Environmental Health Risk Governance in Practice: Lessons Learned from a Flemish Case Study Approach
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Bradford, UK : Emerald Publishing
Advances in Medical Sociology Series ; 15
InGislason, M.K. (ed.), Ecological Health: Society, Ecology and Health, pp. 289-309
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Gislason, M.K. (ed.), Ecological Health: Society, Ecology and Health
SubjectShaping and Changing of Places and Spaces
PURPOSE: Risk governance is being successfully inserted into scientific and political agendas as a way to understand and address complex problems, such as health problems that have both social and ecological dimensions. However, to date, the debate on risk governance has remained rather conceptual. This chapter addresses these lacunae through describing research that was conducted on the Flemish environmental health governance arrangement and draws on this empirical case study to suggest ways that risk governance can be put into practice. METHODOLOGY: The case study analysis was conducted through a mixed methods study that combined document analysis and data gathered through 22 in-depth interviews with environmental and health scientists as well as policymakers. FINDINGS: This research shows that the Flemish environmental health risk governance arrangement has succeeded in increasing the exchange of information between: (1) governments at a variety of levels; (2) scientists, policymakers and the general public and (3) environmental and public health civil servants. The analysis also provides insights into some shortcomings and makes recommendations for ameliorating this arrangement: (1) the integration of environmental health objectives into all relevant policy domains, (2) the need for additional research into environmental health indicators and (3) the facilitation of the co-production of knowledge and multi-actor governance. ORIGINALITY/VALUE OF PAPER: Empirical contributions and analysis about risk governance and policy formation processes are not often conducted. The added value of this Flemish case study is that it presents an example of good practice from which lessons for future risk governance arrangements can be drawn.
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