Research on Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making Workshop
The “Concertation, Decision and Environment” research programme (CDE Programme) was launched in 1999, by the research department of the French Ministry of the Environment. Its aim is to address the stakes of the massive development of citizens’ participation in environmental decision-making, to analyse how (highly diverse) participation processes work. Like all Environmental Ministry funded research, the programme has a dual ambition of contributing both to knowledge and to public policy.
To help internationalise French research on participation in environmental decision-making, the programme organised a joint two-day workshop with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, in April 2011. This allowed for in-depth discussion between French and UK-based researchers, on the diversity of approaches and perspectives in each country.
The workshop focussed on the following questions:
- How has public participation in environmental matters developed as a research field in both countries over the last few decades?
- What are some influential approaches, or ‘schools of thought’, in this area and what are the debates between them?
- How has the practice and context of public participation in environmental matters evolved over the last decade?
- What are the important current issues and shifts in this area, both in practice and research?
- How does research join the international dimension of participation (eg. participation in international decision-making, EU or Aarhus convention-based participation, etc.) with its national and sub-national dimensions?
- What are the perspectives for research in this field?
Smith School Visiting Fellow and Programme Chair, Professor Laurent Mermet, facilitated the workshop, with Dr Bettina Wittneben welcoming delegates on behalf of SSEE. Presentations were given by Dr Jason Chilvers (University of East Anglia), Cecile Blatrix (AgroParisTech), Etienne Ballan (ARENES), Professor Dr Pieter Leroy (Universite de Nijmegen), and Dr Bernard Reber (Universite Paris 4-Sorbonne).
The workshop was divided up into sessions focussing on the following:
- Trans-national and national stakes of environmental public participation – and of environmental participation research.
- Comparative research on environmental participation.
- Disciplines, theoretical perspectives and schools of thought.
- The next decade of environmental participation: practical stakes, issues for research.