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The way public participation is embedded into the decision making process is not equal for all cases. It depends on a number of variables related to the character of the project or programme, such as

  • the spatial scope (transboundary, state, regional or local)
  • the character of stakeholders or definition of "public" (public agencies, local population, companies, NGO's)
  • the time frame (project duration or ongoing legislation and management for sustainable development)

These variables determine the way the public is involved or, in other words, the strategy or technique that needs to be applied in the public participation process. The correct choice of the public participation technique or strategy in many respects identifies the success of the activity.

Difference between techniques and strategies


A strategy is a general action plan made to reach an aim based on future forecasts. Strategies focus more on the way public participation is embedded in the decision making process. When choosing the strategy it is necessary to identify strategic aims - main activity directions leading to the implementation of the action plan. A strategy determines what techniques will be used in public participation.

The process of public participation presumes realisation of basic actions leading to the achievement of the main aim.

Strategic planning involves definition of basic actions that do not necessarily run in sequence, but may overlap and should be continually revised. Strategic planning includes:

(a) Scoping
(b) Stakeholders Involvement
(c) Defining of Participation Mode
(d) Process Defining
(e) Participation Strategy Creation
(f) Choosing the right Mechanisms
(g) Program Publication.

As an example; the strategy of a baker may be the decision to bake bread; techniques are related to the tools you need for that, like wheat and an oven.


Techniques are specific tools for practical implementation of public participation. There is a wide range of techniques that can be used for organising public participation.

The choice of correct technique (or the combination of techniques) is made within the strategy and depends on public participation aims.

The following six "modes of technique" represent a series of cumulative options, beginning with statutory requirements, forms of information exchange (i.e. consultation), through to more interactive forms of participation.

(1) Legal requirements
(2) Information giving
(3) Information gathering
(4) Joint working
(5) Shared decision-making
(6) Empowerment

Successful combination of different forms of participation could be found in Ukrainian example of Preservation of wetlands in the delta of the Dnestr River, protected by the Ramsar Convention.


Choose the correct answer/answers:
a) sometimes it is necessary to use a combination of techniques to achieve intended aims
b) techniques are usually theoretical ideas for organizing public participation
c) used techniques should be determined by the strategy and depend on the aims of public participation
d) to reach the aim basic actions within a chosen strategy always need to be realized in a sequence

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