Local context is the
foundation for all our work
Traditionally, consultants have delivered projects for clients. We can do that and we’ll do a good job. Even better, though, we like to deliver projects with our clients, working with you to produce solutions that you feel ownership of. This way, you get better value and the results are more sustainable.
National Physical Development Plan
St Vincent and the Grenadines 2013
Funded by the World Bank, as part of a Regional Disaster vulnerability Reduction Program, Steve Kemp was commissioned as an advisor on the scope and methodology for a National Physical Development Plan and to prepare a working brief for its preparation.
Following an introductory stakeholder workshop, interviews were held with key officers in all the relevant government ministries, agencies and other organisations. There was an appraisal of existing strategies and policies and an assessment of the extent and relevance of current information and data. Through these steps key issues were identified, significant information gaps were highlighted and a methodological framework for preparing a national plan for physical development plan was formulated. From this terms of reference for preparing the plan itself were produced.
Experience gained internationally is certainly useful, but its value cannot be realized fully until it is coupled with the deeply ingrained understanding of local conditions. The initial expectation that the project required independent, outside consultants to produce a national physical development plan was inappropriate and unnecessary. The most valuable role for outside consultants is to support a team of good local professionals to facilitate their preparation of the plan for their country. A plan that is not owned by the people whose lives it will effect can never be fully effective. This requires local professionals to be deeply involved in the preparation and engagement with the local community and stakeholders in the plan-preparation process.
We also learned that the role that Planning plays in a community’s vulnerability reduction from natural disasters needs to be understood both more widely and more deeply. As the environmental impact of climate change starts to bite, this must become a mainstream consideration for planners everywhere, not only in country’s that are recognised as being hazard prone, like St Vincent and the Grenadines, but in those that have long been considered safer like the recently storm-battered UK.
What’s happened since?
Arrangements are now in hand for work to start on preparing the National Physical Development Plan itself.