Toolkit for Stakeholder Engagement towards Carbon Neutrality


30 November 2023


Mapping for Change

As a key player in the EU Horizon UP2030 project, Mapping for Change is taking the lead in developing stakeholder engagement approaches for 10 pilot cities. The aim is to build capacity and guide the cities in designing an engagement strategy, that involves the entire community, to understand the needs, barriers and drivers for transitioning to net-zero carbon emissions.  

To support this action, we are excited to introduce the Toolkit for Stakeholder Engagement towards Carbon Neutrality, an interactive online resource created to support cities’ journeys through the intricate process of stakeholder engagement. 

This toolkit offers a wealth of insights and methods carefully curated by Mapping for Change in collaboration with TSPA, iCatalist and other UP2030 partners, to guide and support any city every step of the way in their transition.  

Comprehensive Engagement Methods 

The UP2030 engagement toolkit is as a treasure trove of engagement methods that span the entire spectrum of stakeholder interaction. From the initial stakeholder mapping phase to the delivery of engagement activities. 

The engagement process has been broken down into five essential stages, and the relevant methods grouped as follows: (1) Identifying Your Stakeholders, (2) Lowering Barriers for Engagement, (3) Identifying Community Needs, Identifying Barriers, (4) Assets, and Drivers for Change and (5) Co-creating Visions. Each method has its own tool card featuring the methodology, required resources, necessary skills, and practical examples for implementation.  

An Inclusive Road to Net Zero 

 The engagement toolkit has been carefully designed with climate transition and urban planning in mind. Many of the included engagement methods incorporate spatial elements. For instance, consider sensory walks that sharpen participants' senses, encouraging them to closely examine their surroundings. Another example is Mapping for Change’s Community Maps platform which offers an online user-friendly mapping interface for communities to gather and visualise their data. These methods, along with others in the toolkit, empower communities to share detailed insights about both their built and natural environments. 

Moreover, the toolkit caters to a broad spectrum of stakeholders, from a decision-maker looking to analyse and develop policies using the Participatory Action Research for Policy (PAR4P)GIS method to a youth advocate engaging young people through the powerful medium of photography with the photovoice method. The toolkit has something for everyone. Because, in the face of issues as complex as the climate crisis, it's crucial that people from aspects are involved in driving meaningful change. 

Engaging Belfast 

Since January 2023, Mapping for Change has been working closely with Belfast City Council to help accelerate their progress towards their target for net-zero by 2050. In April, their first stakeholder workshop trialled the Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping method from the toolkit and here's how it went: 

Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping was used to engage internal and strategic stakeholders in Belfast. The Mapping for Change team facilitated the session, gathering insights regarding the needs and barriers associated with transitioning to net zero. 

This process covered three key thematic areas: green infrastructure, retrofitting buildings, and sustainable travel. The results unveiled the complex factors at play, their relative importance in influencing the goals, and the degree of interconnection between these factors. 

Analysing these outcomes identified the most critical nodes or factors within the Fuzzy Cognitive Map, highlighting where resources should be directed to achieve maximum impact and create a chain reaction effect in the city. 

Collaborative Design  

At the heart of this toolkit's design philosophy, just like the UP2030 project, lies collaboration and co-design.  Five partners within the UP2030 consortium authored elements of the toolkit, each contributing their wealth of engagement knowledge from previous projects. This diversity of expertise enriches the toolkit with a wide variety of methods and approaches. 

But the spirit of collaboration doesn't stop there. The UP2030 team warmly invite anyone passionate about stakeholder engagement to submit their own methods for consideration. These contributions will help make this dynamic toolkit an ever-evolving and relevant resource. 

Keep checking back to see how the toolkit grows over the next couple of years, illustrated by real-life examples of how the methods were used within the UP2030 pilots. 

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