Working on a climate change plan in the BOP

Plans are in place to address climatge change in the BOP. File photo.

Representatives from across the Bay of Plenty are working on developing a plan for climate change adaptation and building climate resilience in Bay of Plenty communities.

Hosted by Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council, a workshop in Te Puke on Monday was attended by councillors, iwi representatives and Bay of Plenty climate change experts.

Toi Moana General Manager Integrated Catchments Chris Ingle says it was a vital first step getting the interested agencies together in the same room to figure out a collaborative way forward.

“It was incredible to see how much great work is already happening in this space. Modelling of climate change risks is already well-established in almost all councils and iwi authorities.

"We already consider climate change impacts when we consent new developments, develop flood mitigation, and prepare our RMA plans.

“This workshop was a chance to bring everyone’s thinking together, on what a regional approach might look like. We discussed developing a common framework to evaluate risks due to predicted climatic changes in the Bay.

"Getting on the front foot in the Bay of Plenty means we’ll be well-positioned as a region for when the government’s national direction becomes clearer."

Chris describes it as a “coalition of the willing” – a grouping of agencies who were ready to start the exploring what a regional risk assessment framework should look like, and start the conversations with communities to figure out what the impacts are and how to respond.

There was robust discussion on the need for any approach to start at the grass roots in local communities so that it meets the needs of the land, the natural environment and local people.

Attendees also acknowledged the huge amount of work that has already been done in mātauranga Māori and our indigenous approach to climate change.

This needs to form the basis of any regional framework.

“The climate is changing and we need to be flexible and adaptable in the way we approach these challenges: individually, locally and regionally.

“There is still a lot to be worked through on what the framework needs to look like and how it ties into the work already underway in different areas.

"But fundamentally we have started the discussion and sketched out a broad approach that should get us underway as we develop a framework together."

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