I. NATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO THE POLICY DECISION PROCESS
C. Strengths and weaknesses of the structures
3. Effectiveness of public consultations
There is a need to reassess the effectiveness of existing public consultation mechanisms in terms of providing meaningful avenues for public involvement. Existing mechanisms are usually in the form of public hearings, the format of which may not be adequate for bringing out all the relevant concerns pertaining to the environment. For example, review and comment exercises or open-house meetings are often perceived as attempts to persuade people to accept decisions that have already been made. Feelings of frustration over the process may hinder concerned stakeholders from providing ideas and presenting issues in an open manner. Most consultations ostensibly lack a good communications plan to encourage proactive participation in those forums.