The paper investigates the relevance of participatory approaches to environmental policy-making when sustainable development is taken as the encompassing normative basis for environmental governance. In the first section, we illustrate the frequent references to participatory approaches in environmental decision-making. We then look at environmental issue attributes as determinants of the problem-solving requirements for environmental decision-making. We conclude the section by investigating whether and how participatory approaches could answer some of these requirements. In the second section, an illustration is proposed with the presentation of a participatory process that took place in 1997, during the last phase of the international negotiations that led to the Kyoto Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and in 1998 in the preparation of the post-Kyoto phase. The process, organised by the European Commission, consisted of a series of workshops whose objective was to furnish timely inputs responding to the European Commission's information needs for climate policy formation in the pre- and post-Kyoto periods. This was to be achieved through the establishment of interfaces between: (i) the research community; (ii) the EC Climate negotiation team and through it the EU Member States representatives; (iii) other Commission interests (the ‘inside stakeholders’); (iv) a range of ‘outside’ stakeholders including industry, finance and commerce, employment, environment, consumer and citizen interests. We reflect on the participatory nature of the process and show how the process met some of the decision-making requirements identified in the first section.
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2000
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