effective communication, info sharing Effective governance and capacity - Indigenous & among governments & support for capacity building High level government engagement Appropriate timeframes 7
What works: Participatory processes Indigenous agency & decision-making from the outset an Indigenous-driven process with government as facilitator/enabler builds on existing community governance processes and Indigenous strengths and assets an empowering process - small achievements towards mutually agreed longer term goals 8
What works: Participatory processes Recognition of power inequalities - sincere attempts to share power, through agreements Strong mutual accountability relationships in agreements Transparency of decision making processes and agreed conflict resolution mechanisms A high degree of clarity about desired outcomes, indicators Clearly defined roles and responsibilities in agreements and partnerships, some continuity of personnel Parties engage in joint planning of monitoring and evaluation to meet rights and needs of each. 9
What works: Governance & leadership Effective and legitimate Indigenous governance arrangements - resourced Strong and strategic Indigenous leadership - resourced & supported for engagement Very high level leadership, flexibility across governments & communities Secure, adequate resources within governments; honesty about resource (or other) limitations Culturally competent staff able to build trusting relationships. 10
What works: Governance & leadership Investment in strengthening the governance of both Indigenous and government partners for effective partnership working Building on existing community organisations and governance structures Governments have capacity to respond to Indigenous priorities with pooled and flexible funding arrangements. 11