PNW Resilience Challenge News
Hot-topic issues identification and stakeholder mapping show promise for integrating regional resilience initiatives
More than 30 people attended the Pacific Northwest Resilience Challenge check-in meeting last week to provide feedback on the work done since our launch in early October, and to contribute fresh ideas for next steps.
“Participants expressed strong support for the resilience stakeholder map that we have been working on for the past two months, and agreed that honing our ‘collective impact‘ goals, top-priority issues and key messages are critically important,” said Terri Butler, Sustainable Seattle executive director.The group included representatives from the City and Port of Seattle, Seattle 2030 District, Earth Economics, Urban Land Institute, Regional Food Network and other regional public and private organizations and consulting firms.
Challenge update provided
Butler opened the January 14 meeting with a review of the five main goals of the Challenge, the focus of the impact groups that have formed to carry the Challenge forward, the impact group strategy sessions that contributed to development of our stakeholder map, and important approaching dates including:
Regional and national resilience efforts reviewed
Corey Weathers, founder of Catalyst 2030 and CommonAgenda, subsequently reviewed the current regional and national momentum around resilience planning and collaboration. Specifically, he focused on the recent recommendations made by President Obama’s White House Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and the launch of federal funding from HUD for adaptation preparation via the National Disaster Resilience Competition, for which Washington state will submit a proposal in March.
Also toward the HUD goal, Weathers explained, King County is translating months of planning and stakeholder engagement into a Resilient King County Plan that will be made available later in 2015. (See this related white paper.)*
Top-priority PNW Resilience Challenge issues being identified
Anne Starks Acosta, organizational development consultant and collaborative process facilitator, followed Weathers with her presentation of a summary table that organizes the ideas generated by the breakout groups at the October 2015 Challenge Summit into “hot topics” and “cross-cutting themes.” Eight broad topics emerged from the summit that point to high-priority action areas for the Challenge. They are listed here alphabetically and not by priority:
Interestingly, these topics align closely with the top-priority issues identified in the President’s Task Force recommendations, as well as with the focus of several of the Challenge impact groups – making resilience a political priority, measurement, neighborhood/social equity, and communication and outreach.
During the discussion, participants expressed concern that these eight topics and the general Challenge discourse seem tilted toward economic perspectives, and that we should not neglect the importance of natural systems, or ecosystem services, as another top-priority action area.
The Challenge does, indeed, propose to facilitate collaboration and action around key issues and take a systems-sensitive, “collective impact” approach, Acosta said: “Our next step is to consult with the Resilience Challenge community to create a short list of issues where aligning stakeholders and overcoming fragmented approaches can deliver innovative, high-impact solutions.”
She used the Washington Snowpack Forum, held by Sustainable Seattle March 27, 2014, as a good example of cross-sector information-sharing with a goal to address the receding snowpack and the water storage and energy production challenges we will face as more precipitation falls as rain instead of as snow.
Broad support was expressed by meeting attendees for the Challenge coordinating team’s plan to circulate a survey to Challenge participants and stakeholders – as well as to the broader community – to help us build impact group participation, flesh out stakeholder audiences, and hone in on a few high-energy issues ripe for cross-sector, systemic alignment and action.
Stakeholder map shows potential as a powerful tool
Meeting participants responded positively to the collective impact potential shown in our prototype stakeholder map, developed with a social networking mapping tool called Kumu. Following a presentation on the map by Andy Gordon-Maclean, environmental consultant, participants suggested that we develop a way for stakeholders to add themselves and other relevant players to the stakeholder maps as they are developed for each topic area, and to contribute success stories. The Challenge coordinating team will now incorporate fields relating to the hot topics into the stakeholder map. Please watch future editions of this Challenge e-newsletter to learn how to access this evolving tool in the future.
Challenge next steps clarified
“We now have endorsement of our ideas and plans as well as additional, tangible ideas for moving forward,” said Butler. “We know we need to clearly articulate the concepts of resilience and collective impact, using compelling language, case studies and stories that communicate to a breadth of audiences. For example, sustainability and resilience are connected, as is so well-articulated in the recent Grist article titled Is “resilience” the new sustainababble? This will help us engage more people and strengthen our ability to impact the 2015 and 2016 political seasons.
“We need to showcase models and frameworks that are already showing progress here and in other parts of the country and world, and then identify the models and frameworks most likely to propel us forward,” Butler continued. “And, we need to find ways to bring a broad constituency into the conversation. Clearly, people are very interested in staying engaged and we look forward to more and more people plugging in as we make progress. Expanding participation in this initiative is a very high priority for us.”
For more information:
Terri Butler, Sustainable Seattle executive director and PNW Resilience Challenge lead
[email protected], 206-622-3522
Katia Blackburn, PNW Resilience Challenge communications strategy lead
[email protected], 206-781-2265
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