Past experiences in participatory policy-making have shown that an integrated adaptive approach to ecosystem management is better both...
Past experiences in participatory policy-making have shown that an integrated adaptive approach to ecosystem management is better both in terms of democratic input and policy output. The EU FP7-funded AWARE project tested an innovative participatory method whereby a transnational panel of final water users - 30 citizens randomly selected from three European coastal areas (Gulf of Riga in Latvia and Estonia, Southern North Sea in France and Belgium, and Goro Lagoon in Italy) - were engaged in a number of workshops with scientific experts, stakeholders and decision makers to assess the best scientific knowledge available, the local water management practices and the EU policies.
The panel of citizens formulated and presented their recommendations for a sustainable coastal water management at several conferences, which established a dialogue between lay citizens, scientists, experienced stakeholders and decision-makers. The recommendations addressed eutrophication, good ecological/environmental status, biodiversity and sustainability, public communication and awareness campaigns. The focus of AWARE was on improving the science-policy interface in the water sector, and on exploring the role that civil society can play in this venture, with the aim to address the call for more public participation in the context of EU water policies (Water and Marine Strategy Framework Directives).