The Ownership of NSSD as an Issue in the Participatory Approach
This paper discusses the issue of ownership of NSSD (National Strategy for Sustainable Development) outcomes raised by stakeholders who had participated in the development process of NSSD. Participatory approaches have been actively encouraged and increasingly exercised in public policy-making and, in particular, developing NSSDs. In spite of the 72 stakeholder meetings held between 2004 and 2006 for the NSSD development in Korea, this paper shows that stakeholders feel the sense of alienation when the policy outcomes are separated from stakeholder dialogue for policy decision-making or consensus-building process. Interviewees suggested that it would not be sound if the NSSD focused on the government’s role and implementation tasks, and that the NSSD should include civil society’s implementation tasks/action plans and responsibilities. In this regard, they questioned balanced development between social groups and social solidarity as well as clarifying the role of civil society as a change agent for and key actors in sustainable development in the implementation of the NSSD. This issue is closely related to the issue of the ownership of NSSD development. The interviewees felt uncomfortable with the Korean government’s strong leadership on the implementation, and suggested that the government’s assuming leadership may not have resulted in integrated NSSD exercises in Korean society nor in the continuous implementation of sustainable development. This stakeholders’ sense of alienation seems to influence their negative assessment of the stakeholder participation process, as ironically they tended not to value the results of numerous stakeholder meetings as well as the participatory process itself. Although many studies have found the intrinsic complexities and contextual difficulties in structuring and designing good participatory processes, this study preliminarily suggests that participatory approaches may involve in more complicated structural issues, such as the ownership of results or outcomes, post-consensus building, sense of alienation etc, which cannot encourage the underpinning premise of participatory approaches, namely integration, inclusion, responsiveness and equitability in public policy development, in particular NSSD development.
Keywords: NSSD, National Strategy for Sustainable Development, Development, Participatory Approach, Ownership Issue of Stakeholder Dialogue Outcomes, Sense of Alienation
Full-time lecturer, Department of Business Administration, College of Business Administration, Chonnam National University
Assistant Professor, Department of International Economics, Sunmoon University