Use of multicriteria involvement processes to enhance transparency and stakeholder participation at Bergen Harbor, Norway



Use of participatory stakeholder engagement processes could be important to reduce the risk of potential conflicts in managing contaminated sites. Most stakeholder engagement techniques are qualitative in nature and require experienced facilitators. This study proposes a multicriteria involvement process to enhance transparency and stakeholder participation and applies it to a contaminated sediment management case study for Bergen Harbor, Norway. The suggested multicriteria involvement process builds on the quantitative principles of multicriteria decision analysis and also incorporates group interaction and learning through qualitative participatory methods. Three different advisory groups consisting of local residents, local stakeholders, and nonresident sediment experts were invited to participate in a stakeholder engagement process to provide consensual comparative advice on sediment remediation alternatives. In order for stakeholders or residents to be able to embrace a complex decision such as selection of remediation alternatives, the involvement process with lateral learning, combined with multicriteria decision analysis providing structure, robustness and transparent documentation was preferable. In addition, a multicriteria involvement process resulted in consistent ranking of remediation alternatives across residents, stakeholder, and experts, relative to individual intuitive ranking without the multicriteria involvement process. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2011;7:414–425. © 2011 SETAC