Deep South National Science Challenge (NZ)
Every regional council in the country, and over a quarter of our local councils, face extreme exposure to climate hazards like coastal erosion, flooding and rising groundwater levels. This research establishes a community development framework for the way we adapt and make decisions about climate change.
Over the coming years, communities will have to make near-impossible decisions – from how to pay for expensive coastal defence systems to when we should think about picking up our survey pegs and walking backwards from the coastline.
Communities will face increasing physical, social, financial and emotional challenges, and councils are already looking to central government to provide a cohesive framework for the planning and funding of adaptation. But to minimise suffering as we adapt - and to adapt successfully - local authorities also need new ways to engage with communities.
This research project (concluded in June 2019), draws on stories and insights from community members, iwi members and council staff. The research was also grounded in its case study locations of the Hutt Valley and South Dunedin.
Project findings suggest that council engagement with communities about climate impacts requires more than 'business as usual' engagement processes, because:
This research enriches the existing MfE Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Guidance by providing advice for councils and community groups on how and when to engage on climate change. The guidance recommends a Dynamic Adaptive Pathways Planning (DAPP) approach to engagement, by which critical decision points for adaptation investments are pre-defined.
This research supports local government staff (from adaptation advisers to community development teams to community groups themselves) to build community readiness to engage at these critical decision points. The research also provides tools (see below) for those who want to organise together to build resilience:
The team’s research has received huge interest from local government, and in response, are presenting three online seminars for LGNZ Equip in July 2019.
In 2015, South Dunedin in New Zealand was hit by serious flooding. Not only did the community recover, but it has been learning from the increasingly common experience and working with the Dunedin City Council to build resilience and adapt to climate change. In this video, you’ll hear from community leaders and community members in South Dunedin as well as Deep South Challenge researchers, who talk about what engaging with the Council means in practice and why it is so important.
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