Proceedings of Conference. 4th-7th June 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Proceedings of Conference. 4th-7th June 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland.


Parallel Session 2

Session 2.1. Public participation in WFD

Participation as a key factor for the successful implementation of the WFD

Britta Kastens, Jens Newig

University of Osnabrück , Germany

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) calls for various modes of public participation and involvement, which are judged as key factors to support the successful implementation of the WFD in terms of good water status. This paper aims to explore the role of “active involvement” of regional stakeholders for an effective implementation of the WFD regarding the specific problem of reducing agricultural nitrate intakes into groundwater. Our case of reference is the Hase river catchment in North-west Germany as a paradigmatic example of an intensive livestock farming region with high nitrate levels in groundwater. Special emphasis is put on the various forms of involvement that have recently been or will soon be established in the larger region on different spatial and administrative scales. These include public information via the internet, a state council, regional fora and local area co-operations. We argue that although the WFD refers to whole river basins, it is particularly the regional scale that will strongly influence the implementation process, because other geographical scales will be too large for decision-making processes in favour of the Directives’ demands. We work out multiple scenarios, demonstrating both the uncertainties at stake and the range of possible effects by different outcomes of participatory processes, which, in turn, are closely linked to the interests, perceptions and strengths of different actors. Identifying critical paths and decision points then allows mapping out corridors regarding the anticipated success or failure of such regional institutions for public participation in reducing diffuse agricultural pollution in groundwater bodies.

Full paper

Reflections on building active involvement into the role of competent authority for the Water Framework Directive – the experience of the Environment Agency in England and Wales

Peter Bailey, John Colvin, Paula Orr

Environment Agency , England

The Environment Agency has been designated as the sole ‘competent authority’ for implementing the Water Framework Directive (WFD) in England and Wales . The Agency is responsible for reporting on progress to the EC. However, successful implementation will require the collaboration of partners and co-deliverers and the support of a broad range of stakeholders. Since 2003 the Agency has been investigating and testing a range of new approaches to involve others in river basin management: improving stakeholder representation and engagement in a pilot river basin; designing a decision-making framework spanning a number of spatial scales; introducing innovation in planning and design; and using a learning process to drive adaptive management. While the results of this investigation have influenced the Agency’s Framework for River Basin Planning, translating learning into practice has been coloured by the practical realities of a working in a large public institution with competing priorities.

This presentation will review how the Environment Agency is going about encouraging active involvement of interested parties in the WFD. We will look at developments in the representation of stakeholders, establishing a decision-making framework at different scales and innovation in the design and planning of engagement processes. We will draw on our experience of using social learning to support the development of new ways of working and reflect on what it means for an institution like the Environment Agency to become a “learning organisation”.

Mapping public participation in the Water Framework Directive: a case study of the Pinios river basin in Greece

Ioanna Mouratiadou, Dominic Moran

University of Edinburgh , UK

The EU Water Framework Directive requires the involvement and participation of stakeholders and the public for enhancing the sustainability of water resource management. The Directive is non prescriptive as to how public participation in water management should be operationalised in practice, and this creates a wider role for research that can inform this process. This study explores the issue of public participation, in the context of the Pinios River Basin in Greece , using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping, a form of qualitative modeling directly related to stakeholders’ perceptions. Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping has been used to elicit stakeholder and public perceptions on the current state and pressures on water resources, the acceptability of achieving full cost recovery for water services, and to explore the potential effects of different water management policy options on water resources of the area. The study offers a perspective on the potential contribution of Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping in involving stakeholders and the public in water resource management. The main advantages of the method include the ease in capturing both local and expert knowledge, the ability to elicit and compare the perceptions of different stakeholder groups, and the ability to unify the respondents’ viewpoints and understanding of a system without demanding their direct interaction.

Full paper

Session 2.2. Conflict and legitimacy in conservation of biodiversity

From conflict to co-operation – to the ecosystems approach – a case study in stakeholder participation for a European marine site in Kent

Diana Pound

Dialogue Matters, Kent , UK

In 1998/99 The Thanet Coast Natura 2000 site was an early example of where stakeholders participated in a deliberately designed and facilitated consensus building process. The process was used to help stakeholders explore issues and agree the content of a European marine site management scheme for 28 miles of the Kent Coast in England . The process transformed a situation of tension to active co-operation and a new partnership project that helped to pioneer further innovative approaches to coastal management. The management scheme is being reviewed and the process to do this and agree the contents of the next scheme, has again led the way. This time stakeholder dialogue has been used to take a new and integrated approach to management called the Ecosystems Approach.

Full paper

Wintering geese in the Netherlands … legitimate policy?!!

Gilbert R. Leistra

WageningenUniversity (Applied Philosophy Group), The Netherlands

The purpose of this summary paper is to explore the issue of legitimacy in the concrete case study of wintering geese in the Netherlands 12 . This paper starts with a section that places the theoretical notions of legitimacy in relation to the character of nature conservation in the Netherlands . The next section describes in some detail the implementation of the Policy Framework Fauna Management (PFFM). In the final section the legitimacy of the PFFM is assessed. Rather than giving a simplistic normative judgement, the assessment tries to highlight the problems and possibilities of legitimacy production in nature conservation policy.

Full paper

Assessing the threat of exotic plant pests

David Cook and Wendy Proctor

CISRO, Australia

This case study highlights a participatory technique to prioritise the environmental, social and other impacts associated with the introduction of exotic plant pests (EPPs) in Australia . Some EPPs have a significant effect on agricultural production. In some cases entire industries can be closed down due to the introduction of a new EPP, so the cost of introduction becomes the value that industry would have contributed to the economy had it not been lost. When an EPP destroys an area of native bushland the same principle applies. The only problem is that there is no market price for native bushland or the species within it which we can use to establish the cost of the EPP. Biosecurity research has to date directed little attention to assessing the potential environmental impacts associated with the introduction of an EPP such as the complete eradication of a native species or the wider socio-economic effects that may be caused for instance through wiping out an entire farming town’s major source of income. As well, the threat of introduction of various invasive species may be clouded by political concerns or overemphasised by strong lobby groups. In this research we used Deliberative Multi-criteria Evaluation with a group of stakeholders to determine funding priorities for the prevention of introducing EPPs. The resulting priorities were contrary to the current funding priorities placed on EPPs and showed that incorporation of wider considerations reflecting sustainable development and greater availability of information was essential in dealing with these potential problems.

Session 2.3. Critical perspectives on participation

Forms and functions of participatory technology assessment – or: why should we be more sceptical about public participation?

Gabriele Abels

Institute for Science and Technology Studies (IWT), Bielefeld University , Germany

The participation of a variety of new actors in social spaces of science and technology policy-making has become an important issue in STS as well as in politics. The field of technology assessment offers an excellent example. The literature refers to procedures creating such multi-actor spaces as “participatory technology assessment” (PTA). They are considered to be one promising way to promote direct interaction among members of the general public, interest groups, professional experts and policy makers in multi-actor spaces with the general aim of democratising S&T governance. Over the last ten years PTA has been employed in many European countries, but also elsewhere in the world, especially in the field of biotechnology/genetically modified organisms. Recently, the European level has displayed some support for more participatory science and technology policy-making.

The political as well as the academic debate over PTA has been influenced by romanticised notions about the social functions of participation. PTA is believed to increase the motivation of those involved, enhance the knowledge and values basis of policy-making, initiate social learning processes, open up opportunities for conflict resolution and pursuit of the common good, and enhance acceptance and legitimacy of political decisions. I argue that our overall knowledge is limited and that there are both empirical and theoretical reasons to be more sceptical about PTA. I propose a typology of PTA that outlines the linkages between its actual forms and assumed functions and discuss the underlying model of democracy.

Full paper

Improving Environmental Quality Through Participation? A Critical Perspective on the Effectiveness of Public Participation

Oliver Fritsch, Jens Newig

Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of OsnabrückGermany

Consensual and participative forms of environmental governance are becoming increasingly important and are increasingly institutionalized. We observe that the main motive for the current emphasis of public involvement in environmental decisions is the expectation of enhanced implementation and compliance. This is shown drawing on current international and EU developments (part 1). We argue that, as of now, this expectation is based on a claim that still remains insufficiently substantiated. The effects of participatory processes on implementation of and compliance with political measures have up to now neither been sufficiently conceptualized nor empirically explored in a systematic fashion. We propose a causal model that integrates different hypotheses regarding the conditions under which public participation is likely to enhance the environmental efficiency, or effectiveness, of decisions (part 2). This model serves as a conceptual framework for a comparative secondary analysis of existing case studies as part of an ongoing research project. First results are presented, highlighting different types of participatory settings and the problems of an appropriate notion of effectiveness (part 3).

Full paper

Public participation or public management?

Harald Heinrichs and Heiko Grunenberg

University Lüneburg , Germany

In this paper we will characterize the different context conditions in Bremen and Hamburg and then discuss based on our representative survey from Hamburg and Bremen the views of citizens regarding participatory risk management. How do they assess the respective roles of state actors, civil society and private households regarding risk management? What do they think about the distribution of responsibility? To what extent are they familiar with participatory approaches? Are their differences in the assessment of participatory approaches based on socio-demographic factors, such as age, gender, education, income?

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