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Stakeholder and Public Involvement in Environmental Policy Making. Ortwin Renn University of Stuttgart and DIALOGIK gGmbH. Part 1. A Systems Analytic View on Society, Decision Making and Conflicts. The F our F unctional S ystems of S ociety (Basics).

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stakeholder and public involvement in environmental policy making

Stakeholder and Public Involvement in Environmental Policy Making

Ortwin Renn

University of Stuttgart and


part 1
Part 1

A Systems Analytic View on Society, Decision Making and Conflicts

four basic sub systems and their means of dealing with conflicts
Four Basic (Sub)systems and their Means of Dealing with Conflicts
  • Economic System
  • Focus on interests
  • Property rights/Civil law
  • Compensation for external effects (Kaldor-Hicks)
  • Experts
  • Focus on factual knowledge
  • Truth claims
  • Peer Reveiw
  • Civil Society
  • Focus on values
  • Mutual understanding
  • Empathy/Personal relations
  • Political System
  • Focus on collective principles
  • Due process
  • Constitutional law



ScientificDecision Support








system d ependent conflict r esolution m odels
System DependentConflictResolution Models
  • Economic System
  • Optimizing allocation and distribution
  • Pareto principle
  • Distributive discourse(bargaining)
  • Rational actor: decision/game theories

Maximizing Utility

  • Civil SocietySustaining Relationships
  • Mutual understanding
  • Therapeutic Discourse
  • Social bonding theories
  • Expert System
  • Sustaining Meaning
  • Methodology and Peer Review
  • Cognitive and interpretative Discourse
  • Theories of knowledge management and epistemology



Generalizable values and norms

  • Political SystemSustaining Order
  • Compatibility withuniversal or positiveprinciples
  • Normative Discourse
  • Theory of communicative action
part 2
Part 2

Basics of public participation

crucial questions for participation
Crucial Questions for participation
  • Inclusion
    • Who: stakeholders, scientists, public(s)
    • What: options, policies, scenarios, frames, preferences
    • Scope: multi-level governance (vertical and horizontal)
    • Scale: space, time period, future generations
  • Closure
    • What counts: acceptable evidence
    • What is more convincing: competition of arguments
    • What option is selected: decision making rule (consensus, compromise, voting)
perspectives best suited for water and biodiversity policies
Perspectives Best Suited For Water and Biodiversity Policies
  • (Habermasian) Deliberative
    • Goals:
      • Competition of arguments
      • Common good orientation
      • Diversity but not representativeness
    • Rationale: overarching rationality by appropriate discourse structure
    • Methods: rational discourse, citizen panels, round tables
part 3
Part 3

What is

an analytic-deliberative approach in environmental policy making?

analytic deliberative approach
Analytic-Deliberative Approach
  • Characteristics of analytic component
    • Legitimate plurality of evidence
    • Need for joint fact finding
    • But no arbitrariness in evidence claims
    • New procedures necessary
  • Characteristics of deliberative component
    • Based on arguments not on positions or interests
    • Key variables: fairness, common good, resilience and capacity building
    • Crucial factor: inclusiveness and consensus on rules for closure
characteristics of environmental policy making with focus on risk
Characteristics of Environmental Policy Making with Focus on Risk
  • Complexity in assessing causal and temporal relationships
  • Uncertainty about effects and vulnerability of absorbing system
  • Ambiguity in interpreting results
  • Transboundary and transsectoral impacts
model of irgc
Model of IRGC
  • International Risk Governance Council in Geneva
  • White Paper on Risk Governance
    • Comparisons of international and national risk taxonomies
    • Development of a consistent and overarching framework
    • Emphasis on risk governance
    • Application to a diversity of different areas
  • White Paper available
    • Available on the web:
    • Renn, O. and Walker, K. (Eds.): Global Risk Governance. Concept and Practice Using the IRGC Framework. International Risk Governance Council Bookseries 1. Berlin and Heidelberg 2008

IRGC Risk Governance Framework:







Characterisation and evaluation

essential distinctions within the core process


  • Pre-Assessment:
  • Problem Framing
  • Early Warning
  • Screening
  • Determination of Scientific Conventions

Risk Management

Risk Appraisal

  • Risk Management
  • Implementation
  • Option Realisation
  • Monitoring & Control
  • Feedback from Risk Mgmt. Practice
  • Decision Making
  • Option Identification & Generation
  • Option Assessment
  • Option Evaluation & Selection
  • Risk Appraisal:

Risk Assessment

  • Hazard Identification & Estimation
  • Exposure & Vulnerability Assessment
  • Risk Estimation
  • Concern Assessment
  • Risk Perceptions
  • Social Concerns
  • Socio-Economic Impacts

Tolerability & Acceptability Judgement

  • Risk Evaluation
  • Judging the Tolera-bility & Acceptability
  • Need for Risk Reduction Measures
  • Risk Characterisation
  • Risk Profile
  • Judgement of the Seriousness of Risk
  • Conclusions & Risk Reduction Options

Management Sphere:Decision on & Implementation of Actions

Assessment Sphere:Generation of Knowledge

  • Risk Management Strategy:
  • routine-based
  • risk-informed/robustness-focussed
  • precaution-based/resilience-focussed
  • discourse-based



  • Knowledge Challenge:
  • Complexity
  • Uncertainty
  • Ambiguity


  • Risk judged:
  • acceptable
  • tolerable
  • intolerable


need for different management strategies
Need for different management strategies
  • Dealing with routine, mundane risks: internal dialogue sufficient
  • Dealing with complex and sophisticated risks (high degree of modeling necessary): emphasis on analytic component
  • Dealing with highly uncertain risks (high degree of second order uncertainty): emphasis on link between analysis and deliberation
  • Dealing with highly controversial risks (high degree of ambiguity): emphasis on deliberative component
application to deliberation i
Application to Deliberation I
  • For routine management, communication should include:
    • Information on the process of environmental management
    • Information on routine management actions
    • If necessary, a hot-line for questions and observations
  • For highly complex topics, communication and deliberation should include:
    • All of the above
    • Discourse among experts on ranges of acceptable evidence
    • Additional effort for collecting feedback
application to deliberation ii
Application to Deliberation II
  • For highly uncertain interventions, communication and deliberation should include
    • All of the above
    • Involvement of major stakeholders
    • Shift towards resilience approaches
    • Possibly, public hearings
  • For highly ambiguous topics, communication and deliberation should include:
    • All of the above
    • Involvement of all parties affected by the decision
the risk management escalator from simple via complex and uncertain to ambiguous phenomena
The Risk Management Escalator (from simple via complex and uncertain to ambiguous phenomena)

« Civil society »


Affected stakeholders

Affected stakeholders

Scientists/ Researchers

Scientists/ Researchers

Scientists/ Researchers

Agency Staff

Agency Staff

Agency Staff

Agency Staff


Involve all affected stakeholders to collectively decide best way forward


Include all actors so as to expose, accept, discuss and resolve differences


Find the most cost-effective way to make the risk acceptable or tolerable


Use experts to find valid, reliable and relevant knowledge about the risk

Type of participation





Dominant risk characteristic

As the level of knowledge changes, so also

will the type of participation need to change

part 4
Part 4

Evaluating public participation

part 5
Part 5

A model of analytic-deliberative decision making for environmental policy making

The Cooperative Discourse Model

candidates for participation models
Candidates for Participation Models
  • Organized stakeholders
    • Hearing
    • Round Tables (Forum, Dialogue Processes)
    • Negotiated Rulemaking
    • Mediation and Alternate Conflict Resolution
  • General public
    • Ombudsperson
    • Public Hearings
    • Citizen Advisory Committees
    • Citizen Forum, Planning Cells, Citizen Juries
    • Consensus Conferences (Danish Model)
specific requirements for deliberative participation models
Specific Requirements for Deliberative Participation Models
  • Clear mandate and time frame
  • Range of available and suitable options
  • Willingness of legal decision makers to give product of participation serious attention
  • Willingness of all parties to learn from each other
  • Refraining from moralizing other parties or their positions
the cooperative discourse model i
The Cooperative Discourse Model I
  • Three components
    • Criteria and values from organized stakeholders
    • Facts and cognitive judgments from experts
    • Balancing and assignment of trade-offs by representatives of the general public (or affected citizens)
  • Procedure
    • Identification of values, concerns and criteria through stakeholder deliberation
    • Assessment of factual consequences of each option on each criterion though expert workshops
    • Option evaluation and recommendations by randomly selected citizens
the cooperative discourse model ii
The Cooperative Discourse Model II
  • Methods and Techniques
    • Value tree analysis for eliciting stakeholder concerns
    • Group Delphi technique for expert judgments and assessments
    • Planning cell methods relying on multi-attribute-decision techniques for incorporating public preferences and values
  • Advantages of three-step approach
    • Fairness through random selection and systematic selection of stakeholders
    • Competence through involvement of experts and decision makers
application of the cooperative discourse model
Application of the Cooperative Discourse Model
  • Germany:
    • Energy scenarios for 1. German Enquete Commission
    • Waste disposal management plans for the Northern Black Forest Area
  • Switzerland:
    • Siting of a landfill in the Canton of Aargau
  • USA:
    • Sludge disposal planning in New Jersey
part 6
Part 6

General Conclusions

Requirements for deliberation

  • Procedural Requirements:
    • Inclusion: fair representation of viewpoints, arguments and relevant groups
    • Closure: fair competition of arguments, consensus on decision making and assurance of adequate processing of knowledge and values
  • Six concepts of participation
    • Functional
    • Neo-liberal
    • Deliberative
    • Anthropological
    • Emancipatory
    • Postmodern

Final NoteDeliberative processes for involving stakeholders and the general public are instruments of art and science: They require a solid theoretical knowledge, a personal propensity to engage in group interactions, and lots of practical experience

basic aspects of inclusion
Basic Aspects of Inclusion
  • Inclusion: What and who has been included?
    • Topics and themes
    • Purposes (Objectives)
      • Information
      • Enlightenment
      • Feedback (concern expression)
      • Recommendation for action
      • Co-determination
    • Perspectives (frames of interpretations)
    • Knowledge (science, stakeholder, affected publics)
    • Arguments (cognitive, expressive, normative, evaluative)
    • Emotions, affects
    • Time frame (intra-generational equity)
    • Geographic range(inter-generational equity)
    • Representatives of these points (Who can represent these viewpoints)
      • Who has been invited and why?
      • How were the invited motivated?
basic aspects of closure i
Basic Aspects of Closure I
  • Deliberation: How is the process structured?
    • Process structure
      • Institutional setting (responsibilities, accountability)
      • Choice of instruments (Round Table, Citizen Panel, Consensus Conference
      • Choice of tools (Delphi, Multiplan, Value Tree)
      • Role of Facilitator (independence, competence, neutrality, self-interests)
    • Process rules
      • Deliberation rules
      • Decision making rules
    • Learning platforms
      • Generation of common knowledge
      • Generation of common understanding
      • Generation of empathy and trust
      • Generation of common yardsticks for selection (options, arguments, etc.)
basic aspects of closure ii
Basic Aspects of Closure II
  • Selection: How is the outcome selected and what is the outcome?
    • Focus or closure on topics and themes
    • Selection of options
    • Legitimacy of perspectives (frames of interpretations)
    • Validity of arguments
    • Authenticity of emotions
    • Relevance of time frame
    • Relevance of geographic range
  • Implementation: What is being done with the outcome?
    • Adoption by respective authorities within predefined purpose of the process
    • Connectivity to other governance levels and structures (Anschlussfähigkeit)
    • Monitoring and Feedback
    • Assessment and Evakuation
perspectives i
Perspectives I
  • Functionalist
    • Goals:
      • Improving policies
      • Reach better outcomes
      • Constructive resolution of conflicts
    • Rationale: diversity and more inclusion avoids error
    • Methods: Delphi, Negotiated Rule Making, Hearing, Citizen Advisory Committees
perspectives ii
Perspectives II
  • Neo-liberal
    • Goals
      • Collection of public preferences
      • Informed consent
      • Win-win strategies for conflict resolution
    • Rationale: either individualization or representation
    • Methods: Referendum, focus groups, large representative samples, mediation
perspectives iii
Perspectives III
  • (Habermasian) Deliberative
    • Goals:
      • Competition of arguments
      • Common good orientation
      • Diversity but not representativeness
    • Rationale: overarching rationality by appropriate discourse structure
    • Methods: rational discourse, citizen panels, round tables
perspectives iv
Perspectives IV
  • Anthropological
    • Goals:
      • Involvement of the “model” citizen
      • Common layperson as juror between conflicting interests
    • Rationale: Belief in “universal” power of common sense
    • Methods: Consensus conferencing, citizen juries
perspectives v
Perspectives V
  • Emancipatory
    • Goals:
      • Empowering those that have the most to lose
      • Contribution to fight injustice and unfair distribution of power and money
    • Rationale: Need for power redistribution
    • Methods: Action groups, science workshops, community development groups, tribunals
perspectives vi
Perspectives VI
  • Post-modern
    • Goals:
      • Giving dissenting views a public voice
      • Deconstructing universal knowledge and value claims
    • Rationale: Acknowledgement of plural rationalities
    • Methods: Open forums, framing workshops