Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PAGANINI — Result In Brief

Project ID: 505791
Funded under: FP6-CITIZENS
Country: Austria

Politics of life

Involving European citizens in governance processes of controversial issues such as genetic engineering and nuclear power will help the EU become a model society for the world.
Politics of life
Good governance in the EU involves wading through a variety of sensitive or controversial subjects, often with strong moral and socioeconomic components. From nuclear power and genetic testing to tainted food and biological cloning, governance helps define and set the rules for EU Member States and their institutions.

The EU-funded project 'Participatory governance and institutional innovation' (Paganini) studied how to address challenges in key subjects that affect our livelihood, i.e. the 'politics of life'. It looked at how society could be involved in governance to advance itself.

Through a series of workshops, the project team analysed case studies involving civic participation to improve life's prickly issues. It tackled topics such as the definition of human life, stem cell research and genetic testing among others, considering new forms of participatory governance to address them.

Another important topic examined was conservation policy and planning, which involves land-use planning and subsistence practices to overcome socio-political conflicts. Interesting cases studied include endangered species such as the loggerhead turtle in Greece and the flying squirrel in Finland.

Civic participation was also examined with respect to food scares and food scandals such as Mad Cow Disease, focusing on emerging participatory practices in this area as well. Not far from the topic of food scares is genetic modification of foods, also studied under the project. In this respect Paganini examined the controversy surrounding agricultural biotechnology, related conflicts in governance and the role of society's input.

Lastly, the project looked at dilemmas related to nuclear power, particularly in New Member States. Lithuania's lg-nalina nuclear power plant represented an excellent case study in this respect.

Paganini compared the research results from the different case studies and outlined valuable conclusions for designing participatory initiatives in different levels of government across the EU. The project disseminated its results through the project website and with the support of the Danish Board of Technology, as well as at several conferences. Slowly but surely, European society will have more of a say in key matters that concern its well-being.

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