Systems approaches for localising the SDGs: co-production of place-based case studies

Tan, David T., Siri, José G., Ong, Benjamin, Lim, Shiang Cheng, MacGillivray, Brian H. and Marsden, Terry, (2019). Systems approaches for localising the SDGs: co-production of place-based case studies. Globalization and Health, 15(85), 1-10

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Tan, David T.
    Siri, José G.
    Ong, Benjamin
    Lim, Shiang Cheng
    MacGillivray, Brian H.
    Marsden, Terry
    Title Systems approaches for localising the SDGs: co-production of place-based case studies
    Appearing in Globalization and Health
    Volume 15
    Issue No. 85
    Publication Date 2019-12-18
    Place of Publication London, UK
    Publisher BioMed Central Ltd
    Start page 1
    End page 10
    Language eng
    Abstract Background: Localisation is a pervasive challenge in achieving sustainable development. Contextual particularities may render generalized strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) unfeasible, impractical, or ineffective. Furthermore, many localities are resource- and data-poor, limiting applicability of the global SDG indicator framework. Tools to enable local actors to make sense of complex problems, communicate this understanding, and act accordingly hold promise in their ability to improve results. Aim: Systems approaches can help characterise local causal systems, identify useful leverage points, and foster participation needed to localise and catalyse development action. Critically, such efforts must be deeply rooted in place, involving local actors in mapping decision-processes and causation within local physical, social and policy environments. Given that each place has a unique geographical or spatial extent and therein lies its unique characters and problems, we term these activities “placially explicit.” We describe and reflect on a process used to develop placially explicit, systems-based (PESB) case studies on issues that intersect with and impact urban health and wellbeing, addressing the perspectives of various actors to produce place-based models and insights that are useful for SDG localisation. Methods: Seven case studies were co-produced by one or more Partners with place-based knowledge of the case study issue and a Systems Thinker. In each case, joint delineation of an appropriate framing was followed by iterative dialogue cycles to uncover key contextual factors, with attention to institutional and societal structures and paradigms and the motivations and constraints of other actors. Casual loop diagrams (CLDs) were iteratively developed to capture complex narratives in a simple visual way. Results: Case study development facilitated transfer of local knowledge and development of systems thinking capacity. Partners reported new insights, including a shifting of problem frames and corresponding solution spaces to higher systems levels. Such changes led partners to re-evaluate their roles and goals, and thence to new actions and strategies. CLD-based narratives also proved useful in ongoing communications. Conclusion: Co-production of PESB case studies are a useful component of transdisciplinary toolsets for local SDG implementation, building the capacity of local actors to explore complex problems, identify new solutions and indicators, and understand the systemic linkages inherent in SDG actions across sectors and scales.
    Keyword Systems approaches
    Systems thinking
    Place-based approaches
    Placially explicit
    Copyright Holder The Authors
    Copyright Year 2019
    Copyright type Creative commons
    ISSN 17448603
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    Created: Thu, 02 Apr 2020, 18:03:03 JST by Chido Nyaruwata on behalf of UNU IIGH