Issue ID Step
This page explains, briefly, how to carry out the first step, 'Issue Identification' in a SAF application.
The Issue Id Step is made up of the tasks set out in the menu below. There is a table of subtasks and action points for each task.
Click on the '+' below to see more information on that work task and to see links to further material
+ Preliminary Actions
+ Getting started
A SAF application can start in several different ways. The contents of the preliminary task will depend on whether the application has been initiated by scientists, stakeholders, or policy-makers.
Form a scientific team to make the application.
It may be that stakeholders or policy makers are already aware of the SAF methodology and request meetings to start an application, or that they describe a social-ecological problem and ask for some work that can be interpreted in terms of a SAF application. In this case, the first task must be managerial - to bring together a group of people who can respond to the request, and to define the time or and resources available to them to explore the request, at least during the Issue Identification stage. Alternatively, if the idea that there is a need for an application starts in the scientific community, the start-up team may form more organically.
Familiarization with the SAF
Again, this step depends on how the SAF application is starting. It is desirable for all the team members to become familiar with the main ideas of the SAF, for example as these are summarized in the first part of the 'Guide to System Design'.
The result of this sub-task will be an initial scientific team equipped with an understanding of SAF the methodology and with a brief to spend a defined period of time on, at least, the Issue Identification step.
+ Preliminary study of the coastal zone
Again, the contents of this sub-task depends on how the SAF application has been or is being, started. An 'Issue' may have already been defined, or there may simply be a vague 'problem'. Neverthless, it will be wise to gain some idea of the context, by making a preliminary study of the social-ecosystem in relation to actual or potential problems.
List the human activities
Make a preliminary list or map of human activities (HAs) and associated stakeholder groups.
Make a preliminary Institutional Map to understand Governance in relation to these Human Activities and stakeholders.
+ Issue Identification
+ Reach agreement on the Policy 'Issue'
As already mentioned, the contents of this task will depend on how the application is starting up. But even in cases where the 'Issue' seems already to have been identified, it will be beneficial to go through the subtasks listed below, in order to sharpen the focus on the 'problem' and to ensure that the 'Issue' package is complete. And it should be kept in mind that the application can terminate with this task, because the identified 'Issue' might be too simple to justify the expense of a SAF application, or too complicated for an application to be made with available resources. Nevertheless, any discussion along the lines set out below is likely to prove of help in clarifying the problem and its social-ecological context.
Form the Reference Group
If necessary help form, and then meet with, the 'Reference Group', consisting of representive stakeholders and environment managers or policy-makers. Such groups work best with about a dozen members. The persons involved (and where relevant the organizations that they represent) must be able to commit sufficient time to the SAF application process, during all its steps.
Agree the 'Issue' with the Reference Group
Discuss Human Activities and Impacts with this group, and thus identify the dysfunction in the social-ecological system that will be the subject of the Policy Issue. Discuss the management, or policy, options in relation to the Issue. Agree ecological, social and economic indicators to use in comparing the outcomes of management options. Thus, reach consensus on the identification and definition of the 'Issue'
Analyse available information on the (ecological) cause-&-effect chain from human activity (HA) to impact and evaluate the importance of different HAs and impacts. Bring this information to the Reference Group, and in discussion prioritize the HAs in relation to the Issue.
+ Identify economic and social relevance of the Policy Issue
This sub-task concerns 'background' work by social and economic scientists to provide the context to the ecological cause-&-effect chain, and thus to understand the 'Issue' as a dysfunction in the social and ecological system. There are cross-links to action points in the previous task. Some of the results look forward to the definition of the Virtual System in the 'System Design' task, or to the evaluation of the model simulations in the 'System Appraisal' step.
Carry out Policy-Stakeholder Mapping to identify the main groups of stakeholders in relation to the Issue. If resources permit, survey opinion amongst these stakeholders and list their main concerns in relation to the Issue.
List or map the main economic activities that have a relevant Human Activity and Impact within the ecosystem. List the main ecosystem Goods and Services that are relevant to the Issue. List the main economic drivers of change within the Coastal Zone system (relevant to the Issue).