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The aim of the decision process support tool development (Andersson-Sköld et al 2014) was to provide a checklist and a methodology to promote discussions in order to facilitate the identification and compilation of potential climate-change measures, such as exploitation and remediation activities and their consequences. The tool was further developed to be used as a discussion basis, to show weak points, knowledge gaps and uncertainties, and to visualise trends. In addition, it should contribute to a more transparent decision process and increase the traceability of the reasoning behind the decisions taken. The aim is further to include environmental perspectives from local and regional perspectives up to global scale and to identify and illuminate social and economic impacts of potential planning strategies or climate-change adaptation measures, thereby contributing to the evaluation of which is the


VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2015) most sustainable strategy including economic, environmental and social aspects from shortand long-term perspectives.

In order to make the tool applicable, it must fit with existing decision processes such as those used in spatial planning and other processes similar to the climate-change adaptation process such as risk and vulnerability analyses. The goal therefore was to adapt to a structure that follows a classic vulnerability analysis, i.e. to include the following steps (Brooks 2003, Füssel - Klein 2006): risk identification; risk assessment; risk valuation and suggestion of measures. The result of such an analysis should then be the basis for decisions, the implementation of measures and consequently include further steps than in the most common risk and vulnerability analyses (Brooks 2003, Füssel - Klein 2006, European Commission 2009).

The tool should be used to encourage both experts and civil servants to make estimates

in order to:

(a) develop insight into the consequences and sustainability of the alternative measures, (b) make the background to the estimate structured and encourage transparency, (c) find important but weak points that need to be further assessed to find a robust decision basis and (d) provide a decision basis covering the sustainability aspects as defined by UN (WCED,1987), also taking into account the long-term perspective.



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Andersson-Sköld et al (2014) demonstrated that using the tool encouraged brainstorming activities. The aim was to summarise the consequences of the current situation in the event of flooding, identify potential measures that could be taken to reduce the negative consequences (and/or the probability of the event) and to identify consequences (pros and cons) of the suggested measures.

In their example from Linköping the information regarding the situation (today and in a future climate) was provided by the municipality. Examples of consequences of the current situation in the event of flooding included flooded buildings, reduced or stopped activities of important objects such as the water and sewage system, telecom, heating plant, waste disposal plant, rail, roads and streets, cultural and natural values, due to direct consequences or due to power cuts and secondary natural accidents such as landslides. During the meeting both physical and non-physical measures were suggested. Among the physical measures suggested were to investigate reserve power in the municipal waste water treatment plant, embankment of the sewage plant and to make a dike with garbage and plastic at the combined heating and waste disposal plant. Initially all measures mentioned were physical, while by the end of the meeting also risk investigations and risk mapping were presented as well as activities to increase the awareness including information, education and communication with land owners. Some of the suggested measures were at once regarded as too expensive and complicated for further considerations. These included moving the sewage treatment plant and the heating/waste disposal plant to higher locations.

For all suggested measures the pros and cons were identified and the brainstorm results were summarised. During this first meeting also the first attempts to start describing and assessing the impacts of the alternatives were initiated. This step was thereafter done by the research team and at the second meeting the qualitative descriptions and the assessments were updated and finally agreed upon. The use of the tool encourages discussion, and that the systematic view of sustainability increased awareness of the holistic perspective. The main identified negative impacts of the institutional measures were that they were time consuming (municipal officials have very limited available time), may lie outside the mandate of local administrators (e.g. may require national political decisions) and may require organisational changes.

In another case, the test of the tool was done late in an ongoing risk analysis and planning process and therefore most of the impacts were based on previous and ongoing investigations.

However the results from the investigations could be included in the matrix. The use of the ÁGNES RAFFAY, MIHA LESJAK, PETER WILTSHIER, & ALAN CLARKE 19


tool therefore was that the completed matrixes summarised those results and could visualise the impacts of the different alternatives by the colours symbolising the grading.

This research draws on Gibson’s synthesis of arguments drawn from the sustainability literature, practical experience and integrates considerations from ecological systems theory, corporate greening initiatives, growth management planning, civil society advocacy, ecological economics, community development and a host of other fields. (Gibson 2005, p. 95) Indeed, the book Sustainability Assessment (Gibson 2005) and related journal articles (Gibson 2006a, 2006b) are among the most cited sustainability works.

Three of Gibson’s principles (livelihood sufficiency and opportunity, equity, and socioecological civility) capture socially oriented characteristics such as social inclusion and collaborative decision-making, while the remaining four principles (precaution and adaptation, resource maintenance and efficiency, socio-ecological integrity, and immediate and longterm integration) represent more traditional ideas relating to sustainability. Of these principles, socio-ecological civility and long-term integration have seen international exposure within frameworks focused on planning for sustainability (Morrison-Saunders and Therivel 2006, Pope 2006, Bagheri - Hjorth 2007, Partidário et al. 2009). In Europe, it has been argued that sustainable development requires a transformative governance structure to address the emergent elements (Bagheri - Hjorth 2007). This has led to strategies focusing on restructuring governance systems to a new style of management that adapts based on anticipation and reflection, while promoting an integrated process and spatial awareness of issues (van der Brugge et al. 2005, Bagheri - Hjorth 2007). Within these strategies, integration of sustainability across all levels of government is seen as a priority especially within both decision making processes and management frameworks (Pope 2006, Partidário et al. 2009), particularly through trans-disciplinary approaches that avoid compartmentalising sustainability planning and practices into discrete “pillars” (Robinson 2004).

Governance models and Integrated Sustainability Community Planning (ICSPs)

Although no specific template is required to qualify a document as an ICSP, several guides have been created to share base information about developing these plans (AUMA 2006, AMO 2007, Ling et al. 2007, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 2007, Park et al.

2009). While each guide offers a unique perspective, the following stages for ICSP

development and implementation commonly emerge:

(1) define the goals and establish the structure of the process;

(2) gather input to create a long-term sustainability vision for the community;


VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2015) (3) describe the current realities and analyse them within the lens of the established sustainability vision;

(4) develop a strategy, and identify and assign responsibilities;

(5) have city council formally to approve the ICS plan; and (6) implement, monitor, and review progress.

Within the international community (UNEP 2012), concerns have been raised regarding insufficient progress on the integration of sustainability into municipal planning practice.

Using cases from municipalities in Canada, Stuart et al (2014) promote an inclusionary process by encouraging the involvement of various actors, specifically emphasising involvement of municipal government departments, city council, local businesses, as well as community and citizen groups, while their approaches vary significantly. One municipality attempted to modify a traditional decision-making method to embrace an inclusionary approach to sustainability planning. However, another’s community-owned approach represents a departure from centralised decision-making processes that have become the mainstay of municipal planning and policy creation. At first glance, a community-owned framework may seem ill-suited to deal with the inherent complexities of sustainability as success will be largely predicated upon adequate levels of participation and expertise.

Higher rates of participation can be achieved through several methods, the most important of which deals with ensuring certain goals of the plan become the responsibility of community groups, nurturing stewardship and empowerment among community-based groups.

While this process attempts to solve the issue of adequate participation, concerns over expertise remain. This facet is confronted by forging partnerships between multiple entities to ensure the goals and objectives related to sustainability benefit from a truly collaborative and integrated process of development and implementation.

Regardless of structure, ICSPs promote strategies of collaboration and partnership building between all stakeholders. The dominance of socially oriented principles suggests that the ICSP approach represents a platform from which municipalities can address emerging concepts related to social equality and inclusion in decision-making processes. By putting the focus on social initiatives, ICSPs treat social aspects of sustainability with the same importance as economic and environmental issues.

Another issue for ICSPs is the incorporation of innovative concepts and long-term planning practices as key factors. ICSP frameworks are designed to be accepting of diverse groups and institutions that may not have played large roles in sustainability planning previously, whilst maintaining a long-term planning approach as a fundamental requirement to achieving sustainability, which recognises that the process must be ongoing and adaptive to change.



Enhancing policy relevance through community-based monitoring

ICSPs should promote community-based monitoring to support implementation. This approach is policy relevant in terms of extending adaptive management expressed through both conventional planning processes and collaborative planning as municipalities move from top-down to shared decision-making processes. The benefit of monitoring, and in particular multi-party community-based monitoring, is that it engages ordinary citizens to work together on shared objectives, fostering the ability of citizens and organisations to become more involved in sustainability initiatives (Bliss et al. 2001). Thus, the ICSP process should develop monitoring guidance to ensure that adequate and relevant monitoring information is obtained and reviewed, while also providing a centralised database accessible by all involved (Cuthill 2000, von Malmborg 2003, Whitelaw et al. 2003).

Transferability of ICSPs

Utilising Gibson’s sustainability principles to evaluate ICSPs provides considerable insight into the direction that municipal planning could take with regards to sustainability.

Overall, many aspects of these plans are designed to integrate the three pillars of sustainability into a dynamic framework while acting as a platform in which concepts of collaborative planning and inclusion are operationalised. While these issues were identified over two decades ago within Agenda 21, a 20-year review of the plan entitled “The Future we Want” reveals there has been insufficient progress made regarding the integration of the three pillars within the international community (UNEP 2012, p. 4). Advocating ICSP reiterates the importance of broad public participation and access to proceedings that promote sustainable development within regional, national, and subnational judiciaries (UNEP 2012, p. 8).

The information gathered by Stuart et al (2014) suggests ICSP is making meaningful progress towards addressing these issues of integration and inclusion within the decisionmaking processes and management frameworks. Moreover community-owned approaches to ICSP may represent an effective model that is uniquely suited to promote collaborative planning by empowering community groups and individuals with substantial responsibility and authority. As many communities face challenges relating to social inequalities within decision-making processes, a dynamic and socially-driven approach to sustainability planning could be beneficial in the future. Due to the adaptive nature of the ICSP process, should the model prove successful in achieving meaningful progress towards sustainability, there exists


VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1 (MARCH 2015) the possibility for adaptation to address the issues imparted by Agenda 21 and subsequent reviews (Ling et al 2009).

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