Local action plan through a cooperative, non-adversarial, constructive engagement process

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  • First let’s take a look at the industrial site. The site is situated near a canal in the North of Belgium. Since the beginning of the 20th century there is an industrial activity: two non-ferrous sites and one big company where bricks are produced
  • In the north west of the canal there still is a company that produces lead and antimony. In the nord there is the brick factory, inj the south another metal producing factory. There are also a few minor factories, here in the north east. Very important fo us en,vironmental healt workers is the viccinity of three residences
  • Local action plan through a cooperative, non-adversarial, constructive engagement process

    1. 1. Setting up a local environmental health action plan (LEHAP) around an industrial site in Beerse (Belgium - Flanders) through a cooperative, non-adversarial, constructive engagement process K. Wynants, J. Van Damme (MOPAN)
    2. 2. Content1. Short history of industrial site Beerse2. Social context3. Why a multiparty partnership?4. The start of the partnership5. Intensifying the partnership6. Results7. Legitimize the partnership8. Lessons learned 2
    3. 3. Industrial site ‘kanaalzone West History• +/- 1900: Kempen area was poor, sparsely populated, with little agricultural activity: ideal for polluting activities• 3 companies settled around the canal in Beerse • Two produced heavy metals (copper, lead, antimony, …) • One production site of bricks/ clay mining activities  Heavy pressure on the surrounding environment 3
    4. 4. Industrial site ‘kanaalzone West History 4
    5. 5. Social context• Growing urbanization around the canal: conflicting interests starting to appear• 70’s, 80’s, 90’s: ‘social outbreaks’  several ad hoc initiatives:  Soil investigations  Vegetable investigations  Information on the environmental health risks of heavy metals and precautionary measurements: social resistance  Perceived as an easy solution for the government/companies  Residents felt not responsable, had no kind of influence in the decision making process: ‘victims’• A general atmosphere of indifference, dissatisfaction, frustration, distrust 5
    6. 6. Social context (’05)• No collaboration, no cohesion• No satisfying, sustainable, effective approach• A great need to bring all parties together: • How? • Who? • When?• No experience nor expertise with facilitating interactive processes, group dynamics, …• Change of role of local environmental health worker: from ‘environmental health expert’ to a ‘process facilitator’ 6
    7. 7. Why a multiparty partnership?• Local environmental health hot spots are complex• Different levels of actions, different parties need to act and collaborate Productie zink, Sanering Roken binnen Cadmium cadmium, ... grondwater Omwonenden zinkassen Bedrijf Omwonenden uitstoot cadmium Uitstoot Lozing binnenbronnen cadmium Cadmium Omwonenden Bedrijf Bedrijf Cadmium in oppervlaktewater cadmium in Cadmium in Cadmium in de Cadmium in binnenlucht de buitenlucht ondergrond grondwater Cadmium in Cadmium in Kennis stof binnenhuis bodemstof cadmium en de gevolgen Kennis van cadmium Omwonenden Cadmiumstof in cadmium in eten de mond Omwonenden Omwonenden Sociaal klimaat Cadmium in de Cadmium in longen bloed, urine Omwonenden Omwonenden Perceptie risico Omwonenden Fysieke incl. 7 neurotoxische psychische Sociaal welzijn gezondheidstoestand gezondheidstoestand in relatie tot m.b.t. cadmium Omwonenden cadmium Omwonenden
    8. 8. Start of the partnership• 2006: a biomonitoring campaign to collect more detailed data  about the human exposure to toxic metals (cadmium, lead) in the neighboorhood  About the perception of the environmental health risks  About the needs in the neighborhood concerning participation in a future decision making process= A concrete project that provided an opportunity to start the collaboration 8
    9. 9. Start of the partnership• A three level collaboration:  Project team: Flemish health administration, local environmental health worker  Steering group: + school, local government, local health advisory, GP’s  Consultation group: + residents, other administrations, factories, …• A split of roles:  Flemish health administration = ‘experts’  local environmental health worker = ‘facilitator of the process’  Information  Consultation: rather simple interactive working methods 9
    10. 10. Intensifying the partnership• 2007: biomonitoring campaign finished  Results were not extremely worrying: no crisis situation  Growing mutual trust and appreciation Together with all parties: decision to intensify ‘the partnership’:  to translate the results of the biomonitoring campaign into concrete policy measurements: One common local environmental health action plan  One large steering group instead of a ‘consulting group’: coproduction instead of consultation  Robust plan for interactive process 10
    11. 11. Voorjaar 2007: scharniermoment Process design Beerse 11
    12. 12. 12
    13. 13. Results• Local environmental health action plan (2007-2012)  Divers (other focusses)  Cheap  ‘consensus’  Distribution of tasks and accountability  Increased engagement  …• Mutual respect, understanding, trust, satisfaction… 13
    14. 14. Results 14
    15. 15. Resultaten (inhoudelijk/procesmatig) Legitimize the partnership• No legal basis, no procedures: legitimacy?• Solutions: 1. Compete in Awards: • Wyeth health&environment Award 2007 • European public sector Awards 2007 (diploma) • Belgian Energy & environment Award 2008 (nomination) 2. Academic interest in the process - Scientific research 3. Declaration of Engagement • List of the major agreements • Signed by all the parties • ‘Gentlemen’s agreement’ • Explicit mutual appreciation 15
    16. 16. Resultaten Lessons learned (inhoudelijk/procesmatig)• Mutual trust is key, building trust takes time• Continuous input of impulses needed to keep everybody going  On site visits  Application of interactive working methods (brainstorming, metaplan, priorities grid, …)  Different hosts for every meeting  Informal drinks  …• Monitoring of expectations: on individual as on group level  Anticipate evolutions, coaching, ‘shepherd’• Facilitator:  Explicit about your role, neutral  A great will to bring all parties closer together , accepted by all parties• Process design:  As simple as possible: transparent, accessible  Roles/impact are more clear 16  Less chewing
    17. 17. Resultaten (inhoudelijk/procesmatig) Lessons learned• Consensus:  Not necessary  Takes too much time  Creative ideas get lost• Labour/time intensive:  For both participants as facilitators  Participation fatigue: sometimes too intense  Repeatable in other hotspots? Better preliminary division/analysis of the subject/policy space is desirable• Limited interest/engagement from policy makers  Delay  Unclear legitimacy  More freedom, space and time to experiment/learn• Policy makers do not share common values and sometimes ignore agreements 17
    18. 18. Resultaten (inhoudelijk/procesmatig) Aanbevelingen• Tijdsintensief: kwestie van keuzes, waarden• Positie/context Vlaamse ambtenaar • extreem moeilijk, zeker in lokale context • OVAM: strikt wettelijke/juridische• Eigenschappen overheidsactoren • Doorzettingsvermogen, wil om te slagen • Durven experimenteren, ondernemen • Ingesteldheid: empathie, respect • Bewust van verschillende perspectieven, belangen • Durven controle loslaten; controle en vertrouwen in/via het proces: gedeelde verantwoordelijkheid• Iedereen af en toe eens laten scoren, zeker politiek• Participatie = samenleving, overheid ‘verversen’, vernieuwen • Niet enkel interne oefening • Interne organisatiecultuur wel heel belangrijk• Ambtelijk niveau kan wel degelijk verschil maken 18• Beerse: unieke samenwerking tussen bovenlokaal en lokaal
    19. 19. Koen Wynants Antwerpen aant woord (A) Gasstraat 12, 2060 Antwerpen (T) 0473/865503 (M) info@antwerpenaantwoord.be (W) www.antwerpenaantwoord.be,www.facebook.com/Antwerpenaantwoord, @ Aaantwoord 19

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