The arrival of the draft National Adaptation Plan is exciting news for everyone in New Zealand who cares about this topic. However, it can be difficult to find the time to read and provide feedback on such a large, complex document.

Tailored information

That’s why it was great to see the inclusion of tailored notes for different groups – including disabled, young and older people, Māori and Pacific peoples, as well as the rural and local government sectors. This approach to a consultation document is something that local government staff can also use when seeking to engage with a representative range of groups and individuals in our communities.

Structure of the guides

These guides all begin with a general introduction, followed by a section describing the specific impacts of climate change on a particular group, and then a really useful list of the key elements of the draft Plan related to those impacts. Here’s the structure, and some of the details from the draft National Adaptation Plan guides, in case you would like to develop user-friendly guides for some of your more complex council documents

The national adaptation plan

Paragraph 1 – the issue

Paragraph 2 – about the plan

Paragraph 3 – the request

We’re asking for feedback from all communities, including xxx. We want to understand how climate change affects you, and make sure the plan has your input.

Why this plan affects you

Disabled people ­– barriers to evacuation during climate-related events; and more vulnerable to extreme heat, cold or dampness; and may rely on electricity supply for life-supporting equipment. They will need accessible locations and housing if they need to move temporarily or permanently.

Young people – are disproportionately affected by all climate change impacts, because the risks and impacts are likely to worsen and intensify over their lifetime. They are living with uncertainty about how much change will occur in the future. Young people can be more vulnerable to the emotional and psychological impacts of disruptions related to climate change.

Rural communities – are often more exposed and isolated than others, with more limited access to disaster response and recovery support. Climate impacts on productive land and water supplies affect their ability to make a living from the land. Rural communities may be particularly affected by the need to temporarily or permanently relocate away from a high-risk area. Strong connections to the land.

Older people – are more dependent on the help of others during a climate-related emergency, such as the need to leave their homes during a flood event. More frequent and severe health problems related to extreme heat, cold or dampness. More vulnerable to the loss of social, cultural and support networks caused by climate-related disruption.

Pacific peoples – significant impacts on Pacific nations, and where they are able to live.  Pacific communities in Aotearoa may have fewer financial resources to deal with more extreme weather events, and the potential need to move away from high-risk areas.

Māori – many Māori live in coastal or rural areas, which can bear the brunt of climate change. Climate change impacts on forestry, seafood and primary sectors – which are a major area of investment and employment for Māori. Impacts on cultural sites of significance, such as marae and urupā, which are often located near the coastline.

Local government – the national adaptation plan supports local government to take adaptation action, and outlines a programme of work to provide guidance and support to encourage action. It helps local government plan for future impacts. It aims to build coordination and collaboration between central and local government to work on effective adaptation solutions with communities. Legislation related to managed retreat, is being developed as part of the resource management reform – to support implementation of managed retreat.

Please give us your feedback

You might want to focus on the following chapters and actions …

Questions to ask

Here are some questions that may help you to get started when developing a tailored guide like the ones described above.

  • Why does this topic matter to this particular group of people?
  • What’s the main thing you want them to know about?
  • Are there any questions they might that it would be useful to address directly in the guide?
  • What supporting information could you include, given the level of knowledge your audience is likely to have about the topic being discussed?

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