Participatory modelling

It is a challenge to agree on a common strategy or action plan. Participatory modelling is a concept that can contribute to increased cooperation between various stakeholder groups and experts in the development of action plans.

Different stakeholders do often have different experiences and perceptions with regard to the nature of a problem, including its causes, impacts, links to other issues, as well as way to solve it. Consequently, it is a challenge to agree on a common strategy or action plan.

In addition, implementation of action plans are often hindered by limited communication between stakeholders and decision makers due to limited dialogues during the development of the plans.

Participatory modelling is a concept that can contribute to increased cooperation between various stakeholder groups and experts in the development of action plans. Using models as a platform for dialogues can assist in common formulation of today’s conditions, the reasons for present conditions, as well as in recommendations of what to focus on in an action plan.

By involving authorities, experts and stakeholders in all steps of the process (including the model setup), suggested actions are formulated based on scientific foundations, as well as on recognitions of views from those affected, which increases the possibility that the action plans will be implemented locally.

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Figure 1. Participatory modelling meeting in Kårtorp, with farmers from the Vindå River basin, draining to the Baltic Sea.

A methodology has been developed

The Hydrological Research Unit at SMHI has, in cooperation with social science researchers at Linköping University and Lund University developed a participatory modelling methodology aimed to ensure increased dialogue between stakeholders and experts in development of strategies and action plans, with emphasis on the local level.

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Figure 2. Participatory modelling meeting Thukela river basin, South Africa with farmers from the community of Mhlwazini.


The methodology is based on that stakeholders, facilitated by models and various experts on relevant fields formulates a common view on present situation or impacts of a foreseen change of, e.g. climate (including its causes and consequences for various actors), and together formulates an action plan. Participants can also, e.g. arrange field monitoring campaigns of, e.g. water quality.

Participatory modelling has been applied in Sweden linked to the Water Frame Directive, with focus on actions to reduce inland and coastal eutrophication (Figure 1) and in South Africa linked to adaptation to climate change, with focus on water resources and agriculture (Figure 2).

References

- Alkan Olsson, J., Andersson, L., 2007. Possibilities and problems with the use of hydrological models as a communication tool in water management. Special Issue WARM / Advances in Global Change Research, Water Resources Management 21, 97-110.

- Alkan-Olsson, J. Andersson, L., Jonsson, A., Arheimer, B. 2009, Lokal åtgärdsplan mot övergödning i Kaggebofjärden med tillrinningsområde. Rapport Länsstyrelsen i Östergötland, 2009:3. ISBN 978-91-7488-231-5.

- Alkan Olsson, J., Jonsson, A., Andersson, L., and Arheimer, B. 2011, A model supported participatory process: a socio-legal analysis of a bottom up implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. International J. of Agricultural Sustainability 9(2), 379-389.

- Andersson, L., Alkan Olsson, J, Arheimer, B, and Jonsson, A. (2008) Use of participatory scenario modelling as a platform in stakeholder dialogues. Water SA 34 (3) HELP Special Edition, 439-447.

- Andersson, L., Alkan Olsson, J, Jonsson, A. Wilk, J. 2010. Use of participatory scenario modelling as platforms in stakeholders dialogues. 10th Kovacs Colloquim. Paris July 2010. IAHS Publication 338, 187-192.

- Andersson, L., Jonsson, A., Alkan Olsson, J., and Arheimer, B. (2006) Participatory modelling as a tool for public participation in water resource management. In: Proceedings of the XXIV Nordic Hydrological Conference 2006, Eds: J.C. Refsgaard and A.L. Höjberg, NHP Report No. 49, 226-233.

- Andersson, L., Wilk, J., Graham, P., Warburton, M., 2009. Local assessment of vulnerability to climate change impacts on water resources in the Upper Thukela River Basin, South Africa – Recommendations for adaptation. SMHI Rep. Climatology No 1, September 2009. SMHI, Norrköping, Sweden. ISSN 1654-2258, 47 pp.

- Andersson, L., Wilk, J., Graham, P., Warburton, M. 2010. Participatory modelling for locally proposed climate change adaptation related to water and agriculture in South Africa. Conference proceedings FRIEND, Fez, Morocco, October 2010. IAHS Publication 340, 214-220

- Arheimer, B., Andersson, L., Alkan-Olsson, J. & Jonsson, A. (2007) Using catchment models for establishment of remedy plans according to the WFD. Water Science and Technology 56:1, 21-28.

- Graham, L.P, Andersson, L, Horan, M., Kunz, R., Lumsden, T., Schulze, R., Warburton, M., Wilk, J. and Yang, W., 2011. Using multiple climate projections for assessing hydrological response to climate change in the Thukela River Basin, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. 36, 727-735. doi:10.1016/j.pce.2011.07.084

- Jonsson, A., Andersson, L., Alkan Olsson, J. & Arheimer, B. (2007) How participatory can participatory modeling be? A discussion of the degree of influence and stakeholder and expert perspectives in six dimensions of participatory modeling. Water Science and Technology 56:1, 207-214.

- Jonsson, A.C., Andersson, L., Alkan Olsson, J, Jonsson, M.,2011, Defining goals in participatory water management: merging local visions and expert judgements. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 54(6). DOI:10.1080/09640568.2010.541738

- Jonsson, A., Lövbrand, E, Andersson, L. 2009. Participatory research in theory and practice: why, how and when? In: Lövbrand, E., Linnér, B-O, Ostwald (Eds.). Climate Science and Policy Research – Conceptual and Methodological Challenges. Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Report 09:03. Linköping University, Sweden. ISBN 978-91-7393-579-1, 57 pp.