Using a participatory scenario development toolbox: added values and impact on quality of scenarios

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

To capture a system's uncertainty, a participatory, integrated approach is a prerequisite of many scenario development projects. Increasingly, a toolbox of methods is employed to facilitate stakeholder input. In this paper we evaluate four potential added values of using a toolbox of methods and the effect on the quality of resulting scenarios. Ten case studies within a large project (SCENES), that set out to develop participatory scenarios for Europe's freshwaters, are used to test our hypotheses. We analysed a first series of scenario workshops, evaluating (dis)advantages of the toolbox and the quality of scenarios as perceived by stakeholders and local organisers. As can be deduced from the resulting scenarios, results indicate that all hypothesised added values materialised to some extent. Using a toolbox enlarges the possibilities to: (1) adapt to local circumstances; (2) adapt to a variety of stakeholders; (3) compare results across scales and across case studies; and (4) facilitate a link of models and stories. However, a careful balance has to be found between the length of workshop, number and type of tools employed, and previous experience of stakeholders and local organisers. The results have implications for practitioners setting out to develop water or climate adaptation scenarios that could benefit from all the added values tested here. Finally, employing a toolbox can positively influence scenario quality, although more structured tests are needed.

Keywords: fuzzy cognitive maps, participation, scenario development, stakeholder, toolbox

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