Framework Enhances Community Engagement on Climate Change Risks

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Framework Enhances Community Engagement on Climate Change Risks

Impacts from climate change and natural hazards are stretching community resources.

At the same time, there is an increasing desire for communities and governing bodies to come together to talk about these risks, which is essential to growing the communities’ understanding of these hazards, bolstering capacity and preparedness to cope with these events and prioritising what actions to take.

Engaging communities about climate change and natural hazard risks continues to challenge local authorities. While there is a wealth of literature and guidance on community engagement in general, advice for practitioners on how to converse with the community on climate change risk and natural hazards still needs to be improved.

The Let’s Talk about Risk team, hosted by Resilient Organisations, is a small interdisciplinary group working to improve New Zealand’s understanding of the challenges, needs, and options for better public engagement around natural hazards and climate risk.

The team consisting of Dr Charlotte Brown (Joint Managing Director, Resilient Organisations Ltd), Dr Chrys Horn (CH & Associates Ltd), Sophie Horsfall (Resilient Organisations), and Dr Margaret Kilvington (Independent Social Research, Evaluation and Facilitation (ISREF), have put forward a framework on how local authorities can engage with communities on natural hazard risk and climate change risk which highlights best practices.

The study’s framework is based on the “views of a range of professionals on the challenges of engagement on hazard risk and their ideas about ways to address them. Most of the professionals who contributed are not ‘engagement specialists’; rather, they come from diverse backgrounds such as planning, strategic policy, emergency preparedness, community development, and climate risk research. The framework includes hard-earned insights from situations that have been challenging and those that have been successful.”

The framework aims “to help practitioners design their engagement approach to work within a wide range of natural hazard and climate change risk settings. It provides advice and key questions to ask on how to clarify the engagement purpose, better understand the community and hazard context, build teams and key relationships, and choose techniques and strategies that are suited to the situation. It also provides some ideas for how to track progress and measure success.”

Still, according to the study, the framework is intended “to complement – not replace – the wealth of literature and knowledge around best practice community engagement.”

Access the “Let’s Talk About Risk Framework” by clicking the link in the “Source” section below.


Let’s Talk About Risk Team (Brown, C., Horn, C., Horsfall, S., Kilvington, M). 2023. Natural hazard and climate change risk community engagement: A framework to aid engagement design. Let’s Talk About Risk, about-risk/

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