Consultation on climate change requires positive approaches*

The Australian Climate Change Adaptation Research Network for Settlements and Infrastructure (ACCARNSI) researchs and evaluates of climate change adaptation tools and application processes in Local Government.

Responding appropriately to the vulnerabilities and risks of climate change impacts is a high order goal for the local government sector.

For councils and their residents, local business people and other key stakeholders, adaptation requires positive approaches to learning from experiences and an understanding of sustainability concepts and principles including the precautionary principle.

Other studies of the utilisation of climate change adaptation tools by councils and regional organisations of councils have been undertaken, including a survey by the NSW Local Government Shires Association and projects by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group in collaboration with CSIRO.

A key point of difference in ACCARNSI's prioritised research and evaluation projects with the local government sector is that it is demand-driven, from the bottom-up rather than top-down.

The rationale for the projects emerged from a workshop co-convened by ACCARNSI and ALGA in Adelaide in December 2010, attended by representatives of all the Local Government Associations (LGA) across Australia.

The workshop identified priority research areas and capacity needs for local government (Assessing Current Adaptation Tools for Local Governments, Capacity Building Needs and Research Priorities: Key Workshop Outcomes).

Consequently, ACCARNSI is researching three research priorities in its staged work plans for 2011 and 2012

Research Priority 1: critical review of case studies and development of a matrix to categorise adaptation tools that enable Local Governments and Regional Organisation of Councils (ROCs) to mainstream Climate Change adaption (CCA), avoid maladaptations and build internal capacities.

Research Priority 2: design a national survey in collaboration with LGA representatives, to gather quantitative and qualitative data, enabling further exploration of key factors and issues.

Research Priority 3: identify and assess tools that enable councils and ROCs to achieve effective community and stakeholder engagement. Scope includes: user-friendly web based tools, communicating impacts through the development of locally relevant scenarios; tools to engage communities in mapping vulnerabilities; tools to garner local knowledge inputs to develop action plans; and tools to foster adaptive learning and leadership to enact change.

ACCARNSI will continue to consult with local government and present the outcomes of the three research priorities in a series of workshops throughout 2012. For further information on this project please contact ACCARNSI on (02) 9385 6045, by email or visit our website

*Copy supplied by ACCARNSI