Ensuring relevance, accessibility and credibility of decision support resources: the case of CoastAdapt

16:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S10


Jean Palutikof (Australia) 1; Anne Leitch (Australia) 2; David Rissik (Australia) 3; Sarah Boulter (Australia) 1; Marilee Campbell (Australia) 1; Ana Perez Vidaurre (Australia) 1; Fahim Tonmoy (Australia) 1

1 - National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility; 2 - Griffith University; 3 - BMT

In 2014–17, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility constructed a decision support and information delivery framework, CoastAdapt, to support the coastal adaptation community in Australia to adapt to present-day and future climate change and sea-level rise. The focus was on coastal local councils, and their need to adapt to ensure their assets, including infrastructure, remain viable and operational under climate change. Decision support resources can only be useful, used and long-lived if there is strong collaboration between developers and potential users throughout the design, build and evaluation. This presentation describes the motivations and activities that took place during the construction of CoastAdapt to ensure users were fully engaged with the project. Throughout the development process, the focus was on understanding and addressing user needs and how CoastAdapt could best support users to effectively carry out adaptation planning and action.

The first step in this extensive engagement and consultation was to identify, through an online survey and workshops, the knowledge gaps and barriers that should be addressed by CoastAdapt in order to build adaptation capacity. Potential users were clear that, in addition to knowledge and guidance delivery from ‘experts’, they strongly desired opportunities to discuss experiences and learnings with their peers. The responses fed into the design and build, together with additional feedback from users on layout and content. In particular, CoastAdapt established an extensive library of practical case studies (currently around 80) and a moderated online forum, CoastExchange, where practitioners could discuss relevant topics. Following release of the CoastAdapt beta version, a second phase of consultation was undertaken using an online survey, comment boxes on the website and workshops. Feedback was collected and scrutinised to identify modifications that could increase relevance and utility. Twelve six-week test cases were carried out by users from different sectors to understand whether CoastAdapt is fit for purpose in addressing ‘real-world’ adaptation situations.

The end result is a supportive framework for coastal adaptation. It is recognised that CoastAdapt will require constant monitoring and updating to ensure it remains relevant to Australia’s rapidly evolving adaptation landscape. We continue to monitor usage, update existing material and add new content, especially case studies.