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Environ Sci Technol. 2004 Apr 1;38(7):1921-6.

Learning as an objective within a structured risk management decision process.

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1
Institute for Resources and Environment, School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Room 415, 6333 Memorial Road, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z2. timmcd@interchange.ubc.ca

Abstract

Social learning through adaptive management holds the promise of providing the basis for better risk management over time. Yet the experience with fostering social learning through adaptive management initiatives has been mixed and would benefit from practical guidance for better implementation. This paper outlines a straightforward heuristic for fostering improved risk management decisions: specifying learning for current and future decisions as one of several explicit objectives for the decision at hand, drawing on notions of applied decision analysis. In keeping with recent guidance from two important U.S. advisory commissions, the paper first outlines a view of risk management as a policy-analytic decision process involving stakeholders. Then it develops the concept of the value of learning, which broadens the more familiar notion of the value of information. After that, the concepts and steps needed to treat learning as an explicit objective in a policy decision are reviewed. The next section outlines the advantages of viewing learning as an objective, including potential benefits from the viewpoint of stakeholders, the institutions involved, and for the decision process itself. A case-study example concerning water use forfisheries and hydroelectric power in British Columbia, Canada is presented to illustrate the development of learning as an objective in an applied risk-management context.

PMID:
15112789
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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