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Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs correspond very much to a glossary. It is based as much as possible on the text of the WFD and the interpretations by the drafting group on Public Participation in order to enhance the practical relevance of the eventual results of the project. However, like a dictionary, it also gives alternative meanings of the different terms.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

A
Active involvement:
Any level of public participation above consultation. Active involvement implies that the interested parties participate actively in the planning process by discussing issues and contributing to their solution. Essential to the concept is the potential for participants to influence the process. It does not necessarily imply that they also become responsible for water management.

B
Broad public:
See general public.

C
Consultation:
Level of public participation. The government makes documents available for written comments, organises a public hearing or actively seeks the comments and opinions of the public through for instance surveys and interviews. "Consultation" in art. 14 of the WFD refers to written consultations only. Preamble 14 and 46 and Annex VII refer to consultation in general.

D
E
Experiment:
See case study / experiment.

F
Formal Public Participation:
In a strict sense public participation that is prescribed by law. In a more
loose sense all public participation that is organised by government or at
least recognised by government. Informal participation refers to all public
participation that is not prescribed by law or organised by government.


G
General public:
Unorganised members of the public, as opposed to stakeholders in a narrow sense. In the WFD the term is used loosely in relation to water users and then seems to refer to general public and the stakeholders (preamble 46 WFD,cf. preamble 14). This is also the meaning given to the term by the Guidance Document, but this meaning seems to run counter to ordinary usage. The guidance document uses the term "broad public" to refer to the non-stakeholders.

H
I
Informal Public Participation:
See Formal Public Participation.

Interested party:
Term from art. 14 WFD. Considered to be synonymous with stakeholder in a broad sense.

J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Public participation:
Direct participation in decision-making by stakeholders and the general public. In a narrow sense public participation refers to the general public only and is then contrasted with stakeholder participation. Direct participation includes for instance consultation and public discussions, but it excludes voting, as this is an indirect form of participation. Information provision to the public on its own is not participation, but it is a precondition for it.
The WFD uses the term participation (by the general public) only once and distinguishes at several places between (active) involvement and consultation. (preamble 46; preamble 14 and art. 14)
Note that some authors use the term public involvement as generic term and distinguish between public consultation and public participation.

Public:
?One or more natural or legal persons, and [?] their associations, organisations or groups.? (Arhus Convention, SEA Directive (2001/42/EC) Government bodies are usually not considered to be part of the "public".

Q
R
River Basin Management Planning
The planning process as prescribed in art. 14 of the WFD, including all preparatory activities and implementation activities.

S
Social learning:
Learning in and by groups to handle shared issues. The groups might be small groups, organisations or society at large. Shared issues are issues in which all group members have a stake, such as the management of a catchment or river basin. Except in small groups, social learning takes place at different levels and involves mechanisms of representation. The concept has positive connotations, but these are only justified when social learning is "inclusive", that is, involves all actors that have a stake in the issue concerned.

Stakeholder:
Any person, group or organisation with an interest or ?stake? in an issue, either because they will be affected or because they may have some influence on its outcome. Stakeholders may include other government bodies. Sometimes, the term is reserved for well-organised and active persons, groups and organisations, thus excluding the general public.

T
U
V
W
WFD:
Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

X
Y
Z