Participation & stakeholders in decision-making

Participation & stakeholders in decision-making

What is participation?

One of the fundamental prerequisites for the achievement of sustainable development is broad public participation in decision-making. Furthermore, in the more specific context of environment and development, the need for new forms of participation has emerged. This includes the need of individuals, groups and organizations to participate in environmental impact assessment procedures and to know about and participate in decisions, particularly those which potentially affect the communities in which they live and work. Individuals, groups and organizations should have access to information relevant to environment and development held by national authorities, including information on products and activities that have or are likely to have a significant impact on the environment, and information on environmental protection measures.

Agenda 21 is significant because for the first time it called for a global 'partnership' approach to Sustainable Development. Agenda 21 identified nine major stakeholder groups as significant to this partnership approach:

  • Women
  • Children and Youth
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Non-governmental organisations (NGO's)
  • Local Authorities
  • Workers and Trade Unions
  • Business and Industry
  • Scientific and technological community
  • Farmers

Key questions for this area

If you are teaching or studying public participation, or are looking to add content to your unit, the following are some key questions you should be able to answer and/or consider:

  • What does the term 'stakeholder' mean?
  • Why is participation with stakeholders necessary?  
  • How can you most effectively participate with your stakeholders?
  • What are the challenges with accomplishing public participation? 
  • What level of participation is required to achieve sustainable development?

Useful resources 

If you are interested in finding out more about this topic, check out our resources for inspiration.

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