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Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 1 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Challenges regarding civil society participation.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 1 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Challenges regarding civil society participation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 1 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Challenges regarding civil society participation in the process of choosing progress indicators GDP on the road to Rio+20 Implication of civil society in the development of complementary indicators January26 th, 2011, EESC, Brussels Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg Research Coordinator, SERI Germany eV

2 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 2 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes What are indicators? tools targets progressIndicators are tools for monitoring. They dont define targets but are derived from them. At best, they measure the distance to target. This way they are monitoring progress. Indicators for what? political questionIn each reporting system Indicators for what? is a political question, not a technical one. indicative (right themes), robust, sensitive and resonant (strike a chord, be spontaneously meaningful).Indicators must be indicative (right themes), robust, sensitive and resonant (strike a chord, be spontaneously meaningful). The latter points are experienced by citizens;

3 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 3 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Progress?

4 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 4 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Progress?

5 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 5 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes What is progress? Progress is subjectiveProgress is subjective, the assessment based on individual preferences and collective cultural norms. Progress is multidimensionalProgress is multidimensional, with potentially contradictory trends. It cannot be aggregated Wealth is not welfare is not well-beingIt cannot be aggregated, and even less so expressed oin monetary terms as this would imply substitutability: Wealth is not welfare is not well-being

6 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 6 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Sustainable Production Sustainable Consumption Factors contributing to the quality of life Source: J.H.Spangenberg

7 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 7 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Individually and collectively, through preferences, norms and habits. Its the stakeholders who decide what is progress

8 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 8 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Who are the stakeholders? Those who are affectedThose who are affected by politics for progress. For a nation state, or the EU,For a nation state, or the EU, that is the inhabitants. delineation distant neighbours future generationsIn a sustainability context, requiring integration and delineation, it includes non-human nature, distant neighbours and future generations. NGOs speaking on their (assumed) behalf, and advocating the public good.Both usually have no voice on the choice, if not represented by NGOs speaking on their (assumed) behalf, and advocating the public good.

9 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 9 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes What can they contribute? progress,e.g. sustainable developmentDefining dimensions and characteristics of progress,e.g. sustainable development; bettermentSelecting indicators describing the betterment of the situation. monitoring not only what has been done but also how public perception and policy supportQualitative factors, monitoring not only what has been done but also how, are decisive for public perception and policy support. Public participation is the best way to find them – both experts and administrators tend to hold non- average sensitivities and preferences.

10 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 10 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes What is their feedback? indicative sensitive resonantLay people see if the indicator really addresses their concerns (indicative), if it reacts when they experience a trend to the better or worse (sensitive), and if the way the message is expressed resonates with them (resonant); enhances the credibilityPublic participation enhances the credibility of the messages conveyed by the indicators to the public at large. Indicators can help specify policy feedback from the electorate to the elected.

11 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 11 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes NGOs can be partners in governance, providing expertise and information no government has, building a bridge between administration and the public.

12 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 12 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes …and indirectly? New research has explored how well different gover- nance systems can achieve desirable conservation outcomes. adaptive managementrelies on regular monitoring to enable learning through doing to refine actions leadership expert knowledge Results confirmed the importance of adaptive management, which relies on regular monitoring to enable learning through doing to refine actions, and suggested that leadership using expert knowledge was also significant in successful governance.

13 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 13 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes How does citizen involvement work? Public hearingsPublic hearings: every- body can participate, but few will. Focus groupsFocus groups: selected but often more representative Advisory boards, Commissions, CommitteesAdvisory boards, Commissions, Committees: competent representatives

14 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 14 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes What are the limits? In policy monitoring indicators observe decisions if decisions to take measures have been taken measures if measures have been effectively implemented remedying if the implementation was successful remedying the initial problem. Each level requires specific information and knowledge. Citizens are best at the latter level. NGOs commanding expertise can monitor all three provided transparency of decision making.

15 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 15 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes What can/cant they contribute?

16 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 16 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes What do they monitor? Citizens experience if adaptation to change was successful. They experience of the restoration of the state has happened. Civil society has its own cost-benefit assessments of the measures taken. effective mitigation and prevention some NGOs can Identifying effective mitigation and prevention requires special knowledge, even scientific expertise, which some NGOs can mobilise, but not the public at large.

17 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 17 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Consensus Civil society can be a dissonant chorus in and between countries. Within countries, interests and power relations play a key role. In the US, for the rich 1% public debt is the key concern. For the 99% it is unemployment. What cant they contribute? doesnt replace Participation doesnt replace political responsibility!

18 Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg, Brussels, Jan. 26th, 2012 Page 18 Civil Society in Progress Indicator Choice Processes Dr. Joachim H. Spangenberg Sustainable Europe Research Institute SERI Deutschland, Köln, Germany Professeur invite, Université de Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France Joachim.Spangenberg@seri.de Thank you for your attention


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