Engaging with Communities on Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change: Whitianga experienceBy:
This report has been prepared as part of the MSI funded Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change project (CO1X0802). It documents work that was carried out in the Whitianga community, during the 2009-10 year, as part of the Engaging communities section of the wider Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change (CACC) Project. The report is a record of process and thinking, and will be used to build a platform and inform work at the conclusion of the project.
The research team has developed an inter-disciplinary method to engage with the Whitianga community around potential changes to their coastline under climate change, and how they might adapt to those changes. Our method was informed by participatory ideologies and sought to mitigate as many barriers to participation in the discussion as possible. In particular we explored:
- Getting the right people to the table;
- Achieving consensus and representative decision making;
- Personalising the impacts of climate change (local verses national focus); and
- Appropriate and meaningful inclusion of scientific information.
In order to meet these challenges we selected a participatory GIS approach. The final method involved a two stage process – an Open Day and a Workshop. In our Whitianga case study, both events were structured around large aerial photos of the Whitianga area that illustrated three key projected impacts of climate change: coastal inundation and drainage issues, coastal erosion, and habitat change.
In reflecting on what we have learnt, we identified a number of strengths and weakness with our method, but on the whole found it an effective way to engage with a community regarding coastal climate change impacts and potential adaptation options. In order to replicate the method, the keys to success are:
- The right team - Establish an interdisciplinary team who are able to provide the necessary expertise in terms of science and small group management techniques.
- The right data – Access to both scientific data and knowledge of the community.
- The right support - The commitment of the local councils to the process is a key element to success.
- The right resources – In terms of staff time and financial resources to commit to a time intensive engagement process.
Finally we note that the process of engaging communities, using our successful method, is part of the journey of adaption which will be discussed in the CACC projects’ Pathways to Change guidance. Further findings from our engaging communities case studies will be drawn together in a final report, Engaging communities:Making it Work.
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Recommended Document Citation
Rouse, H., & Blackett, P. (2011). Engaging with communities on coastal adaptation to climate change: Whitianga experience. New Zealand: NIWA. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/virtual-library/engaging-communities-coastal-adapta...