Plant protection products (PPPs) are applied globally in agriculture to protect yield quantity and quality. However, human health and environmental risks are of growing concern. Reducing the use and risks of PPPs is on the top of the agenda of current Swiss water and agricultural policy. Governance aiming at reducing PPPs and their risks is a complex socio-environmental decision problem. It is characterized by many objectives such as high yield, low environmental impact, or protecting human health. To achieve these objectives, there is a range of policy and management options, but trade-offs between objectives need to be made. Moreover, various stakeholders are involved that have different values and preferences, and there are uncertainties. For solving such challenging decision problems, underlying factors and networks that influence decision-making towards effective PPP policy and management options must be understood.
In this project, we will analyze relevant stakeholders for decision-making in Swiss governance of PPPs, which objectives are pursued, and which preferences and risk attitudes the key stakeholders have in view of reaching these objectives. We will investigate which factors lead to collaboration, exchange, influence, and conflicts among stakeholders, and how this affects governance decisions. We will also analyze the role of the stakeholders’ influence, preferences, and risk attitudes for finding consensus options. Ultimately, we aim to find present or future policy and management options that (would) perform best for a multitude of stakeholders, operating at different levels and in different sectors. Thereby, we will consider both, stakeholders’ preferences (under uncertainty) as well as scientific evidence and experts’ predictions about the implications of policy options on objectives.
The project follows a Multi-criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) process and builds upon policy analysis theories such as the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). Qualitative and more quantitative methods rooting in policy and decision analysis are combined, including stakeholder analysis, Social Network Analysis (SNA), stakeholder surveys, workshops, Multi-attribute Value / Utility Theory (MAVT / MAUT), and Behavioral Operational Research (BOR) to study biases in group decision-making contexts. Ideally, the project contributes to a better understanding of the PPP governance decision problem in Switzerland, and to finding governance prospects toward reducing PPP risks.
This PhD-project is part of the TRAPEGO project.