Aiding multi-level decision-making processes for climate change mitigation and adaptation
AbstractProgress towards climate change aware regional sustainable development is affected by actions at multiple spatial scales and governance levels and equally impacts actions at these scales. Many authors and policy practitioners consider therefore that decisions over policy, mitigation strategies and capacity for adaptation to climate change require construction and coordination over multiple levels of governance to arrive at acceptable local, regional and global management strategies. However, how such processes of coordination and decision-aiding can occur and be maintained and improved over time is a major challenge in need of investigation. We take on this challenge by proposing research-supported methods of aiding multi-level decision-making processes in this context. Four example regionally focussed multi-level case studies from diverse socio-political contexts are outlined—estuarine management in Australia’s Lower Hawkesbury, flood and drought management in Bulgaria’s Upper Iskar Basin, climate policy integration in Spain’s Comunidad Valenciana and food security in Bangladesh’s Faridpur District—from which insights are drawn. Our discussion focuses on exploring these insights including: (1) the possible advantages of informal research-supported processes and specifically those that provide individual arenas of participation for different levels of stakeholders; (2) the complexity of organisation processes required for aiding multi-level decision-making processes; and (3) to what extent progress towards integrated regional policies for climate change aware sustainable development can be achieved through research-supported processes. We finish with a speculative section that provides ideas and directions for future research.