STAKEHOLDER NETWORKS: IMPROVING SEASONAL CLIMATE FORECASTS

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Abstract

In order for a scientific innovation to reach a wide audience it needs to travel through diverse networks and be understandable to a variety of people. This paper focuses on networks of stakeholders involved in the diffusion of seasonal climate forecasts. It is argued that understanding stakeholder networks is key to determining the opportunities and barriers to the flow of forecast information, which could enable more focused forecast dissemination. Lesotho is used as a case study where Stakeholder Thematic Networks (STNs) are used as a novel method for investigating forecast dissemination. STNs enable qualitative information to be analysed through semi-quantitative mapping of relationships that enable the networks and scales of linkages to be visualised. This illustrates the types of nodes and channels of seasonal forecast information flow and so enables existing or emerging patterns of dissemination to be uncovered. Sub-networks that exist for purposes other than climate information dissemination are identified as salient sub-networks for focusing development of future forecast dissemination. These existing sub-networks enable stakeholder needs to be addressed and decrease the need for new networks to be established. By using these sub-networks, information relating to climate variability can be mainstreamed into existing development pathways. This is critical to recognise if innovations relating to climate information are to be used to improve climate change adaptation.

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