Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Report on good European practises for stakeholder involvement - lessons from real planning processes

The HarmoniCOP project has been set up in the framework of the 5th European Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (Contract nr EVK1-CT-2002-00120). It aims to increase the understanding of participatory river basin management against the background of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). This document is one report of the HarmoniCOP project Work Package 5 (WP5) dedicated to the examination of social learning in a river basin management context across 11 European case studies.

The key objectives of the research for WP5 were: to gain first-hand experience with PP in river basin management so as to examine how social processes and IC tools and models are applied and used in practice at the river basin level; and to study the issues identified in HarmoniCOP work packages 1-4 and test the ideas developed about effective PP, so as to identify approaches that work and those that do not, highlighting those which can be put forward as Good European Practices.

The main elements of the methodology used in this research were: a selection of case-studies with a wide range of historical, geographical and institutional backgrounds to provide an analysis applicable to a wide range of conditions; use of a common analytical approach based on a pool of questions developed from the earlier work-packages of the HarmoniCOP project, and use of common template to report the results development of a cross-case-study analytical template which bought together all the findings about the barriers to social learning and the mechanisms which supported social learning from the case-studies so that commonalities and differences could be highlighted.

The research conclusions were associated with: the importance of context; the need to build teams to build resilience and capacity around key people/facilitators/leaders; facilitate a beneficial attitude through positive interactions and avoid overly lengthy procedures; Learn from crisis and see it as an opportunity to better prepare for the next one: have a strategy for communication when dealing with stakeholders: involve key stakeholders in bottom up planning to improve water resource plans: allow time and resources for participatory processes, particularly in early stages: investigate the use of IC Tools and apply in a transparent way that is meaningful for the stakeholders.

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