Monday, October 24, 2011

A new approach to mapping marine policy...

Often policy processes in coastal and marine systems are difficult to understand, opaque, or the means of making changes are hard to identify.  A new paper by Bainbridge, Potts and O'Higgins is freely available in the journal Plos One that demonstrates an approach to mapping and understanding marine and coastal policy. The approach, called Rapid Policy Network Mapping (RPNM) aims to improve the understanding and positioning of actors and institutions in environmental policy, see who is represented and where, and identify the 'levers of change'. It is a generic tool - one that can be used anywhere and at any scale - and users are asked to contribute to a growing community of online maps and debate about how the ecosystem approach can be implemented.

The main benefits of RPNM are that it:
  1. Captures the majority and most significant instruments and actors in the development of specific policies.
  2. Aggregates and compares actors and instruments by policy domain.
  3. Provides a robust platform of data as a baseline for reference or further research or action e.g. multi-modal network analysis, policy networks etc.
  4. Provides a web based tool for dynamic collaboration.
  5. Is a means of understanding and visualising complex policy systems and identifies where changes can be driven through the system. 
  6. Can be developed at a reasonably low cost and deployed rapidly. 
  7. Helps understand who does what and where, who is over and under represented in policy debates.

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