Rationales and frameworks for stakeholder engagement in radiation protection
Partners involved: JSI - SCK CEN (Lead) - ISGlobal - UMIL - BFS - EIMV
ENGAGE WP1 investigated the rationales and frameworks for stakeholder engagement in three field of exsposure (emergency preparedness, indoor radon and medical exposures to ionising radiation). The focus of analysis was on requirements and expectations for participation as highlighted in European and international discourses, and transposed at national level in participating countries. Particular attention was directed to the extent of, and justification for, stakeholder engagement.
The research questions were:
- how are “stakeholders” and engagement defined in regulations and guidelines?
- what are the underlying rationales for engagement?
- what is included or excluded from these frames?
Data were collected through document analysis and interviews with key actors for each field (e.g. radiation protection policy makers, civil society organisations).
ENGAGE showed that in all three fields the relevance of stakeholder engagement, including wider publics, is increasingly recognised by institutional and non-institutional actors. The recently adopted revision of the European Basic Safety Standards directive provides opportunities for enhanced participation, particularly for nuclear emergency prepardness and recovery and randon risk management. However, in most regulatory frameworks (at European or national level), stakeholder engagement - if prescribed - is little elaborated upon. This causes uncertainty and potential mismatch of expectations on issues such as: when to initiate stakeholder engagement, who to involve at which stage, what to expect from it, and which (legal or not) basis can foster the participatory process. Among others, it highlights the need for more systematic approaches to stakeholder engagement in national policies, with proper allocation of responsibilities and resources.
The main motivation for engagement points often towards its instrumental use, as a tool to secure particular end points (e.g. gaining acceptance for specific radiological protection actions). This can be a valuable motivation in its elf, but misses a wider view on what stakeholder engageme can deliver few instances, normative Nadja Zeleznik rationales (e.g. transparency in emergency preparedness and response, or patients’ right for information in the medical field), and substantive rationales (e.g. improved decision-making) can also be discerned. To make engagement more impactful and sustainable, the ethical values underlying engagement and its contribution to the quality of decision making should be recognised by those initiating engagement processes.
A distinction is often made in national policies between formal engagement of professional/institutional stakeholders and that of broader publics. In most cases, the former are involved incollaboration and joint decision-making, while the latter are mostly engaged through awareness raising actions and, less frequently, consultations.
Recommendations and guidelines of international organisations or professional associations reflect a broader view on stakeholder engagement, supporting enhanced interactions with wider groups of stakeholders in radiation protection.