5B.4 Building and comparing stakeholder databases and networks across RISAs

Tuesday, 19 July 2011: 2:15 PM
Swannanoa (Asheville Renaissance)
Lisa Dilling, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO; and K. Dow and M. C. Lemos

The next generation US National Climate Assessments is expected to focus as much on process as on product; that is, it will seek to establish an ongoing assessment capability for engagement of stakeholders and scientists. In practice, this means not only understanding and assessing stakeholders' needs and how to meet them (products), but also the different ways in which we can accomplish these tasks as a continuous and efficient process. Despite growing attention to stakeholder-driven science, there is relatively little empirical evidence of the impact of scientifically generated knowledge on decision-making, including of knowledge produced in the context of scientific assessments. We aim to improve this record by comparing stakeholders characteristics, level of engagement and decision-environments across three RISA programs: the Great Lakes Regional Integrated Scientific Assessment (GLISA); the Western Water Assessment (WWA) and the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments (CISA).

This study reports on our effort to build broad stakeholder databases in the three regions and systematically understand similarities, complementarities and differences that can inform generalization and contextualization across different climate knowledge producers and users' networks. To accomplish this goal, we developed a common approach for the identification of secondary data (reports and documents), coding and organization of variables of interest and analysis. We compare our stakeholders across overlapping (e.g. water resources, agriculture and tourism and recreation) and distinct sectors (urban adaptation and transportation in the Great Lakes Region; forestry, wildlife management, urban planning, and native peoples in the Carolinas and and forestry in the Colorado, Wyoming and Utah region.

Data collection was carried out in three phases. First, we identified focus areas and sectors in each region according to expected impact/sensitivity to climate risk and socio-economic importance. Second we identified a large number (over 200 altogether) of reports related to climate issues and a baseline database of stakeholders currently engaged with climate-related decisions for each sector. Third we contacted key informants to expand the scope of the search. Fourth, we identified critical variables of interest, including: the types of adaptation or mitigation activities occurring in each sector, identified needs and barriers that hinder adaptation actions; and recommendations or possible solutions to address adaptation limits and barriers. Then, in collaboration with our partner RISAs, we developed a common coding guiding book focusing on activities being undertaken to address issues associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation, existing needs to address these issues, trusted sources of information, perceived constraints and opportunities, and how the perceptions of these topics have evolved over time. Fifth, we organized the database in N-Vivo for further analysis. Finally we identified stakeholders and their characteristics such as sector, area of focus and affiliation in order to identify and map the social networks that were associated with the creation of documents and participation in key events that have produced and disseminated climate information.

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