Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN12_05b_P: Participation and Environmental Conflicts
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Aleksandra Wagner, Jagiellonian University
Location: PC.2.13
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 2.

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Is spring silent? Local stakeholders perceptions on the consultation process of municipal adaptation strategies to climate change

Adriana Alves, Luisa Schmidt, João Guerra, Susana Valente

University of Lisbon, Portugal

The ClimAdaPT.Local project goal is the development of 26 Municipal Adaptation Strategies for Climate Change (MASCC), through the training of local municipality officials, engaging local communities and rehearsing an approach that can be replicated throughout the country. In order to increase the capacity for municipalities to incorporate adaptation to climate change in their planning and territorial management instruments, several methodologies and tools were developed. One of these tools is local stakeholder engagement.

In this presentation, we will show the results of that engagement tool, . Workshops were carried out in order to understand perceptions of climate change impact, local risks, and also dispositions and suggestions to be incorporated in the ongoing MASCC, in 26 sessions that brought together the main stakeholders of the local communities concerned.

Each session comprised several discussion tables, in which a moderator and a reporter facilitated the debate, based on a script structured in three fundamental axes: (i) perceptions of the impacts already felt, or not, of climate change in the municipality; (ii) assessment of the viability of the proposals included in the strategy designed by municipal officials , as well as obstacles, responsibilities, suggestions and recommendations; (iii) visions of the future: how climate change and local identity will be articulated in the near future.

In this presentation, we will analyse results regarding climate change perceptions from the different groups of stakeholders engaged in the workshops.

Of Bison and Men - Institutional analysis of controversies concerning European bison conservation in Poland

Krzysztof Niedzialkowski

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland

Poland hosts World’s biggest population of the European bison. The species, extinct in the wild in the early 20th century and successfully restored from a few captive individuals, is now strictly protected by national and EU legislation. In recent years a few large European bison conservation projects have been implemented in Poland which contributed to the doubling of the free-ranging population. This conservation success has been accompanied by a heated discussion concerning European bison management, widely reported by media as a “conservation battle”. By means of discursive-institutional approach, the paper investigates the socio-political aspects of the European bison conservation and maps key factors influencing the way the species has been managed in the last 60 years. It also identifies political and institutional background to the current conflict. The data was collected through desk research and 22 semi-structured interviews. It is argued that bison conservation has been developing along a path instigated during re-introduction of the species and led by an epistemic community of specialists in veterinary and animal science. Recently, it has been challenged by a coalition of specialists in animal ecology and animal welfare activists who construe bison differently and oppose its culling. These two coalitions try to reinterpret legislation and informal rules regulating bison management and have an impact on conservation activities. Political transformations provided windows of opportunity for their actions. It is suggested that sustainable bison conservation strategy should allow for both approaches to be applied in different sites.

Risk perception, mining industry and local people

Tuija Mononen

University of Eastern Finland, Finland

Local knowledge and perceptions on the environmental risks related to mining provide important information for understanding the impacts of mining. In my presentation I will explore the preliminary results on a survey conducted to local people connected to two Finnish mining project. The survey will provide a detailed information for developing risk perception by the local people. Risk perception, knowledge and trust of local people connected especially to water management is explored.

My main questions are: 1. How local people and communities have experienced the environmental risks, especially related to waters, of mining industry in their own area? 2. How information about mining and its environmental impacts and risks is produced, interpreted and linked to community level, and 3. What kind of possibilities there exists for integrating local knowledge and scientific knowledge on environmental risks in mining policy?

The first case, Talvivaara, represents a newer mining project, where the environmental risks have been actualized seriously. Another case, Pyhäsalmi, is an old mine which has been operating long time without any serious water problems. Pyhäsalmi mine is an underground copper and zinc mine. It is one of the oldest and deepest underground mines in Europe. Talvivaara mine is a nickel and zinc mine. Construction started, and the first metals were produced in 2008. Mining is based on bioheapleaching. Talvivaara mining project has been in publicity due to environmental problems.

Taking environmental participation seriously: when and why is participation meaningful?

Göran Sundqvist, Linda Soneryd

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Participatory approaches in environmental governance are regularly defended as capable of leading to more robust assessments and decisions. However, the extent to which such a positive assessment is possible remains dependent upon how the object of participation is apprehended and enacted by involved participants.

Public participation in environmental regulation has been a central issue for environmental sociology and science and technology studies (STS). A strong focus has been on who has what kind of relevant competence for the issue at stake, or what kinds of meanings and identities are at play in these processes. A more profound analytical focus on the nature of the issue has been lacking. One exception from this is Marres’ suggestion that studies on participation should focus more on “the issue”.

In this paper we further develop the focus on what participation is about – the issue at stake – by using the distinction between “negotiable” and “non-negotiable” questions of concern. From this distinction we provide means for unpacking and analysing the variable meaningfulness of participation: participation is less meaningful when the issue is understood as being “non-negotiable” and more meaningful when “negotiable”.

We illustrate our framework with examples from the environmental field in which public participation has been promoted as being of importance: nuclear waste management (as an example of a non-negotiable issue) and water management (as an example of a negotiable issue). The two examples are not seen as negotiable or non-negotiable in themselves, rather this is an effect of different science-policy contexts.

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