13 November 2018
By Isabel Richter, University of Plymouth

The aim of Project 12 is to co-develop future scenarios with experts from the UK and South East Asia as well as with stakeholders from the case study areas. Scenarios are powerful tools to inspire communication between various audiences and to engage in fruitful discussions about alternative future pathways. Project 12 follows the belief that being exposed to future threats and opportunities raises awareness of the issues, inspires behaviour change within individuals and communities as well as policy shifts within systems.
In May this year, Dr Sabine Pahl and Isabel Richter from the University of Plymouth travelled to Palawan, the Philippines, together with colleagues from Project 6. The UK partners were hosted by Prof. Lota Creencia’s team at the Western Philippines University (WPU), who arranged a series of activities and events in order to connect with local partners and stakeholders. Over the course of three weeks, insights were gained into the case study areas Aborlan and Taytay, and several workshops were conducted. The workshops were attended by fishermen, farmers, tourism officers, representatives of the local government and community members – kicking off lively discussions about their current life, including their hopes and worries for the future of the local area. Throughout the workshops, eight focus areas, such as fisheries, mangroves or waste water treatment, have been identified. These focus areas are the main themes the scenarios will be built around.
To further co-create the scenarios with the ultimate goal of engaging the community and various stakeholders in decision making processes, a tool (“Zoom in”) is being developed that can be used offline on any computer, currently representing the focus areas in Taytay. This tool integrates a variety of contents like photographs, videos, audios, infographics, data visualisation and personal stories. It can be used interactively and in group contexts.
As a next step, the future dimension will be added to the tool. For this, Project 12 will bring together two strings of information: qualitative insights and quantitative data. The qualitative data will be co-created by getting in touch with Palawan stakeholders again - now in November 2018. Using the contrast of three possible futures (best case, worst case and business as usual), workshop participants will be encouraged to paint pictures of their future. Parallel to this, the quantitative data will be integrated, being derived from UK and overseas experts. By combining qualitative insights and quantitative data, the scenarios will be tangible and realistic at the same time.
What will the tool ultimately be used for? The aim is to use the tool as a measn of environmental communication that can help with bridging the gap between scientists and communities and to support the sustainable development without compromising the wellbeing of the local population. Our hope is that by visualising not only the problem but also potential solutions and future pathways, higher levels of problem knowledge, emotional reactions and political engagement can be achieved, not only in individuals but also in communities and at the national level.
Project 12: Systematic scenario planning
Project lead: Dr Sabine Pahl (University of Plymouth)
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