, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 239-246

Management of sediments through stakeholder involvement

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Abstract

Goal, Scope and Background

The management of sediments poses complex problems. One of the problems is the division of decision-making power, knowledge and money across different actors. These interdependencies call for stakeholder involvement. The various risks of stakeholder involvement are discussed from practical experience. Following this discussion, recommendations will be made regarding the interactive management of sediments in national and cross-national rivers.

Main Features

The first two sections will show stakeholder involvement to be both required and necessary. Stakeholder involvement ranges from no involvement, e.g. just being informed, to the other side of the scale where decision-making power is handed over to the stakeholders. Each level of participation has its own rules and roles for stakeholders, experts and policymakers. Once a certain level is chosen, the participants should adhere to it. The third section focuses on the risks accompanying stakeholder involvement. Two kinds of pitfalls are presented and discussed. The first covers general pitfalls that may occur in all kinds of processes. They comprise a lack of representativeness among the participants, the different levels of knowledge between experts and laymen, lack of communication between parties, clashing expectations when parties expect a different process than others, and finally the problem of neglecting the stakeholders when the policy process arrives at the decisionmaking phase. The second kind of pitfall occurs in international rivers. Matters become even more complicated when rivers cross borders. In that case, stakeholder involvement means dealing with different cultures and institutional differences as well.

Results and Discussions

All these pitfalls mean that the process of stakeholder involvement is not as straightforward as it may seem. Every pitfall noted is accompanied by recommendations for the participants in future interactive processes of sedimentrelated policy-making.

Conclusions

Involvement of stakeholders when dealing with sediments is complicated. The pitfalls mentioned call for a deliberate approach and set-up of such a process. Since European policymakers tend towards a higher appreciation of stakeholder involvement, it would be advisable to pay attention to those differences. Recommendations and Outlook. Apart from the recommendations given in this article, it is recommendable to carry out more empirical research into policy-processes regarding the management of sediments. To date, much research in this field has been of a theoretical nature, so that more empirical data is required.