Stakeholder dialogue as an institutional strategy for sustainable development in China : the case of community environmental roundtables
Stakeholder dialogue, as an alternative institutional strategy for environmentally and socially sustainable development, has received little attention from researchers and practitioners in developing countries such as China, even though the dialogue strategy can potentially lead public governance to a more efficient level. This paper first discusses the potential of stakeholder dialogue as an institutional tool for promoting sustainable development in China, and then presents a pilot program of stakeholder dialogue recently developed in China -- the community environmental roundtables. Community leaders organize roundtable dialogues where representatives from government agencies, companies and the local residents exchange their views toward certain environmental issues they are facing and discuss possible ways to resolve the issues. Informal agreements are reached during the dialogues and implemented after them. This community roundtable dialogue strategy has been piloted in dozens of Chinese municipalities, addressing various environmental issues. A survey of dialogue participants shows that significant impacts have been generated on environmental protection, community management, as well as social and institutional development at the community level. Mutual understanding and trust among the government, companies, and local citizens are enhanced, environmental and social conflicts are reduced, and the public performance of various parties has been improved. This approach is expected to help solve other conflicts and public governance issues in China as well. The potential challenges of institutionalizing such a program in China are also discussed in the paper.
|Date of creation:||01 Aug 2011|
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