It is important to involve all key stakeholders at the earliest possible stage. This can be achieved through the scoping study audit or through networking and contacts.
A list of stakeholders who should be invited to ICZM dialog, has to include representatives of government as well as private sector and NGO groups. It should be Civil servant officials, Elected officials, resource users, businessmen etc.
Stakeholders, who have been involved in the formulation of a policy and rules on resource use in coastal zones, are more probable to support them. Public participation should be encouraged with full community of management to guarantee quality, efficiency, and the equity of management proposals.
Herewith some EU OURCOAST initiative tips!
How to set up the participatory group
TIP: point out a contact person; strong effective project leaders who play a key role in the ICZM process.
TIP: The first contact with stakeholders is important; an explanation of rationale of public participation is required.
TIP: Spend enough effort in keeping the group engaged throughout the whole process (not only during start-up or finalization) and be alert on signs of reduced interest with the group members.
TIP: See if it is possible to use already existing networks to form public participation groups. This can also be important to avoid an overkill of participation groups (fatigue) on a variety of (often related) subjects.
TIP: A homogeneous background of stakeholders (same views, education, and language) ads that stakeholders are often inclined to share their opinions with each other, more lively and open discussions, contributes to an informal atmosphere.
TIP: Consultation and involvement with key sectoral stakeholders who identified specific strategic issues for their sector/wide-range of stakeholders from both the public and private sector and on all administrative levels. When unselected stakeholders are willing to join in the policy process, let them join in public sessions for example.
How to involve stakeholders
TIP: Involve all stakeholders (also local communities) from the start to formulate common goals and joint planning. Relevant input will be given at relevant time steps and the expectations of the stakeholders will be harmonized. This way the reasoning behind decision-making can be clearly explained with local residents and communities helping to shape their future and to adapt to changing conditions.
TIP: Start up focus groups. A focus group is generally a planned discussion among a group of six to eight people on a specific topic which lasts one to one and a half hours. In a relaxed atmosphere and with the guidance of a moderator, a group share their ideas and perceptions. The group members influence each other by responding to the ideas and comments of others. For the participants this methodology offers an excellent possibility to learn from the experience of the other group members. The advantages of the group setting are that it is possible to obtain information more quickly because people can use the ideas of others to express their own opinion more clearly and information obtained is by social interaction.
TIP: Develop coastal partnerships and multi-stakeholders platforms.Find more tips and many examples at the OURCOAST “Guidance based on collected ICZM cases, 2011” at http://ec.europa.eu/ourcoast