The Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia and The Finnish Environment Institute together with Akordi assembeled a citizen jury to discuss the use of marshlands as a part of preparing the Regional Plan of South Ostrobothnia. The aim of the proposed plan is to integrate the interests of peat production, conservation and other marshland usages. The work was launched as an experiment for testing new kinds of ways for public participation. Jonna Kangasoja from Akordi assisted and facilitated the meetings.
Alltogether 15 members were picked from 37 registered volunteers that represented different age groups and occupations from around the Region. The jury met three times during September and October 2018. The members had different viewpoints on the issue as some were more supportive of peat production and some in protecting the areas. Also the views of water protection and recreational use were discussed.
Allthough the jury wasn’t unanimous on their views, it did form a statement for the the proposed Regional Plan of South Ostrobothnia. According to the statement the aim of the planning should be to use the marshlands in the area in a sustainable way. The feedback from the jury about the experience was mainly positive and encouraging for similar work to be done in the future. Allthough the group didn’t reach consensus, the participants felt it was important to be offered a time and place for an open discussion.
News about the citizen jury (in finnish):