CDE was a research programme funded by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (ministère de l’Écologie, du Développement durable et de l’Énergie – MEDDE) with the contribution of French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME). It was launched in 1999 to revitalise research in social sciences in the field of the environment and initiate work in a (then) innovative field: public participation and stakeholder engagement. In 2008/2009, a second wave of projects was launched, focusing on the critical analysis of the processes of participation. To date, the programme has funded over 60 (mainly) interdisciplinary projects in a broad range of social sciences.
The CDE programme had the following objectives:
- to advance scientific knowledge on the processes of public participation and stakeholder commitment processes in the environmental field. In particular, this programme sought to understand how environmental issues affect the participation processes and decision-making;
- to improve existing participation methods by providing feedback from concrete experiences;
- to inform public policy (as all programmes funded by the French Ministry of Sustainable Development).
The Scientific Board established research priorities for the programme, evaluated research projects on their academic merit, and supervised the quality of their implementation. It was composed of scientists from a broad range of social sciences (e.g. sociology, public management, philosophy, social psychology, geography, urban planning, information and communication sciences). It was chaired by Laurent MERMET, Professor of Environmental Management, AgroParisTech, Paris.
The Strategic Advisory Committee defined the Programme's strategy, formulated research priorities and advises on its dissemination. It brought together representatives from the French Ministry of Sustainable Development, other French Ministries, public Agencies, local government offices, and third sector organisations. It was chaired by the Head of Research Division of the Ministry of Sustainable development.