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close this bookConducting Environmental Impact Assessment in Developing Countries (UNU, 1999, 375 pages)
close this folder7. EIA communication
close this folder7.3 Communication to the public
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contents7.3.1 Factors that may result in effective public participation
View the document7.3.2 Overview of the roles of the public
Open this folder and view contents7.3.3 Public participation techniques
View the document7.3.4 Implementing public participation

7.3.4 Implementing public participation

In selecting and implementing any technique for involving the public in the assessment process, adequate consideration should be given to the following questions:

· what specific assessment objectives can be achieved by the proposed team?

· what are the key criteria (e.g., physical settings, timing, nature of target group) for the successful utilization of the proposed technique?

· what follow-up actions and related budgetary, personnel, and information resources will be required if the proposed technique is implemented?

· how can the implementation of the proposed technique be monitored to ensure the timely correction of any counterproductive conditions and tendencies?

· how can local conditions (e.g., attitudes, previous experience with public participation measures) influence the successful utilization of the proposed technique?

· what criteria can be used to ensure the most appropriate assignment of team personnel with respect to the successful utilization of the proposed technique?

The appropriateness of any type of public participation programme, and the particular skills required for the successful implementation of that programme, are largely determined by local conditions, including local attitudes and concerns, as well as by the previous experience of citizens with public participation programmes. Thus, any recommendations for utilizing a particular technique to involve public groups and individuals in the assessment process must be made keeping in view the team's knowledge of these conditions. The main features of various techniques that may be used are shown in Table 7.1. In summary, the benefits of achieving effective communication and thereby ensuring a quality public involvement programme are immense. The greatest benefit will be trust and confidence. The conclusions, even if unpalatable, will be more likely to find acceptance if the "public'' develops confidence in the work, the methods, and the objectivity and professionalism of the approach to the EIA study. In addition, a great deal of valuable information, particularly about local conditions, can be obtained and the people who actually live in an area often know it best.

Table 7.1 Techniques for communicating with the public

Number of people reached

Ability to handle specific issues

Degree of two-way communication

Public communication techniques

Inform/educate

Identify problems and values

Get ideas/solve problems

Get feedback

Evaluate

Resolve conflict/obtain consensus

2

1

1

Public hearings


X


X



2

1

2

Public meetings

X

X


X



1

2

3

Informal small group meetings

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

1

2

General public information meetings

X






1

2

2

Presentations to community organizations

X

X


X



1

3

3

Information coordination seminars

X



X



1

2

1

Operating field offices


X

X

X

X


1

3

3

Local planning visits


X


X

X


2

2

1

Information brochures and pamphlets

X






1

3

3

Field trip and site visits

X

X





3

1

2

Public displays

X


X

X



2

1

2

Model demonstration projects

X



X

X

X

3

1

1

Material for mass media

X






1

3

2

Response to public inquiries

X






3

1

1

Press releases inviting comments

X


X




1

3

1

Letter requests for comments



X

X



1

3

3

Workshops


X

X

X

X

X

1

3

3

Advisory committees


X

X

X

X


1

3

3

Task forces


X

X


X


1

3

3

Employment of community residents


X

X



X

1

3

3

Community interest advocates



X


X

X

1

3

3

Ombudsman or representative


X

X

X

X

X

2

3

1

Public review of assessments decisions

X

X

X

X

X

X

1 = low; 2 = medium; 3 = high; X = capability.