Framing stakeholder participation: From interests to building blocks
(Technical University Delft)
Paper short abstract:
Paper long abstract:
The management of water is a topic of great concern. Inadequate management may lead to water scarcity and ecological destruction, but also to an increase of catastrophic floods. With climate change, both water scarcity and the risk of flooding are likely to increase even further in the coming decades. This makes water management currently a highly dynamic field, in which experiments are made with new forms of policy making. It is increasingly recognized that an adequate management of water requires that the institutional constraints and juridical context be taken into account. Both in academia and policy circles, the attention has therefore shifted from water management towards water governance, requiring the combined and coordinated effort of both technical and non-technical experts, and (local) stakeholders. In the current paper, a case study is presented in which different interest groups were invited for developing new water policy, including representatives from agriculture, fisheries, and nature organizations. The case was innovative in that it invited the stakeholders to identify and frame the most urgent water issues, rather than asking them to reflect on possible solutions developed by the water authority itself. After different consultation rounds, the stakeholders converged to a set of 10-15 building blocks for water policy which are currently being worked out in more detail by mixed groups of stakeholders. The case study suggests that stakeholders can participate more effectively if their contribution is focused on the underlying competing values rather than conflicting interests.
Stakeholder involvement: An inclusive or exclusive practice?