Journal Article

Co-production opportunities seized and missed in decision-support frameworks for climate-change adaptation in agriculture – How do we practice the “best practice”?

To contribute to building sustainable and effective climate change adaptation solutions avoiding usability gap, it is largely recommended to engage in the process of co-production, integrating expertise and knowledge from various academic and non-academic actors. We want to learn if and how co-production, believed to effectively link knowledge and decision-making, and thus suggested as the best practice in building decision-support frameworks, is really applied in the frameworks that are being implemented on the ground. A literature review allowed us to identify integrated decision-support frameworks for climate-change adaptation in agriculture developed and used over the period of the last 10 years and involving non-academic stakeholders. To analyse them, we chose as an assessment tool the four co-production principles proposed by Norström and colleagues: context-based, pluralistic, goal-oriented and interactive. The useful entry points for incorporating co-production in the design of decision-support that we found in the reviewed frameworks include among the others adequate participants selection strategy, building on existing interaction spaces, developing a theory of change with the participants, and involving participants in the design of different elements of the method. The architectures of the analyzed frameworks contained more elements that responded to pluralistic and interactive principles than to context-based and goal oriented principles, we have also identified gaps in the design, such as taking into account the personal characteristics of researchers that could strengthen a framework's implementation and its impact, or attempts at bridging different levels of decision making, to cover the triad of science, policy and practice. A detailed look at the decision-frameworks that are actually being applied allows for a critical reflection whether and how we as researchers use what we preach as an effective way of responding to sustainability challenges in agriculture. Co-production principles turn out to be a useful tool for analysis and we suggest they can be used as a check-list when designing decision-support frameworks for climate-change adaptation. This papers offers useful examples of how to shift the research-led processes of decision-support towards more co-production with non-academic actors, to increase chances of bridging the gaps between science, policy and practice.