Deliberative multicriteria evaluation
Multicriteria evaluation (MCE) is a well-tried and effective procedure for structuring and aiding complex decisionmaking processes, especially those involving environmental considerations. Formal deliberative processes have also been successful in aiding understanding and meeting consensus in complex and difficult decision problems which involve more than one decisionmaker. Here, both approaches are combined in a new technique called ‘deliberative multicriteria evaluation’ to assist a group of natural resource managers to decide on a suitable option for recreation and tourism activities in the upper Goulburn – Broken Catchment of Victoria, Australia. This approach is an attempt to combine the advantages of MCE, providing structure and integration in complex decision problems, with the advantages of deliberation and stakeholder interaction provided by a ‘citizens’ jury’. An important outcome of the process was the discovery of some crucial aspects of the decision problem that required deeper understanding and assessment if that preferred strategy were to have the desired results. Some suggestions for improving the process are provided but, in general, the stakeholder jury was regarded as a helpful and useful procedure by the decisionmakers and one which aided them in their understanding of the issues of a complex decisionmaking problem.
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