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Participation & Sustainable Development in Europe

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Often participation is treated as synonymous with “citizen participation“. In a narrow sense this is taken to mean citizens taking part in a project, either as individuals or in a grassroots initiative, so as to table their interests as private persons or as a group.

The notion of “civic participation“ has a wider scope; it covers involving various groups of agents in a participation process. This applies to individual citizens and grassroots initiatives just as much as to representatives of lobbies such as environmental organizations, youth groups or professional associations, who make the concerns of the group they represent known. Lobbyists are known collectively as “the organized public“.

As far as possible any process of participation should be open to all stakeholders and everyone interested, i.e. to a wide public. In some cases, though, that is not feasible, because the resulting group would be too large to function effectively. Then it is up to “the organized public“ to represent all stakeholders’ interests.

Signposts to more information about participation:

>> Areas of application and stages

>> Legal framework

>> Sequence of events

>> Benefits and limits

>> Glossary