Methodologies to support coastal management – A stakeholder preference and planning tool and its application

Marine Policy, Volume 94, August 2018, Pages 150–157

Abstract: Stakeholder involvement plays a crucial role within Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and is considered beneficial for gaining trust and knowledge and reducing conflicts. Nevertheless, disagreement and opposition among stakeholders and lack of manager experiences in participatory approaches have caused delays in ICM processes. A major challenge is to systematically guide target oriented discussions of heterogenic groups in order to reach consensus decisions based on sustainability objectives. Hence, this research aims to provide a stakeholder preference and planning tool that can be used to support participatory processes. For this, the DeCyDe-4-Sustainability methodology was tested and built upon. Seventeen applications with coastal experts, graduate students and stakeholders of ICM initiatives were carried out, which showed how the methodology can be adjusted and used for guiding stakeholder discussions systematically and generating a common understanding, for raising awareness about sustainability and evaluating concrete measures using success criteria. With a sound preparation, adaptation to local needs and combination with an indicator-based evaluation, the methodology can be applied to guide stakeholder involvement processes within ICM. The System Approach Framework (SAF) with its stepwise approach from the issue identification to the implementation of a solution and evaluation of success was found to serve as a suitable frame. Hereby, the modified stakeholder preference and planning tool can guide discussions from generating a general view of an area and problems therein, down to the selection and evaluation of concrete measures to tackle the problem and its effects on a larger level and contribution to a sustainable coastal development.