To warm up our project meeting in Venice, the University of Padova with Etifor and IRSNC organized an additional discussion day. IRSNC was in charge of the moderation of the first part entitled “Stakeholders at the same table – a blessing in disguise”. 

Cecile (from Cerema) started the day with an ice-breaker exercise in which we had to agree or disagree with a statement, in small groups gather the reasons for this decision and then try to convince the other side to change their mind. The so-called role-playing game with different stakeholders started with a picture of a landscape and brainstorming about stakeholders/beneficiaries there and their needs. After the introduction of the tasks and timetables six different interest groups were formed: farmers, locals, water experts, foresters, Nature Conservation Experts/ecosystem services experts and investors. All had to define their goals/objectives in this landscape and mark areas on A3 photos they received. Then it was time for the investors to present their project/plan (wood processing plant) that they were hypothetically trying to build in this landscape. Other groups had to express their opinion about this project, write conditions or mitigation measures. The investor had to think about possible conflicts and provide solutions for them.

Caption 1: Brainstorming about a landscape

After lunch we proceeded with this role-playing game in form of a public proceeding where all groups presented their argument to our audit and the consenting authority. For better “stepping into someone else’s shoes” the representatives of the groups had to wear suitable hats. The consenting authority confronted their arguments, especially investors with other interest groups. The discussion was very interesting and supported with facts and important issues that addressed especially the lack of details of the planned project. Interest groups had just a brief idea what was planned to be built in their region so they all strongly expressed their support on one side (new jobs, local income …) and uncertainties on the other (endangerment of the intermediate lakes, groundwater, highway …). No concrete conclusions were decided, because the main objective of this game was to confront different opinions and especially test the possibilities of ecosystem services in decision-making/assessments.

Caption 2: Different stakeholders with suitable hats at the same table

This part of the workshop ended with discussing some of the main conflicts and questions that are important for our work within the AlpES project. A brief overview and the main results were presented the next day.

written by Suzana Vurunić