Planning for Cumulative Effects in a Complex World

The first workshop within the Our Seas Programme was held by the Navigating Marine Social-Ecological Systems Project in Wellington in August 2016.   

A collective interest in incorporating cumulative effects into the management of New Zealand’s coupled social, political, economic, and biophysical systems was expressed at the ‘Planning for Cumulative Effects in a Complex World’ workshop held at Te Puni Kōkiri House, Wellington on 17 August 2016. Cumulative effects are stressors that overlap in space and/or time (e.g. environmental, economic, social). Participants at this workshop included policy, management, and industry decision makers, Treaty partners, youth representatives and scientists. Participants used scenario planning techniques to think creatively and talk constructively about cumulative effects in the coastal and marine environment, and how we might bridge some of the institutional divides between science agencies, science funding, and management practice to address them.

During the workshop, we discussed a wide range of different strategies that rely on collective thought and action to address cumulative effects. Examples ranged from developing a clear long-term vision for New Zealand; to supporting both bottom up and top down approaches to addressing cumulative effects; to adopting more inclusive, holistic, and adaptive management strategies. Each tactic has challenges and opportunities that can be articulated through respectful discussion, study and planning. We hope this dialogue continues, and anticipate that the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge will provide further opportunities to stimulate conversation.

If you are interested in carrying this work forward in your own way within your organisation or across multiple organisations, the Navigating Team would like to help! Please let us know how you are advancing cumulative effects thinking, and how we might be able to help you with this important work.

Contact Kate.Davies@niwa.co.nz with any information, questions, or requests for presentations or resources. We hope our support will contribute to the development of a collective knowledge base and opportunities to take action on the topic of cumulative effects.

Date posted: 30/08/2016

Programme type: Our Seas

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