A part of the PHOENIX consortium, the Societies and Environmental Sustainability research line is dedicated to contributing to a transformational change, starting from the fact that contemporary socio-ecological challenges can only be addressed through new forms of social organization and participation.
CFE-UC coordinates the Portugal-Spain cross-border pilot, a regional project that comprises the municipalities of Penamacor and Sabugal, integrating the cross-border region of Serra da Gata and Malcata on the Portuguese side; and the municipalities of San Martin, Trevejo, Elias, Hoyos, Torre Don Miguel, Molhedo de Gata, which are part of the cross-border region of Serra da Gata and Malcata, on the Spanish side.
In this pilot, CFE-UC will organize workshops involving different actors and populations in preparation for the socio-ecological transition, which will allow gathering information to draw work plans more suited to the local socio-ecological, economic, and cultural idiosyncrasies.
With PHOENIX, the biggest expectation lies in the possibility to change the course of traditional citizen participation towards the ecological transition, by implementing a transformative policy based on in-depth knowledge of the biophysical and socio-economic-cultural characteristics of the territories that articulates the plurality of knowledge, powers, and local positions.
As CFE-UC, and together with PHOENIX partners, we will develop a set of 5 interconnected tasks with the main objective of contributing to rethinking the socio-environmental participation models and promoting a fair and inclusive ecological transition that goes beyond the current democratic participation models:
1) Understand the sociocultural construction of Nature and Environment and to what extent different meanings of it can condition the implementation of EGD’s measures;
2) Identify how societies and individuals relate, use, and re-signify Nature and the Environment through sociocultural values, lived experience, and political-economic institutions;
3) Problematize the concepts of Nature and Environment, and other related concepts such as cultural ecosystem services and their relation to climate change, social inequalities, health, and well-being;
4) Design a theoretical framework to contribute to the identification of the best methodological approach for the deliberative and participatory processes developed throughout the project;
5) Design a comprehensive methodology for ongoing monitoring and impact evaluation, and the participatory/deliberative methods developed by pilots.
Citizens’ voices are the beating heart of democracy, so a strong and vibrant democracy depends on the full and active participation of all its citizens. Therefore, the CFE-UC team considers that by highlighting the processes of good governance and citizen participation and ensuring supportive involvement in environmental decisions it is possible to enhance a transformative policy that involves local communities, giving them a voice and empowerment toward a positive and viable democratic future in a sustainable home planet. This is what shapes our participation at PHOENIX.
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