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Citizen's Panel on Water Issues


Detailed description of the Good Practice

In November 2003, the Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation carried out the citizens’ panel, “Water transport on the Emajõgi River in the Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve”, with the local people of Puhja and Rannu. The panel concentrated on the question what a compromise between the environmental protection activists, undertakings and local population in relation to water transport on the Emajõgi River in the Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve could be like.

  • Water management
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Citizen participation

Objectives of the Good Practice

To negotiate with citizens about the possible development of water transport on the Emajõgi River in the Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve.

The panel lasted for two days in November 2003. The preparation and evalution took a few months in total.

Participants of the Good Practice

  • Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation: the organizer
  • Local people of Puhja and Rannu
  • Professional moderator
  • Experts, witnesses

Target group of the Good Practice


More Details of the Good Practice

The preparations started already a few months prior to the citizen panel. Several meetings and discussions with local politicians, environmental specialists and non-profit associations were held. The same topic was discussed also with the representatives of the business sector from the Tartu River Port. The meetings helped to fi nd out the best way of selecting the participants in the panel, the panel leader and witnesses; they also secured citizen activity in participating in the process.

The participants were chosen at random. In order to summon the citizens’ panel, up to 800 notices were handed out with newspapers, to which 49 responses were received. The participants were of different sex and age, educational and working backgrounds. Altogether, 14 people took part in the citizen panel. The event was guided by a professional moderator.

During two days, the witnesses presented their vision in the river transport issue. Then the citizens were divided into four groups where their recommendations and proposals to improve water traffic on the Emajõgi River were worked out.

The representatives of the local governments were very enthusiastic about the citizens’ panel and were greatly interested in the results. The results of group works showed that the local population was interested in having a say in Emajõgi River water transport development issues. The citizens’ panel demonstrated that the citizens were capable of passing decisions at expert level if enough information in a respective field was given to them.

Available files

Contact details

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation
Lai 30
51005 TARTU, Estonia

Tel: +372 730 2302
Fax: +372 730 2301
E-mail: tartu@ctc.ee
Homepage: http://www.ctc.ee

Data sources and references

Peipsi Center for Transboundary Cooperation (2007): Public Involvement in Water Economy and Regional Development. (As an attachment)