Benefits and challenges of stakeholder participation for environmental management

Firstly, I want to recommend you a wonderful video which introduces stakeholder engagement (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHGTsEwbOJY). After that I will discuss the benefits and challenges of stakeholder participation for environment management.

Stakeholder participation is an essential part of the process of decision making. For this reason, stakeholder participation in environmental decision-making has been increasingly sought and embedded into national and international policy. It has been used in a wide range of environmental applications such as integrated watershed management, agricultural development, ecosystem management, forest management and planning,etc.
There are six main expected benefits of stakeholders participation: establishing credibility; anticipating controversy; ensuring transparency and accountability; improving relevance; enhancing quality; and increasing dissemination. Therefore, stakeholders participation can help managers in both the public and private sector to improve the quality and the sustainability of environmental decisions.
There are also several challenges of stakeholders participation: time; training and resources ( for stakeholders as well as researchers who would engage them); finding the right people; balancing multiple inputs; and understanding when to engage specific types of stakeholders. Time and resources are tradeoffs which have to be balanced against the benefits generated by stakeholder engagement or else minimized. The other problems can be addressed by the engagement process. According to finding the right people, a range of typologies can be used to identify type of participants and appropriate level of engagement. In addition, Reed argues that stakeholder participation must be institutionalized, creating organizational cultures that ensure participants feel able to negotiate and know their voices can be considered in this process. Although, participatory process may seem risky, it can be promising if it is well designed.

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Reference
[1] Cottrell, E., Whitlock, E., Kato, E., Uhl, S., Belinson, S., Chang, C., Hoomans, T., Meltzer, D., Noorani, H., Robinson, K. and Schoelles, K., 2014. Defining the benefits of stakeholder engagement in systematic reviews.
[2] Reed, M.S., 2008. Stakeholder participation for environmental management: a literature review. Biological conservation, 141(10), pp.2417-2431.
[3] Yee, S., 2010. Stakeholder engagement and public participation in environmental flows and river health assessment. Australia-China environment development partnership.
[4] What is stakeholder engagement? Video website address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHGTsEwbOJY

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