Preliminary Assessment of Shared Decision-Making in Land Use and Natural Resource Planning.

Disputes continue over land use and natural resource management on Crown lands in Canada despite formal integrated resource planning processes administered by government agencies. These disputes result in costly and time-consuming delays in the completion and implementation of land use plans. Calls continue for improved stakeholder participation and more effective dispute and conflict resolution. In this regard, interest has grown among both stakeholders and decision-makers in shared decision-making and alternative dispute resolution strategies, particularly those which strive to achieve consensus decisions. The context for greater stakeholder participation in public land planning is one in which societal values vis-a-vis decision-making are changing significantly. Decision-makers are aware of the discontent among various publics with the inability of many existing processes to address their interests and of the growing demand for more participatory forms of decision-making. Some decision-makers now recognize the potential of alternative strategies to resolve ongoing land use and natural resource disputes. In British Columbia, for example, provincial bodies such as the B.C. Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE) have recommended and implemented processes which have increased public participation in decision-making.

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