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Adaptation Requires Participation: Criteria and Factors for Successful Stakeholder Interactions in Local Climate Change Adaptation

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Abstract

The implementation of climate change adaptation strategies at the local and regional level presents considerable challenges. These are often tied to governance issues such as insufficient staffing or resources and a lack of knowledge with regard to appropriate formats for bringing together all relevant actors and establishing a firm basis for knowledge building, cooperation, and coordination of multi-stakeholder arrangements.

In order to support local and regional adaptation facilitators, this chapter presents a set of criteria and factors for achieving a successful interaction process. Based on a literature analysis, the success factors cover the preparation, implementation, and follow-up phases of stakeholder participation. We provide easily accessible information regarding the crucial questions that facilitators should consider, as well as practical recommendations for each phase.

The criteria were developed and applied in a two-pronged approach as part of the EU-Interreg project GoApply. Initially, an ex post appraisal of examples of good practices from six countries in the Alpine region was prepared and compiled into a brochure for use by local facilitators. Secondly, we used the criteria to prepare and conduct two stakeholder interaction workshops in cooperation with the city of Kempten in Germany. These experiences will be reflected in this chapter.

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Participatory approaches
  • Stakeholder interaction
  • Good practices
  • Alpine region
  • Community-based adaptation

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Supplemental Material: Success Factors, Recommendations, and Questions for Further Analysis – Full Table

Supplemental Material: Success Factors, Recommendations, and Questions for Further Analysis – Full Table

This table elaborates on the information provided in Table 1. It includes the complete list of recommendations; moreover, it provides specific questions that can be used by practitioners in preparation and subsequent evaluation of stakeholder interaction events. Column 4 lists the more general criteria that the respective success factors aim to fulfill.

Success factors Recommendations Operationalization for analyzing stakeholder interaction Relation to criteria
Conceptual phase
Clear goals for the interaction process • Formulate, visualize, and locate problems and aims as specifically as possible
• Ensure consistency of goals with mission statements, management plans, etc.
• Ensure consistency with existing laws and policies
• Check appropriateness of goals themselves
• If applicable, integrate exchange and co-creation of strategies, measures, and decision support
• Focus on a limited number of specific topics (makes implementation and communication easier)
• If applicable, focus on generation of actionable knowledge having practical relevance for stakeholders to resolve specific problems
• What are the overarching objectives? Which problems or issues are to be addressed?
• Which phase of the adaptation policy cycle can the process be associated with?
• What are the consistencies or inconsistencies between interaction goals and the session or project in which they are embedded?
• What are the consistencies or inconsistencies between format goals and the legal and political framework in which they are embedded?
• Are assumptions behind the goals elaborated? Is the goal definition process transparent?
• What role does participation play in achieving the goals?
• Which topics are addressed by the goals of the interaction session?
• What are the actual benefits/impacts of the goals for the involved stakeholders?
Clarity of definitions
Feasibility
Efficiency
Impact
Consideration of existing structures/processes • Review other adaptation strategy processes, publicly funded activities in CCA, and research projects, and look for synergies/lessons learned
• Attach process planning to existing networks
• Involve local/regional initiatives (with local support and trust) that are active in CCA
• Evaluate political commitment to adaptation
• List relevant activities and lessons to be learned that the interaction activity builds upon
• List relevant networks which the interaction builds upon
• List contacts of relevant actors that the interaction builds upon
• What kind of other activities are undertaken to connect the interaction measure with activities/networks/actors in preparation of the format?
• Have adaptation strategies, action plans, or specific measures been developed or implemented? What priorities were set?
Clarity of definitions
Feasibility
Representativeness
Impact
Identification of target groups • Clearly identify relevant groups, conflicting parties (if applicable), users, and relevant stakeholders
• Identify and involve key actors
• Identify marginalized or vulnerable groups
• Consider ethical implications of engaging with different stakeholders
• If applicable, in the case of administrative bodies, identify and involve both decision-makers and staffers responsible for implementation
• Who is the initiator? Which groups are mentioned as relevant stakeholders and target groups?
• Who is defined as a key actor and why?
• Are marginalized groups addressed? How and why?
• Are there ethical implications in engaging specific stakeholder groups?
Clarity of definitions
Transparency
Feasibility
Representativeness
Timely and frequent involvement
Stakeholder analysis • Conduct a thorough stakeholder analysis – emphasize position and decision-making power (legitimacy), knowledge and ability to disseminate findings (resources), interrelations, and network embeddedness (connections)
• Assess stakeholders’ knowledge and expertise on topic
• Assess stakeholders’ knowledge and experience with participatory formats
• Consider what is likely to motivate stakeholders to get involved in the process
• Consider stakeholders who are typically marginalized or excluded
• Ethical considerations – what are the norms and attitudes of stakeholders?
• Identify personal or organizational agendas, possible need to actively manage difficult individuals, and any potentially conflicted stakeholders
• Who is affected, who has a stake? Who has which role and responsibility? What are stakeholders’ resources and powers of influence? How are stakeholders connected?
• How much do they know about climate change adaptation?
• What participation methods are they already familiar with?
Clarity of definitions
Transparency
Feasibility
Efficiency
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Impact
Identification of barriers to participation • Identify possible barriers such as education or language – prepare mobilization and methodology accordingly. Consider group-specific barriers such as time constraints for certain groups (e.g., farmers, teachers, parents, etc.)
• Be sensitive to the limited resources of participants – do not overstress active stakeholders through multiple processes
• Identify and be sensitive to conflicting relationships between stakeholders
• If applicable, consider employing outreach instruments to engage marginalized groups (e.g., in terms of education, income, age, gender, migration background)
• Are particular stakeholders precluded from participation? What is done to ensure participation?
• Are there existing conflicts among stakeholder groups? How can these conflicts be addressed?
• What kind of outreach instruments were employed (e.g., selection of an event location close to stakeholders, etc.)?
Transparency
Feasibility
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Impact
Consideration of context • Consider and be sensitive to the various cultural, traditional, political, social, economic, and environmental contexts – preparatory field work might be needed
• Identify and accept factors beyond control (e.g., rapidly changing “issues of the day”)
• Consider the timing of the format (see also barriers)
• Draw on possible windows of opportunity – e.g., heightened public interest due to media coverage or the occurrence of extreme events
• Do not overlook atmosphere/comfort factors – e.g., adequate location, provision of food and beverages, etc.
• What are the specific cultural, traditional, political, social, economic, and environmental contexts of the interaction event? Are these issues considered in the concept?
• Are there current topics (e.g., in the media) that affect the interaction? Are these advantageous or disadvantageous?
• Have past or present weather- or climate-related issues or events been publicly discussed, broadcast in the media, documented, or otherwise approached?
Feasibility
Efficiency
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Clear methodological concept • Formulate the methodology (including type of format, frequency, length, instruments applied) as specifically as possible
• Adapt the content to stakeholders’ prior knowledge and experience
• Include target group-specific presentation of knowledge/information
• Ensure flexibility to respond to changing stakeholder needs and priorities
• Include clear rules of conduct and rules for decision-making (e.g., consensus-based, majority vote, etc.)
• Prepare appropriate entry points for initially engaging stakeholders (e.g., regional events, climate impacts, topics relating to individual or group experiences)
• Clarify limitations of the concept
• If applicable, involve key stakeholders in concept development
• If applicable, combine different instruments, modes of presentation, and discourse
• If applicable, emphasize small-scale interactions such as workshops, which are effective for increasing knowledge, promoting deeper conversations, understanding, and trust
• If applicable, face-to-face communication tends to generate more impact than communication through (mass) media. One-way written or verbal communication tends not to enable learning and active engagement as well as dialogic and interactive forms of communication
• If applicable, create opportunities for informal interaction and learning between stakeholders
• What kind of format was chosen?
• Is the participation process a formal or informal event?
• What kind of tools and instruments are utilized during the interaction?
• What are the rules of conduct and rules for decision-making throughout the activity?
Clarity of definitions
Feasibility
Efficiency
Flexibility
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Respectfulness and trust
Impact
Consistency with respect to goals, target groups, methods • Is the methodology tailored to the goals? (Refer to degree of participation: communication, consultation, coproduction, co-decision)
• Is the methodology target group-specific (including modes of interaction, e.g., social media, etc.)?
• Are the prepared materials and information tailored to requirements and level of knowledge of target groups?
• Are target groups addressed consistent with goals of the format?
• Consider trade-offs between highly formalized methods and the degree of flexibility and interaction necessary to assure an inclusive and responsive process
• What degree of participation is intended? Does it fit the aims of the process?
• Is the methodology consistent with the objectives and aims?
• Is the methodology target group-specific?
• Are the prepared materials and information tailored to requirements and level of knowledge of target groups?
• Are the target groups being addressed consistent with the goals of the interaction?
Clarity of definitions
Transparency
Feasibility
Efficiency
Flexibility
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Defined role(s) for staff and facilitators • Draw on neutral and/or expert moderators and facilitators
• Use skilled staff for preparation and implementation
• Work with knowledge brokers
• Involve key stakeholders in the preparation process
• How is the format moderated?
• Who organizes the individual events of the interaction?
• What kind of information will be presented by whom?
• Are stakeholders involved in the preparation of the format? If so, how?
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Respectfulness and trust
Sufficient resource allocation • Budget planning, time and funding for preparation, and follow-up
• Resources for food and drink, compensation of participants
• Consider time and resource constraints of the stakeholders involved
• Was the budget planning sufficient for successful implementation? If not, why? Feasibility
Efficiency
Appropriateness
Respectfulness and trust
Development of a monitoring and evaluation concept • Include appropriate indicators, measurements, and evaluation criteria to observe, monitor, and assess the interaction
• If applicable, combine qualitative and quantitative measures
• Has the process been monitored, documented, and/or evaluated? What were the objectives and instruments of the evaluation process? (Depending on type of evaluation)
Implementation phase
Invitation and monitoring of participation • Prepare and disseminate timely invitations, including goals and format, length, expected contributions, and added value of participation
• If applicable, engage and use regional contacts trusted by target groups as “bridging actors” to promote participation
• If applicable, ensure continuity in participation throughout a process that includes multiple, interlinked events
• How are stakeholders addressed and invited to the format?
• Are intermediaries (e.g., regional climate adaptation administration, network, or process facilitators) part of the invitation process?
• What was the number of participants? Were all invited groups represented?
Transparency
Feasibility
Efficiency
Representativeness
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Establish general rules of conduct • Conduct format in an open, accessible, and transparent way
• Clearly communicate goals and interests of the stakeholder interaction
• If applicable, create common agreement on workshop goals and content
• Apply expectation management – be open about what can be achieved, with realistic goals based on the given resources and other constraints
• Avoid “pseudo-participation” – impact and limitations of format outcome should be clearly communicated
• Establish roles of participants and facilitators
• Ensure that moderator engages on equal footing with participants
• Ensure that participants engage on equal footing with each other
• Engage in two-way dialogue as equals with likely target groups
• Is the participation process transparent?
• Are goals and interests clearly communicated to participants?
• Are goals and content of the format preset or to be developed and agreed upon by participants?
• Are the limits of the interaction workshop and its outcome clearly communicated?
• Are the rules of conduct clearly communicated?
Clarity of definitions
Transparency
Flexibility
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Appropriateness of applied methods • Use a professional facilitator
• Communicate and explain use of specific instruments
• Use visualizations to make the abstract more relatable to personal and local context
• Counteract barriers to participation with appropriate instruments (nonverbal, visual tools)
• Working with abstract and complex issues: use concrete and relatable information, e.g., personal accounts of extreme weather events, locally occurring phenomena, etc.; address personal perceptions – of risks and vulnerabilities, for example
• Be sensitive to uncertainties associated with climate change and impacts
• Use overlaps with other sectors when communicating climate change aspects
• If applicable, work with knowledge brokers (e.g., from the science fields)
• If applicable, combine different tools and moderation techniques
• Which methods were applied during the event to meet the objective? What elements were particularly innovative?
• How was successful participation in specific methods ensured?
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Target group-specific knowledge transfer, exchange, and creation • Provide adequate, target group-specific information on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities
• Clarify relevant climate impacts and vulnerabilities for participants
• Ensure appropriate handling of uncertainty, especially in science-practice communication about climate change impacts
• Make use of existing know-how and experiential knowledge of the participants
• If applicable, provide opportunities for knowledge exchange, deliberation, and self-reflection between stakeholders
• If applicable, create discussion opportunities for smaller groups
• If applicable, search for agreement on adequate results; promote consensus-based decision-making
• What kind of information was presented to participants? How was the information presented?
• How was information presented tailored to participants?
• Describe the process applied to promote knowledge exchange and development
• What kind of innovative instruments were used?
Transparency
Feasibility
Efficiency
Flexibility
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Engagement of stakeholders • Point out added value for participants
• Give participants the feeling that they can achieve something
• If applicable, communicate climate change not only as a challenge but also as an opportunity
• If applicable, emphasize influence on the policy/research process
• Promote personal ownership and social responsibility
• Appeal to emotion to engage participants (without overdramatization), but balance with objective presentation of facts
• Strive for diverse, inclusive participation
• Identify and use synergy potentials between the stakeholders
• Promote relationships and collaboration
• Recognize differences in values and attitudes
• Compensate stakeholders for their effort, e.g., financial compensation, support of local projects; demonstrate benefits from participating
• Pay attention to the “atmospheric factors” – convenient location, food and beverage, opportunities for breaks, etc.
• If applicable, promote joint development of a common vision – consensus can be a basis for common solutions and acceptance of measures
• If applicable, co-create strategies on how to engage other stakeholders and citizens
• If applicable, in conflict situations address affected groups directly
• If applicable, co-create strategies for conflict resolution
• What was done to motivate and engage participants?
• Were participants compensated or reimbursed for their participation?
• What challenges and conflicts were encountered during the format?
• How were arising conflicts handled?
Feasibility
Efficiency
Flexibility
Appropriateness
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Maintain adaptability and flexibility throughout • Be open to the integration of additional perspectives, questions, and the specific interests of participants
• If applicable, encourage knowledge exchange and co-creation of knowledge
• Which additional topics or discussions came up? How were they integrated into the format? Feasibility
Efficiency
Flexibility
Appropriateness
Respectfulness and trust
Follow-up phase
Documentation and communication of results • Document the process carefully and transparently
• Create feedback loops with stakeholders for documentation
• Relay information on next steps, responsibilities, and the use of results
• Keep participants informed throughout and after the process
• If applicable, promote joint interpretations/agreements on implications of work done
• How was the interaction workshop documented?
• How were participants involved in the documentation of the interaction and its results?
• How was the documentation communicated?
Transparency
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Implementation of results and impact on process/project • Produce tangible outcomes as soon as possible
• Strive to create “quick wins” for stakeholders, especially in a multiphase process
• Share good practices
• If applicable, publish the results
• Implement agreed-upon decisions
• Consolidate cooperation with local initiatives
• Promote links to individuals and groups beyond primary participants
• Establish and communicate benefits for other sectors
• What kind of immediate outcomes were produced and how were they communicated?
• How were decisions reached subsequently implemented?
• Did the interaction result in contacts or cooperation with stakeholders beyond the circle of participants? If so, with whom and what?
Representativeness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Impact
Evaluation – short-term/long-term aspects • Conduct careful evaluation of the interaction and its outcomes – include short- and long-term perspectives
• Create learning effects from the evaluation and consider unintended outcomes
• Monitor and reflect on the outcome together with stakeholders – both throughout and after the process; integrate differences in perceptions between participants, facilitators, and knowledge brokers
• Was the participation process monitored and evaluated? If so, how?
• Did the interaction meet its objectives?
• Which solutions were generated? Did the workshop yield specific strategies/action plans/measures/tasks?
• Did participants create or gain an improved knowledge and understanding?
• Was there an impact on policy-making? Did the interaction lead, for example, to changes in existing institutions, governance arrangements, improvements in cooperation, networks, and work flow?
• Did it lead to improved relations and trust?
• If applicable, did the interaction lead to improved capacity for conflict resolution?
• Are outcomes consistent with existing laws and policies?
• Are there any unintended or unanticipated outcomes?
• Which additional themes, discussions, conflict, and information came up, and how were these handled?
• Which barriers or drivers were noticed?
• How did the various participant groups perceive and assess the interaction?
Transparency
Representativeness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Impact
Legacy arrangement • Stay in touch with stakeholders and facilitators
• Offer further support or consulting for the implementation of adaptation measures and strategies
• Consider ways to stabilize and develop created knowledge and relationships beyond the current process or project
• If applicable, establish continuity – hand over responsibility to appropriate stakeholders
• Describe the communication strategy with stakeholders after completion of the format
• What kind of support is offered for implementing created outcomes?
• Are the outcomes transferable to other processes? If so, are transfer efforts undertaken?
• How do the interaction facilitators support continuity beyond the current project or process?
Transparency
Representativeness
Appropriateness
Objectivity
Timely and frequent involvement
Respectfulness and trust
Impact

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Lange, A., Ebert, S., Vetter, A. (2021). Adaptation Requires Participation: Criteria and Factors for Successful Stakeholder Interactions in Local Climate Change Adaptation. In: Leal Filho, W., Luetz, J., Ayal, D. (eds) Handbook of Climate Change Management. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-22759-3_47-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-22759-3_47-1

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