Participation of the civil society
Another conclusion drawn by the researchers is that in all of the countries studied there is an elevated number of nonpublic actors that, among their distinct objectives, pursue maritime spill prevention, management and evaluation. Among these we can highlight public companies (ports) and private ones, the industries linked to the transport of hydrocarbons, the nongovernmental organizations and the citizens themselves who become volunteers when an emergency occurs. "One example was the citizen movement behind the Prestige incident through the Nunca Mais platform, although the moment that this movement was perceived as a political instrument it did lose a large part of its power of convocation," explained Jos Ignacio Cases, who is the Head of the UC3M Political Science and Sociology Department.
When an environmental disaster happens, in western societies there is very often a large citizen movement which can represent support for government action, but it also can be a highly critical element, the researchers remarked. "For that reason, communication and explanation of the cause of the disaster and the diffusion of the measures adapted are essential issues," Professor Cases pointed out, who added that the political reaction usually is slower and is conditioned by social mobilizations. "You have to take advantage of the social mobilizations that these cases produce to give them a larger role in disaster management, especially when they manifest themselves in such an intense matter as was the case of Nunca Mais," he noted. At any rate, it is more important and better, according to the researche
|Contact: Ana Herrera|
Carlos III University of Madrid