Building Consensus in ICZM
The stakeholders identified in the Stakeholders Analysis performed in the Establishment stage should now be fully active in order to filter, validate and amend the issues arising from the Scoping Report, which were confirmed and further developed during the Analysis and Futures stage with the aim to identify priorities.
The objectives of the consensus building exercise are to:
- Validate and amend the Scoping Report based on stakeholder reaction;
- Identify the inter-linkages between the Drivers and Pressures, and the Problems and Issues in a DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, State, Impact, Response) framework, and to agree on the risks confronted;
- Refine a shared set of priorities.
Bottom-up vs. Top-down Priorities
Additionally, the ICZM Process will need to reconcile the community-based priorities with those originating at a higher governmental or sectoral level. Ideally, these should be mutually supportive where, for example, community concerns relating to local seawater quality are reflected in a statutory requirement to meet national or international standards. Equally, however, priorities may conflict in, for example, the adaptation to climate change requiring localised development restrictions.
A further refinement or consolidation into a shorter number of "headline" issues will aid objectives and indicator selection in later stages.
Expert View – Daria Povh-Skugor, PAP/RAC
Consensus building is one of the crucial missions of the technical group, but also of the steering group and of all involved in the ICZM process. This mission starts with the process initiation and continues throughout the process. Owing to their numerous factors of attraction, the coastal zones have become the most complex and interconnected social and natural environments. Within such complexity there are a number of different interests, rarely complementary. In order to find efficient solutions for sustainable development all stakeholders should feel involved, listened to and respected. This does not happen spontaneously; quite the contrary it requires a lot of time, energy, patience, skills and resources.
Consensus building is an important, even crucial factor for developing the ownership and participation, and eventually for achieving a wide stakeholder engagement. It helps the stakeholders in developing mutual understanding, indispensable for reaching quality solutions for all. It is unrealistic to expect that all stakeholders will be equally satisfied with the results, but along the process of consensus building the views of some stakeholders may change and become better adjusted to sustainability. Consensus built during the ICZM Process is the main guarantee that the outputs of the ICZM Process will eventually result in a real change towards the sustainability of the coastal zone.
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