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4.1 Scenarios, a tool to anticipate and consider the future

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One way of involving stakeholders actively is to involve them with building the route to possible outcomes or developing “scenarios”.

The way we make decisions relating to the coastal and marine environment has seen a gradual change over a number of years and the involvement of people and those affected by the decisions has become more prominent.

The following elements have been collected in order to support the delivery of the European Union funded Interreg IVa Channel VALMER project, but its aim is to be relevant for any manager, decision maker who may want to use these methods and involve people in natural resource management decisions.

Scenarios are a proven tool that produces results. The method is simple in that it invites the “audience” to react to a plausible set of events in the future or to build the future events themselves and then test these against a range of criteria. The criteria could be, for example, how real they are; how effective they are in delivering an outcome or whether all factors have been taken into account. The audience may wish to introduce their own criteria as they develop their scenario. The original hypothetical scenario can then be translated into one that represents a situation that can be achieved in reality by putting in place a series of policy decisions or actions. In this way it is possible to focus the scenario process on results, which is a strong driver for any participative activity. Scenario building can be a very flexible and adaptive process in that it can be used to develop ideas from a very basic starting point or to pick up and enhance ideas that have already been developed.

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