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Open AccessArticle

Perspectives on Citizen Engagement for the EU Post-2020 Biodiversity Strategy: An Empirical Study

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Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE, Latokartanonkaari 11, 00790 Helsinki, Finland
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Forest Research Institute—Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1756 Sofia, Bulgaria
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Department of Labour Environment and Safety, Institute of Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, Ehitajate tee 5, 12616 Tallinn, Estonia
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MCG Research & Innovation Sustainability Architecture/Urban Planning, 30004 Murcia, Spain
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DISAFA, Department of Agricultural, Forestry and Food Sciences, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
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Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano, Milan 20133, Italy
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BRGM, Strategic and Research division, 3 Avenue Claude Guillemin, BP 36009, 45060 Orléans, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1532; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041532
Received: 30 November 2019 / Revised: 12 February 2020 / Accepted: 14 February 2020 / Published: 18 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service: Challenges for the Future)
The current European Union biodiversity strategy is failing to reach its targets aimed at halting biodiversity loss by 2020, and eyes are already set at the post-2020 strategy. The European Commission is encouraging the active role of citizens in achieving policy objectives in the coming years. In this paper, we explore ways citizens discuss their priorities regarding biodiversity and abilities to influence environmental problems at individual, collective and policy levels. We also examine how the citizen discussions resonate with scientific environmental priorities and how researchers see the role of citizens in policy processes and harmonising citizen and scientific knowledge. To pursue the citizen voices, an expert working group acting as knowledge brokers, facilitated a series of citizen workshops in seven European locations and a reflective researcher workshop in Belgium. Based on the results, participants identified many concrete and value-related measures to stop environmental degradation. The environmental priorities differed between citizens and scientists, but not irreconcilably; rather, they complemented one another. Both groups stressed environmentally minded attitudes in individuals and policy. Displaying diversity of perspectives was regarded as positive and adding legitimacy. Improving methods for balanced encounters among science and society is central for participation to become more than rhetoric in the EU. View Full-Text
Keywords: EU post-2020 biodiversity strategy; societal engagement; citizen participation; science-policy-society interface; public perspectives; key messages; environmental policy EU post-2020 biodiversity strategy; societal engagement; citizen participation; science-policy-society interface; public perspectives; key messages; environmental policy
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Varumo, L.; Yaneva, R.; Koppel, T.; Koskela, I.-M.; Garcia, M.C.; Sozzo, S.; Morello, E.; Dictor, M.-C. Perspectives on Citizen Engagement for the EU Post-2020 Biodiversity Strategy: An Empirical Study. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1532.

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