Local Authorities and Community Engagement on Climate Change Adaptation
Barth, Jule; Bond, Sophie; Vincent, Nicolle
This report explores how regional and territorial authorities in Aotearoa New Zealand currently understand their role in climate adaptation, to what extent they are currently fulfilling that role, and how they engage with their communities – particularly those that are more susceptible to harm. The findings are based on 13 key informant interviews conducted with representatives from local authorities across Aotearoa New Zealand that are facing extreme exposure to the effects of climate change, focusing in particular on sea level rise and increased frequency and intensity of storm events. Local authorities are aware of the immensity of the challenge that climate change presents for Aotearoa New Zealand, but there is a general sense of uncertainty that emerged through the research, summarised in the following points: • Research participants indicated a sense that Central Government must work to clarify roles and responsibilities for adaptation in order for responses to climate change effects to be more co-ordinated and therefore fairer. • Local Authorities require more funding than they currently have access to in order to develop and implement effective policy responses, and participants suggested that this ought to come at least in part, from Central Government. • The nature of climate science provides a barrier to effective policy response and community engagement. • More knowledge is required about the potential localised impacts of climate change for effective policy to be developed. • While several local authorities are working hard to engage with their communities in novel ways that allow for open debate and discussion and focus on building relationships, many also rely heavily on submissions in the policy process and public meetings to understand the wants and needs of their communities. This is perceived as inadequate by most participants and is often due to resource limitations.
Rights Statement: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Keywords: Climate change adaptation; Aotearoa New Zealand; Local Authorities; Community engagement; Adaptive planning
Research Type: Project Report
This project has been funded by the Deep South National Science Challenge, under the Impacts and Implications funding stream. It forms part of the Climate Adaptation, Vulnerability and Community Wellbeing project (or Climate Adaptive Communities for short). This project was led by Associate Professor Janet Stephenson, director of the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago. Other research team members include: - Dr Sophie Bond, Te Iho Whenua/School of Geography, University of Otago - Dr Caroline Orchiston, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago - Dr Amanda Thomas, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington - Dr Gradon Diprose, Manaaki Whenua, Landcare Research, Wellington - Dr Wendy Saunders, GNS Science, New Zealand - Dr Nicholas Cradock-Henry, Manaaki Whenua, Landcare Research, Lincoln - A team of postgraduate students from Otago, Jule Barth, Nicolle Vincent, Charlotta Heyd, Rachael Laurie-Fendall, Josh Rochford Barber; and from Victoria University of Wellington, Katy Simons and Alex Hill. For correspondence: Dr Sophie Bond, firstname.lastname@example.org or Associate Professor Janet Stephenson, email@example.com
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