There is a growing consensus throughout Member States of the importance of actively involving stakeholders and local communities in achieving effective coastal risk management. The people who live, work and manage the land have much to contribute in the way of local knowledge: how their area is now and how it used to be. They may also have valuable historical information such as photos and paintings. They and other members of the public can work with professionals and scientists to add to the body of scientific knowledge about their locality. PRiME-C partners recognised multi-disciplinary stakeholders and community members bring new perspectives and expertise to the risk management and planning process. Engaging with these groups allows risks and possible adaptive actions to be investigated and challenged by different users, while increasing the reach and depth of resulting management programmes. Stakeholder analysis helps to identify a range of people who can be actively involved from the early stages of developing risk management programmes. In addition, wider community outreach is crucial to explain and gain support for programmes as they develop.
By participating in the planning process, individuals and groups can help to shape their community’s future and to prepare for changing conditions. For PRiME-C partners, this resulted in these groups taking on new roles and responsibilities which built local ownership of the risk management process. The complex and uncertain messages within coastal management present significant challenges for communication and engagement. However, PRiME-C partners found this can be overcome using a variety of methods such as workshops, interactive exhibitions and outreach programmes.