Participatory processes and climate forecast use: Socio-cultural context, discussion, and consensus
Participatory processes are increasingly promoted by various groups as among the best approaches to increase efficiency, democracy and equity in decisions involving climate forecasts. Yet little is understood about the interaction between participation and its surrounding socio-cultural environment in the context of the dissemination and use of climate forecasts. This article draws on two case studies: water allocation choices in Brazil and agricultural decision making in Uganda. The focus is on two under-studied aspects of participatory processes: (1) the social norms of interactions that affect activity and outcomes through exclusion, pre-meetings, alliances, language and non-linguistic events; and (2) the diversity of goals and outcomes that motivate participation, including desire for consensus, social networking and community building. These norms and goals often result in behaviours and outcomes unanticipated by the promoters. We argue that the influence of socio-cultural context on the process is not only an unavoidable characteristic of participation, but also what makes it possible in the first place, bringing meaning and purpose to the activity for many participants.