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Focus Groups, Citizens

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Title: Focus Groups, Citizens


1
Focus Groups, Citizens Juries and Open Space
method Innovative tools of public involvement in
water management
  • Kati Kangur
  • Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation
    Estonia

9th June, St. Petersburg
2
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3
Rationale behind involving stakeholders in
decision-making
  • Increase the public awareness and acceptance of
    the problems in water management and measures
    that need to be taken for solution
  • Enrich QUALITY OF DECISIONS with relevant
    viewpoints and local information about the water
    issue that could not have been generated
    otherwise.
  • Widen the RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions made
    and actions taken as stakeholders are drawn into
    the deliberation about the problems that need to
    be solved and so become co-responsible for the
    decisions that are made and actions that are
    taken.

4
Preconditions for effective public involvement
  • Widespread recognition of its value
  • Political will to implement the deliberated
    decisions, economical feasibility
  • Practical guidance and capacity to involve
    citizens and their recommendations in policy
    design.
  • The analyses of the public participation results
    provide a starting point for the integrated water
    management strategies including the awareness
    building and public action fostering.

5
Overview of innovative public involvement tools
  • Focus Group interviews
  • Citizens Juries
  • Open Space method

6
Focus groups and citizens juries tested inEU
5th FP funded RIVER DIALOGUE project
Empowerment and Awareness Building in River
Basin Management Through Focus Groups and
Citizens Juries
  • Aimed at identifying most effective participatory
    approach in the river basin management plan
    design

7
Focus groups
  • 48 members in a group discussion on certain
    issue
  • In a free atmosphere participants exchange their
    points of views and experiences building each
    other awareness and acceptance of others
    perspectives
  • Reach common understanding of the problem
  • Source of information on uncovered topics

8
Example Mapping stakeholders needs in Emajõgi
River Basin
  • How are environmental risks perceived?
  • Sources of environmental information?
  • Interest towards water management?
  • Possibilities for influencing environmental
    policy-making?

9
Interviews
Spring 2003 in Emajõgi River Basin with
stakeholders focused on
  • Schoolchildren
  • Community activists
  • Water tourism entrepreneurs
  • Fishermen
  • Farmers
  • Summer cottage owners
  • Local government officials
  • Representatives of water sport club
  • Environmental NGOS

10
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11
Participants perception of the experience
  • Majority of participants expectations were
    fulfilled
  • Got to say out their opinion
  • Exchange of information and experiences on water
    management
  • Pleasant to discuss together issues that
    otherwise are not talked about

12
Focus groups findings
  • Awareness of the risks is a precondition for
    interest in participation in solving
    environmental problems
  • Lack of information and relevant experiences
    furthers opposition among stakeholders
  • Water information in hard to understand and for
    common people
  • Water management earns too little public
    attention
  • WM is dominated by out of local context
    environmental protection and EU bureaucracy
    standards
  • Focus groups is an efficient method to evoke
    diverse understandings and building public
    awareness

13
Citizens juries
  • A group of representatives of the community comes
    together to carefully deliberate on the problem
    significant to the community.
  • Panel members hear expert opinions give their
    suggestions for the solution.
  • The decision made by the panel will be delivered
    to the policy-makers and for implementation

14
YES or NO for the water tourism development on
Emajõgi River
15
Conducting Citizens Jury
  • Jury members inhabitants of Puhja and Rannu
    municipalities
  • Presentations of witnesses from different
    sectors river port, nature reserve, NGO,
    engineer, businessman
  • Enabled participants to get to know different
    perspectives on the development of Emajõgi region
  • Gives participants possibility to utter their
    opinion on issue at stake
  • Gives information on the public perceptions of
    the problems and value orientations, needs and
    interests
  • At the end of the day Jury compiled their
    recommendations
  • Report was sent to state and local authorities
    dealing with River Emajõgi WM issues

16
YES or NO for the water tourism development on
Emajõgi River
  • Water Association lead by Min. of Environment,
    focal point of public involvement in river basin
    management plans design
  • Estonian Civil Society Development Act (2003)
    support for the NGOs and local civil actions
  • Increasing activeness and acknowledgement of NGOs
    as states partners

17
Open Space Method tested in frames of GEF
project of Lake Peipsi-Chudskoe Basin Management
plan
  • MIN. MODERATION MAX CITIZENS INPUT
  • Participants are free to raise a problem of
    discussion
  • Choose a group of discussion to contribute to
  • Jointly evaluate the significnace of the problem
  • Compose a strategy for the problem solution

18
Future of Environmental Education in Lake Peipsi
basin?
  • Discussion groups on teachers capacity, state
    support, media coverage, tehnical means for water
    education education etc.
  • Example of following concrete action
  • Contribution to Min.o.Environment and
    Min.o.Education strategy on outdoors
    environmental education development

19
YES or NO for the water tourism development on
Emajõgi River
  • Water Association lead by Min. of Environment,
    focal point of public involvement in river basin
    management plans design
  • Estonian Civil Society Development Act (2003)
    support for the NGOs and local civil actions
  • Increasing activeness and acknowledgement of NGOs
    as states partners

20
Lessons Learned
  • Citizens juries, focus groups and open space
    methods
  • Enable participants to get to know different
    perspectives on a challenge in water management
  • Give information on the public perceptions of the
    problems and value orientations, needs and
    interests
  • Promote political dialogue aimed at mutual
    understanding not aiming at complete agreements,
    but rather that they try to resolve conflicts by
    finding an acceptable solution
  • After careful careful consideration also ordinary
    people are able to discuss complex water
    management issues !

21
For more information
  • www.ctc.ee
  • www.riverdialogue.org
  • E-mail kati.kangur_at_ctc.ee
  • Thank You !
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