Participative environmental management and social capital in Poland
31 Mar 2011
1Centre for Sustainable Management of Resources, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
2Institute of Environmental Science, Leiden University, The Netherlands
*now at: Roskilde University, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Denmark
Abstract. Eastern European countries, such as Poland, often illustrate social capital studies. Upon entering the European Union, social capital in Poland was seen as a problem in implementing new regulations, particularly in the field of environmental policy. Equally important, environmental issues often present a high degree of complexity – and European legislation requires multi-stakeholder involvement in decision-making processes. Thus, the dilemma: on the one hand, there is a demand to engage and consult many actors; on the other hand, the actors function in administrative culture with a ubiquitous top-down approach taken by institutional decision makers.
This paper attempts to address the problem from the perspective of social capital theory. An overview of administrative culture and examples of decision-making processes shows the way decisions are currently made. We also propose a way to achieve more participative environmental management.