The report, “Community engagement on climate change adaptation” that the Local Government New Zealand released discusses the crucial role of community engagement in adapting to climate change.
There has been a growing awareness of climate change adaptation and mitigation among the councils all over New Zealand. But the vital question that communities, councils, and central governments need to answer is how will these be translated into actions, and if our current systems can deliver these actions and changes.
Communities can contribute two ways in adaptation. First, communities should be involved in discussions on how they could prepare and plan for climate change.
Second, engagement of communities can influence transparent decisions made by the local council and central government in responding and adapting to climate change.
Coastal communities in New Zealand exposed to sea-level rise are beginning to experience the effects of climate change. There are re-zoning and red-zoning of land areas from damages that saltwater ingress or infrastructure damages from frequent storm surges and inundation had caused. The report says that these impacts can have a flow-on effect on individuals and communities affecting their autonomy and well-being.
Local councils in New Zealand are at the frontlines when it comes to addressing climate change with their local communities; however, there are some barriers and challenges to do it effectively and would need further support and guidance from the central government.
The report features three district councils in New Zealand – Dunedin City Council, Christchurch City Council both in the south island, and Kaipara District Council in the north island as case studies in community engagement.
The case studies do not focus on the climate challenges and implementation of adaptation strategies; instead, it focuses on the process of engagement to the community.
These case studies demonstrate what is working well, what is proving challenging, and what support or change at the national level could make the engagement more effective.
To view the report, click on the button below: