Application of fuzzy set/qualitative comparative analysis to public participation projects in support of the EU water framework directive

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Journal Article
Water Environment Research, 2018, 90 (1), pp. 74 - 83
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This study analyzes the level of satisfaction of stakeholders in the public participation process (PPP) of water resources management, which is mandatory according to the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). The methodology uses a fuzzy set/qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA), which allows the identification of a combination of factors that lead to the outcome that is stakeholders' satisfaction. It allows dealing with uncertain environments due to the heterogeneous nature of stakeholders and factors. The considered causes range from environmental objectives pursued, actual capacity of efficiently carrying out those objectives, socioeconomic development of the region, level of involvement and means of participation of the stakeholders engaged in the PPP, and alternative policies and measures that should be performed. Results support the argument that different causal paths explain the stakeholders' satisfaction. The methodology may help in the implementation of the WFD and conflict resolution since it leads to greater fairness, social equity, and consensus among stakeholders.
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