Appraising research methods for assessing barriers and enablers to building resilience to climate change in local government

Stella Whittaker
RPS Group, Australia

RPS with partners has undertaken a number of recent projects on barriers and enablers to climate adaptation in local government. This paper explores the successes and lessons learnt from the various approaches and how to use this work to develop approaches to embedding climate adaptation.

Recent projects have included the Science to Solutions (StoS) Project LGA SA - Phase One , the ENA Industry Guidance Manual on Climate Resilience, the ACELG Manual for Local Government - Embedding Resilience to Climate Adaptation, Canada Bay City Council Embedding Adaptation Project.

The approaches used a variety of data collection and analysis methods, both quantitative and qualitative, and included: review of national and international literature; case studies; benchmarking; surveys; barriers diagnostics, stocktake of council activity; interviews with internal and external stakeholders, industry forums, focus groups, stakeholder mapping, Manuals, advisory groups and industry consultation.

In leading the recent ACELG project our research found that to date there has been a gap in practical guidance for embedding, mainstreaming or systematising climate risk planning into council business. In recognition of this gap,  a guidance manual that includes real-life practical examples of embedding activities was produced. The StoS project aimed to identify and collate information, and develop recommendations that will assist in breaking down barriers to implementing adaptation actions within council's existing processes for operational and financial management.  Our collective experience from these two and other projects has highlighted key elements to consider in understanding barriers and enablers; a snapshot of these is discussed in our paper.