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Appendix F — Guidance on Developing Policy Strategies and Theories of Change

Think­ing beyond for­mal pol­i­cy to change human behav­ior.

In most cas­es, achiev­ing our goals for peo­ple and nature out­comes requires chang­ing the behav­ior of key groups of peo­ple with­in the socio-eco­log­i­cal system(s) of inter­est. How we think about strate­gies that seek to change peo­ple’s behav­ior on large scales is evolv­ing. In the past we often focused on chang­ing formal/government pol­i­cy (inter­na­tion­al agree­ments, laws, reg­u­la­tions, fund­ing), and increas­ing­ly on chang­ing cor­po­rate poli­cies as well. In the con­text of sys­tems change, it may be more use­ful to think about pol­i­cy more broad­ly than for­mal gov­ern­ment poli­cies and from a sys­tems per­spec­tive as well. Instead, think of pol­i­cy as a set of rules that guide peo­ple’s behav­ior with­in the socio-eco­log­i­cal sys­tem of inter­est. Some of the rules are “writ­ten rules”, like laws, reg­u­la­tions, or cor­po­rate pol­i­cy. Oth­er rules emerge from the struc­tures and mech­a­nisms we cre­ate to imple­ment laws and poli­cies, such as enforce­ment. Then there are the “unwrit­ten or cul­tur­al rules” that guide peo­ple’s behav­ior, such as the val­ues, behav­ioral norms and men­tal maps that shape how peo­ple deal with and under­stand an issue. All of these “rules” — which may occur at dif­fer­ent scales (glob­al mar­ket forces, nation­al laws, local reg­u­la­tions, local norms and beliefs) togeth­er guide peo­ple’s behav­ior toward the con­ser­va­tion tar­gets of inter­est. Framing/thinking about pol­i­cy in this way may open up a much greater range of strat­e­gy alter­na­tives than for­mal writ­ten pol­i­cy and may in the end be more effec­tive. For more on this con­cept of pol­i­cy, see the Pol­i­cy Work­ing Group report (Evans et. al 2015).


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