Public or stakeholder participation in planning and management of natural resources is now widely practiced, but means different things in different contexts. Examples of recent participation in floodplainmanagement in Bangladesh and England are reviewed in the national policy context. Participation in floodplain planning in England is influenced by a centralised state and European Union directives. The Ribble process tried to involve a wide range of stakeholders, but is limited to the development of plans through consultations structured and managed by the Environment Agency. By comparison in Bangladesh local participatory planning with different stakeholders has articulated their separate needs and suggestions, and brought them together to search for consensus. Decision making and responsibilities over flood management infrastructure and floodplain resources have been devolved to community organisations and co-management committees formed through the participation process. The Bangladesh examples show how participa- tion can be made more accessible to people through events that have real local meaning since representatives gain power to raise funds and implement decisions for the benefit of their stakeholder constituencies. In Bangladesh rural populations dependent on floodplain resources have an incentive to participate in implementation and oversight of management decisions and actions that is lacking formost urban people in England. However, themerits of building up from local participation to catchment planning and of linking floodplain specific participatory institutions with existing local government are lessons that could be adapted from Bangladesh to England.
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