Abstract for: Handling complex environmental issues. Group modeling as a deliberative platform at the science-policy-democracy interface

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency had identified poor progress towards the Parliamentary Environmental Objectives (PEOs) for the Swedisk mountainous. Group modelling with stakeholders was carried out during a one year period. A total of about 40 stakeholder attended the group modelling sessions. In total four modelling sessions were performed. From a process point of view we note that: A/ Some stakeholders were not communicating (and in some cases barely on speaking terms) before the first modelling session. Modelling provided a platform for dialogue as; B/ CLD modelling allowed all stakeholders to participate on an equal basis; C/ Modelling efficiently defused old conflicts as focus was shifted towards processes rather than the goals of any given stake holder; D/ All participants gained a better understanding of the mountain environment and identified previously unidentified causes for stakeholder conflicts and poor PEO achievement. Models were documented, collectively peer reviewed and continousy revised. The project resulted in: 1/ A joint stakeholder based and uncontested analysis based on CLD-models of the social, economic and environmental dynamics in the Swedish mountains was developed; 2/ A stake-holder based proposal for a research programme was developed; 3/ A larger report describing the project by the Swedish EPA.