OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Meaningless Public Involvement

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Beginning in the 1960s, in the United States, a large number of laws were passed which required government agencies at all levels to provide extensive opportunities for public involvement in governmental decision making processes. Sometimes, however, the mechanisms provided for such public involvement are ineffective and largely meaningless. For example, agencies often hold public hearings in which they solicit public comments on a proposed action. If those comments are then completely ignored, and the agency makes a decision which is clearly opposite to the bulk of public opinion, the public is likely to withdraw its support for both the decision making process and the decision itself. Likewise, agencies often form citizen advisory committees which do not have decision making power, but which are formed to give decision makers advice about pending decisions. If that advice is routinely ignored, the advisory committee members are likely to quit and pursue more confrontational approaches for influencing the decision making process.


Links to Examples of Meaningless Public Involvement:

Peter M. Sandman--Explaining Environmental Risk
This article discusses the difference in the ways the public and scientific experts assess uncertainty and risk. When people feel that they are left out of the risk assessment process they are likely to be very rigid in their assessments of acceptable risks, whereas when they are involved, they are more likely to make the necessary effort to really understand the situation and to make careful assessments and decisions.

Links to Possible Treatments of this Problem:

Public Participation Mechanisms

Clear Rules

Grassroots Processes


Links to Related Problems:

Unfulfilled Expectations

Excluded Parties

Vested Interests

Rushed Decisions

Dictatorial Processes

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu