Co-production and participation: two magic words?

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Consequences of co-production – In this era of growing challenges and shrinking budgets, governments are tempted to redefine some of their responsibilities. Fortunately for these institutions, the call for more public participation is answered by societal actors such as citizens, companies and societal organisations aspiring to step in. Co-production occurs, when governments work together with societal actors to find policy solutions. The final decision-making authority in such cases is still with the governments, but they are committed to the solutions developed with the societal actors. However, within these co-production processes, either governments or societal actors can be in the lead. Starting from the assumption that governmental institutions and societal actors have different interests and drivers, this article explores the consequences of societal actors taking the initiative in terms of involved actors, interaction and cooperation. In this contribution, we elaborate some of the consequences of such a shift in governance by examining a societal initiative resulting in a pilot at the Houtribdijk. This pilot investigates sandy strategies in low energy water systems for their potential for flood protection. This pilot is in contrast with the government led dike reinforcement project at the Houtribdijk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-62
JournalWater governance
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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