4.4.4 What is participation and why is it needed?
Participation is a process of complex social change (OECD, 1997). Definitions
of participation have thus been developing along with the practice of it. Different
dimensions and levels, degrees or types of participation can be analytically
distinguished (Rudquist, 1987, in OECD, 1997). The terms are used differently
depending as to where in the project cycle participation occurs (planning, implementation,
monitoring and evaluation, takeover), as to the quality, intensity or extent
of participation (as passive beneficiaries, informants, cost sharers, or as
colleagues or counterparts with a voice in management, decision-making and control)
and to societal levels (local, regional, national) (OECD, 1997). Current 'inclusive'
approaches have several stages if they relate to all stages of a project cycle.
Basically, participatory development stands upon a partnership that is built
upon the basis of a dialogue among the various stakeholders. These stakeholders
- conduct the analysis and diagnosis at the outset;
- decide what is needed and set objectives;
- decide directions, priorities and institutional responsibilities to create
a strategy, and
- oversee development of specifications, budgets and technologies to move
from the present into the future, and formulate project tactics (World Bank,
1996; OECD, 1997).
Participation of the main stakeholders in the assessment stages can help establish
a process that will produce a technology selection better matched to local needs:
- The current processes of technology selection often work against involvement
and consultation of local communities. Social anthropological enquiry has
long stressed the diversity and multiplicity of knowledge particularly related
to the exploration of 'emics', i.e. indigenous concepts and categories,
as opposed to 'etics', outsiders perspectives on how things are. This focus
has become central to technological development, as it is important to comprehend
how people themselves understand whatever technical issues are targeted for
assistance (Fairbanks, 1992).
- Climate change-related problems may be perceived and defined differently
by different social actors (Gupta, 1997). Solutions to these problems, including
technology transfer efforts, should therefore be in keeping with community
perceptions of local problems and should draw on local knowledge. There can
be no universally applicable solutions. This approach is consistent with the
viewpoint that there is a need for 'public interest science' and makes it
"a factor located within environmental conflicts'. (Shiva and Bandyopadhyay,
1986, p. 87; cf. Grove-White et al., 1992). Where problems involve high stakes,
and are based on scientific uncertainty, as local climate change impacts undoubtedly
are, and to which local responses are necessary, research into stakeholder
perspectives is advocated in order to determine the most appropriate approach
(Functovicz et. al., 1996).
- There are many technical options to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases
(GHGs) at a reasonable economic cost. No single technology, nor small set
of technical options, offers a "solution" to solving the climate
change "problem" (Lashof and Tirpak, 1990). Because options available
are so many and straddle so many different sectors of the economy, generalisations
about how technologies are selected are difficult to make. The selection criteria
for the technology depend upon, inter alia, the end product or service, the
natural resources available at a site, the sources of financing and, of course,
the cost of the technology for a particular application at a particular location.
One generalisation appears to be safe-technology choices are value-laden rather
than neutral (Madu and Jacob, 1989; Reddy, 1976).
- The source of financing has a bearing on the selection of a technology.
Governments in developing countries shift budgetary allocations based on what
is available from bilateral and multilateral sources. As discussed below,
donors are biased in favour of companies based in their own countries. This
could tend to favour certain technologies, sometimes even ESTs such as wind
turbines. Also, multilateral assistance agencies prefer technologies that
have a proven commercial track record. Their procurement policies often preclude
support for the acquisition of the most advanced technologies.