Waste management has long recognised the importance of public acceptance in the success of any beneficial re-use of biowastes, but this has focused on public ‘education’, rather than public involvement in decision-making. There is also increasing recognition in the sector that the technical estimations of actual risk (technical) may not take into account the factors important to how individuals and communities may see risk.
CIBR researchers develop and implement a number of community engagement methods and have evaluated them for their ability to support integrated decision planning and improve science, policy and community engagement.
In 2016 CIBR scientist along with Lowe EnvironmentaI Imapct created a joint Communinty Engagement Framework [PDF, 767 KB] for the management of biowastes. The framework provides a clear and manageable process along with a pathway to decision-making that meets the requirements of the Resource Management Act, Local Government Act and the Treaty of Waitangi.
There is a need for sustainable biowaste management solutions that recognise complex environmental, social, cultural and economic relationships at a catchment or regional scale. The Community Engagement Framework [PDF, 767 KB] helps address this complexity by eliciting relevant environmental, social, cultural and economic knowledge; enabling shared understanding between different stakeholders; and strengthening council and community relationships, which can build greater trust and confidence in the decision-making process.