Fostering collaboration for knowledge and action in disaster management in South Africa

26 July 2016

Engaging diverse stakeholders in collaborative processes to integrate environmental information into decision making is important, but challenging. It requires working at and across the boundaries between knowledge types — a complex milieu of different value systems, norms, and mental models — and multiple stakeholder-engagement processes which facilitate knowledge exchange and co-production. Using a qualitative, inductive approach, we analysed perceptions and outputs of a transdisciplinary project which aimed to generate new knowledge, awareness and action for ecosystem-based disaster management in South Africa. Several obstacles that could potentially undermine the project’s objectives were identified, including: preconceived assumptions; entrenched disciplinary thinking; and confusing terminology. Enabling factors included efforts to ensure project cocreation and the use of knowledge brokers in promoting systems thinking that is grounded in practice.