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The benefits of public participation are many and it is not easy to categorise them. It is important to note that public participation suggests direct involvement of the public and takes place, preferably, in an open discussion with decision makers.

In general, a number of benefits can be listed like below.

  Sustainable Development

Sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of all stakeholders

  Environmental Protection

Environmental issues can be addressed when valued by the public. It is important that a party represents the interest of the environment in the public debate. Without such a party the environment will not be put on the agenda

  Conflict Management

Although conflicts cannot be avoided, they are made explicit in the public participation debate. This makes conflict handling more efficient.

  Project Understanding and Reduction of Public Opposition

The public, being the user of a system, is the only party that can assess and valuate the impacts of (possible) measures on the functions of a coastal environment.

  Economical Benefits

If the public is involved in the full decision making process, their concerns may be met early on in the planning process when changes may be easier to make, rather than late in the process when even small changes may cost both time and money.

  Effective use of the available data in ICZM process

According to Budd (1999), public participation and consultation is an opportunity to solicit the "hidden" knowledge of the wider community and their key concerns.

  Other Benefits

Acceptance of the public as a valued partner in the CZM process can inspire the co-operation between citizens, their government, and industries that is crucial to the success of a regulatory system.

Example: Construction of port in Gelendjik bay, Black sea coast, Russia

WHEN

The decision on construction of cargo port in Gelendjik bay was taken in 1993 and in 1995 this decision was confirmed with "Conception of development of ports of Krasnodar territory". Public contraction started after the beginning of the reconstruction of cargo-passenger berth with expansion of territory at the expense of acres, which are part of the protected area of Solncedar mineral water field.

MAIN ISSUES

Main problems concerned with the project are:

  • Breach of general city planning and its transportation system scheme.
  • Violation of Federal laws "About natural medicinal resources, medicinal areas and resorts", "About specially protected territories".
  • Negative influence on Solncedar mineral water field.
  • Disturbance of bay ecosystem due to dredging (suggested by the project), construction of deep-sea terminal, movement of ships and their anchorage.
  • Loss of importance of the bay as main landscape, medicinal and recreational resource of Gelendjik.
  • Territorial loss for the city

The Main problem concerning public participation in the project was that the previous city administration (1993 -1997) was on the investors' side.

WHO

Co-ordinating body or lead partner of ICZM process or project Initiators of the process were:

  1. Gelendjik primary organisation of environmental party of Russia "Kedr" (1996 - 1998)
  2. Non-governmental organisation "Public environmental expertise" (from 1998)
  3. Social-environmental centre of Black Sea (from 1999)
  4. Deputy of State Duma N.A. Zacepina, group of deputies of council of public deputies of Gelendjik
  5. Major of city-resort S.P. Ozerov (from 1998)

HOW

The process of involving the public had no special financing. People performed up to their own initiative.

PROGRESS & CONTINUETY

Currently reconstruction of the port in Gelendjik bay is not being realized. The issue of Conception of development of ports in Krasnodar Territory "Port in Gelendjik" was excluded.

LESSONS LEARNT

The next issues contributed to achieving results:

1. Competent information gathering

2. Timely appeal to deputies of State Duma of RF and realisation of parliament hearings (1998)

3. Repeated public hearings and discussions

4. Participation of public representatives of Gelendjik in the work of state environmental impact assessment

5. Public environmental impact assessment (1998)

6. Repeated statements in mass-media

7. City and local meetings, Cossack picket

8. Carrying out of two referendums: 1998 - was declared frustrated, 2000 - was combined with elections of president of RF, and the question was asked "do you think, that construction of cargo port in Gelendjik bay will cause irreparable damage to environment of the bay and development of city-resort Gelendjik?". 80% of constituency gave a positive answer

FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information contact: International KYPZ-centre
Krasnodar, ul. Krasnaja, 19,
Tel/fax 7-8612-685-645
e-mail: iczm@krasnodar.ru

QUESTION:

2. Choose the correct answer/answers
 
a) Public involvement should include all the stakeholders.
b) Public involvement should include only the environmental groups.
c) Public involvement should include only the environmental groups in addition to the local governmental authorities.
d) Public participation should include all the groups who are badly affected by the process.



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