Interactive Problem Structuring with ICZM Stakeholders
Frank van Kowen, Carel Dieperink, Paul Schot, Martin Wassen
Integrated Coastal Zone Management,Problem Structuring, Stakeholder Participation,Cognitive Mapping,Interactive Policy Making
Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is struggling with a lack of science-management integration. Many computer systems, usually known as “decision support systems”, have been developed with the intention to make scientific knowledge about complex systems more accessible for coastal managers. These tools, allowing a multi-disciplinary approach with multi-criteria analyses, are designed for well-defined, structured problems. However, in practice stakeholder consensus on the problem structure is usually lacking. Aim of this paper is to explore the practical opportunities for the new so-called Quasta approach to structure complex problems in a group setting. This approach is based on a combination of Cognitive Mapping and Qualitative Probabilistic Networks. It comprehends a new type of computer system which is quite simple and flexible as well. The tool is tested in two workshops in which various coastal management issues were discussed. Evaluations of these workshops show that (1) this system helps stakeholders to make them aware of causal relationships, (2) it is useful for a qualitative exploration of scenarios, (3) it identifies the quantitative knowledge gaps of the problem being discussed and (4) the threshold for non technicians to use this tool is quite low.