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Enabling citizen choices about land use and the natural environment


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Best practice in stakeholder participation for environmental management from the Sustainable Uplands and Involved projects. Presented to Scottish Government Advisors, 15th March 2011

Best practice in stakeholder participation for environmental management from the Sustainable Uplands and Involved projects. Presented to Scottish Government Advisors, 15th March 2011

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  • 1. Enabling citizen choices about land use and the natural environment
    Experience from the Sustainable Uplands and Involved projects
  • 2. Plan
    What can published literature tell us?
    New research on citizen engagement in land use and environmental decisions
    Case Study: Lessons from the Sustainable Uplands project
  • 3. 1. Introduction
  • 4. Participation: frustrating...
    ... yet alluring
  • 5. How can you design participatory processes that can effectively engage stakeholders in policy decisions?
    How can we harness participation to achieve social and environmental benefits, but avoid the pitfalls?
  • 6. 2. What can published literature tell us?
  • 7. 1. Start talking to people as soon as you can
    From concept to completion
    Early involvement leads to higher quality and more durable decisions
    Avoid raising false expectations: make sure there’s something to negotiate
  • 8. 2. Make sure you’re talking to the right people
    • The nature and legitimacy of outcomes is significantly affected by participant mix
    • 9. Lots of methods available now for “stakeholder analysis”
    • Design the process to the goals
    • 10. Identify goals with stakeholders
    • 11. Be prepared to negotiate and compromise
    • 12. Partnerships, ownership and active engagement in the process is more likely
    3. Make sure you know what people want to talk about
  • 13.
    • Communicate
    e.g. information dissemination via leaflets or the mass media, hotlines and public meetings
    • Consult
    e.g. consultation documents, opinion polls and referendums, focus groups and surveys
    • Participate
    e.g. citizen’s juries, consensus conferences, task-forces and public meetings with voting
    • Tailor your methods to context
    • 14. Manage power
    4. Be flexible: base level of participation & methods on your context & objectives
  • 15.
    • The outcome of a participatory process is more sensitive to the manner in which it is conducted than the tools that are used
    • 16. Don’t underestimate the power of investing in a good facilitator to bring people together and deliver high quality outcomes
    5. Get a facilitator
  • 17. 6. Put local and scientific knowledge on an equal footing
    • Science can help people make more informed decisions
    • 18. Local knowledge can question assumptions, and perhaps lead to more rigorous science
    • Decisions based on a combination of local and scientific knowledge may by more robust due to more comprehensive information inputs
  • 3. New research…
  • 19. The projects
    Ecopag: quantitative analysis of 2-300 case studies
    Involved: in-depth interviews with those who led and participated in environmental management projects/programmes
    5 projects/programmes in Spain & 5 in Portugal
    Along continuum from less-more participatory
    Studying a replicated participatory process in these plus 10 other countries
    Role of process versus context?
  • 20. Emerging lessons
    Low levels of participation may lead to simple solutions: easily implemented and accepted but ineffective
    High levels of participation may lead to deeper understanding, learning and more complex solutions: more effective but harder to apply
    Policy makers with actual decision-making power, need to be included in the process for short-termimpact
    In some cases, their presence created a power imbalance that limited active participation & generation of new ideas
    But if decision-makers not part of process, immediate implementation of findings is less likely
  • 21. Emerging lessons
    If land managers are well represented, outcomes are generally economically and practically feasible, and there are more social benefits (social learning, better functioning social networks, increased trust)
    Involvement of this group increases likelihood that process outcomes are implemented in longer term
    To get participation of land managers, the process needs to be brought to their local context and communication tailored appropriately
  • 22. 4. Case Study: Sustainable Uplands
  • 23. Working with people in uplands to better anticipate and respond to future change
    7 years (ending 2012)
    Sites: Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Galloway
    £1.1M from RELU and ESRC
    29 researchers: Universities of Aberdeen, Leeds, St Andrews, Durham, Sheffield & others with Moors for the Future & Heather Trust
  • 24.
    • Inputs to policy processes e.g. via Defra’suplands policy review, CRC’s upland inquiry, Foresight, NEA, Scottish Government Rural Land Use Study, IUCN peatland programme and consultation responses
    • 25. >£800K for 17 projects applying project outputs e.g. Yorkshire Water, Natural England, DEFRA, Premier Waste, United Utilities, Lancashire Wildlife Trust
  • Key messages
    Worth investing to find out who wants what & tailoring the process from the outset (but you could short-cut our approach to stakeholder analysis)
    Tailor outputs to multiple learning preferences: use a variety of techniques & technologies to unpack “black boxes”
    Know your stakeholders to get timing right
  • 26. Key messages
    A shared philosophy:
    Different expertise, but compatible ways of viewing/constructing knowledge & compatible values/beliefs
    Working in partnership: learning from and with stakeholders as equals to make a difference
  • 27. Please take one
    Cards for
    RELU Policy & Practice Notes
    Follow up? Possible sessions on:
    Stakeholder analysis
    Other participatory methods
    Facilitation (see handout)
  • 28.
    Follow us on:
  • 29. Contact
    Follow us on:
    Call or text on: 0797 428 6778