IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

2.3.2 Stakeholder involvement

Stakeholder involvement is crucial to risk, adaptation, and vulnerability assessments because it is the stakeholders who will be most affected and thus may need to adapt (Burton et al., 2002; Renn, 2004; UNDP, 2005). Stakeholders are characterised as individuals or groups who have anything of value (both monetary and non-monetary) that may be affected by climate change or by the actions taken to manage anticipated climate risks. They might be policy-makers, scientists, communities, and/or managers in the sectors and regions most at risk both now and in the future (Rowe and Frewer, 2000; Conde and Lonsdale, 2005).

Individual and institutional knowledge and expertise comprise the principal resources for adapting to the impacts of climate change. Adaptive capacity is developed if people have time to strengthen networks, knowledge, and resources, and the willingness to find solutions (Cohen, 1997; Cebon et al., 1999; Ivey et al., 2004). Kasperson (2006) argues that the success of stakeholder involvement lies not only in informing interested and affected people, but also in empowering them to act on the enlarged knowledge. Through an ongoing process of negotiation and modification, stakeholders can assess the viability of adaptive measures by integrating scientific information into their own social, economic, cultural, and environmental context (van Asselt and Rotmans, 2002; see also Chapter 18, Section 18.5). However, stakeholder involvement may occur in a context where political differences, inequalities, or conflicts may be raised; researchers must accept that it is not their role to solve those conflicts, unless they want to be part of them (Conde and Lonsdale, 2005). Approaches to stakeholder engagement vary from passive interactions, where the stakeholders only provide information, to a level where the stakeholders themselves initiate and design the process (Figure 2.2).

Figure 2.2

Figure 2.2. Ladder of stakeholder participation (based on Pretty et al., 1995; Conde and Lonsdale, 2005).

Current adaptation practices for climate risks are being developed by communities, governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and other organised stakeholders to increase their adaptive capacity (Ford and Smit, 2004; Thomalla et al., 2005; Conde et al., 2006). Indigenous knowledge studies are a valuable source of information for CCIAV assessments, especially where formally collected and recorded data are sparse (Huntington and Fox, 2005). Stakeholders have a part to play in scenario development (Lorenzoni et al., 2000; Bärlund and Carter, 2002) and participatory modelling (e.g., Welp, 2001; van Asselt and Rijkens-Klomp, 2002).

Stakeholders are also central in assessing future needs for developing policies and measures to adapt (Nadarajah and Rankin, 2005). These needs have been recognised in regional and national approaches to assessing climate impacts and adaptation, including the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) (West and Gawith, 2005), the US National Assessment (National Assessment Synthesis Team 2000; Parson et al., 2003), the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA, 2005), the Finnish National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (Marttila et al., 2005) and the related FINADAPT research consortium (Kankaanpää et al., 2005), and the Mackenzie Basin Impact Study (Cohen, 1997).