The new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change suggests flexible and participatory approaches. Face-to-face contact, although it involves time-consuming procedures with a limited audience, has often been considered the most effective participatory approach. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in the visibility of different citizens' initiatives in the online world, which strengthens the possibility of greater citizen agency. This paper investigates whether the Internet can ensure efficient public participation with meaningful engagement in climate change adaptation. In elucidating issues regarding climate change adaptation, we developed an eParticipation framework to explore adaptation capacity of agriculture to climate change in Northern Italy. Farmers were mobilised using a pre-existing online network. First they took part in an online questionnaire for revealing their perceptions of and reactions to the impacts of ongoing changes in agriculture. We used these results to suggest a portfolio of policy measures and to set evaluation criteria. Farmers then evaluated these policy options, using a multi criteria analysis tool with a simple user-friendly interface. Our results showed that eParticipation is efficient: it supports a rapid data collection, while involving high number of participants. Moreover, we demonstrated that the digital divide is decreasingly an obstacle for using online spaces for public engagement. This research does not present eParticipation as a panacea. Rather, eParticipation was implemented with well-established participatory approaches to both validate the results and, consequently, communicate meaningful messages on local agricultural adaptation practices to regional decision-makers. Feedbacks from the regional decision-makers showed their interest in using eParticipation to improve communication with farmers in the future. We expect that, with further Internet proliferation, eParticipation may allow the inclusion of more representative samples, which would contribute to an informed and legitimate decision-making process.

Online participation in climate change adaptation: A case study of agricultural adaptation measures in Northern Italy

BOJOVIC, DRAGANA;BONZANIGO, LAURA;GIUPPONI, Carlo;
2015-01-01

Abstract

The new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change suggests flexible and participatory approaches. Face-to-face contact, although it involves time-consuming procedures with a limited audience, has often been considered the most effective participatory approach. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in the visibility of different citizens' initiatives in the online world, which strengthens the possibility of greater citizen agency. This paper investigates whether the Internet can ensure efficient public participation with meaningful engagement in climate change adaptation. In elucidating issues regarding climate change adaptation, we developed an eParticipation framework to explore adaptation capacity of agriculture to climate change in Northern Italy. Farmers were mobilised using a pre-existing online network. First they took part in an online questionnaire for revealing their perceptions of and reactions to the impacts of ongoing changes in agriculture. We used these results to suggest a portfolio of policy measures and to set evaluation criteria. Farmers then evaluated these policy options, using a multi criteria analysis tool with a simple user-friendly interface. Our results showed that eParticipation is efficient: it supports a rapid data collection, while involving high number of participants. Moreover, we demonstrated that the digital divide is decreasingly an obstacle for using online spaces for public engagement. This research does not present eParticipation as a panacea. Rather, eParticipation was implemented with well-established participatory approaches to both validate the results and, consequently, communicate meaningful messages on local agricultural adaptation practices to regional decision-makers. Feedbacks from the regional decision-makers showed their interest in using eParticipation to improve communication with farmers in the future. We expect that, with further Internet proliferation, eParticipation may allow the inclusion of more representative samples, which would contribute to an informed and legitimate decision-making process.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3661006
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