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Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making
clarity of purpose,
acommitment to use the process to inform their actions,
adequate funding and staff,
appropriate timing in relation to decisions,
afocus on implementation, and
acommitment to self-assessment and learning from experience.
Recommendation 3: Agencies undertaking a public participation process should, considering the purposes of the process, design it to address the challenges that arise from particular contexts. Process designshould be guided by four principles:
inclusiveness of participation,
collaborative problem formulation and process design,
transparency of the process, and
In environmental assessment and decision making, special attention must be paid to scientific analysis and the uncertainty in that analysis.
Recommendation 4: Environmental assessments and decisions withsubstantial scientific content should be supported with collaborative,broadly based, integrated, and iterative analytic-deliberative processes,such as those described inUnderstanding Riskand subsequent NationalResearch Council reports. In designing such processes, the responsibleagencies can benefit from following five key principles for effectivelymelding scientific analysis and public participation:
ensuring transparency of decision-relevant information andanalysis,
paying explicit attention to both facts and values,
promoting explicitness about assumptions and uncertainties,
including independent review of official analysis and/or engaging in a process of collaborative inquiry with interested and affectedparties, and
allowing for iteration to reconsider past conclusions on the basisof new information.
IMPLEMENTING THE PRINCIPLES
There is no specific set of tools or techniques that constitute “best practices” for all contexts, or even for meeting particular difficulties. Rather,