Participation strategy

Circumstances vary so much that there is no one specific way to develop a participation strategy. However, there are some general principles and steps, which are recommended for general guidance.

Preparation of participation strategy supposes defining the overall objectives and approach to the participation program. It includes:

  • determination of key stakeholder groups and the mechanisms for their involvement;
  • locations and settings for public participation activities;
  • suitable mechanisms choosing for specific activities/events;
  • budget estimation and allocation;
  • identification of responsible and time frame;
  • description of program, including:
    - introduction and aims;
    - study area and project description;
    - decision-making framework;
    - range of stakeholders;
    - information needs/key issues;
    - participation mechanisms to be employed;
    - milestone dates and schedule of main activities;
    - budget and financing plan.

Key principles include the need to:

  • Consider the participation strategy at the same time as the technical program so the two may be interwoven;
  • Involve as many stakeholders as possible at the beginning and win general agreement for the approach;
  • Inform the wider community of their opportunities to participate when the planning process is ready to start;
  • Be realistic, focus on what is essential, and be clear about what you intend to do. Remain flexible, but keep stakeholders informed.

A good strategy encouraging participating should:

  • be more than a piece of paper - it should convey the style and tone of the process intended;
  • set out the general ground rules for co-operation;
  • be fully representative of all stakeholders;
  • be open and transparent in proceedings;
  • be flexible in operation;
  • have sufficient budget for what is intended


EU Demonstration Program on ICZM. Participation in the ICZM processes: mechanism and procedures needed.