Author: Liliana Cori
Building and fostering the dialogue among young citizen and policy makers in the field of environmental health is the core of GIOCONDA (I GIOvani CONtano nelle Decisioni su Ambiente e salute – the Youth Count in Decisions on Environment and Health, LIFE13 ENV/IT/000225), a European project aimed at realizing an institutionalized participation of the youth in the local decision-making. Challenging the role of science communication, GIOCONDA is conceived as a multidisciplinary project. It combines two monitoring systems: one based on the environmental data collection on air and noise pollution in the project’s sites, measuring the “real” risk; the other based on the risk perception of teenagers in relation to these environmental problems, locally situated. Starting from a network of municipalities, schools and other local authorities in four locations in Italy (Napoli, Taranto, Ravenna and Valdarno), characterized by different environmental pressures and local cultures, the project’s staff applied the two monitoring systems and developed a series of communication, engagement and social research activities. The result is the GIOCONDA’s governance tool, in the shape of an experimental online platform. In the presentation, we will show the results of the project focusing on the complex topic of environment and health, often controversial in science communication, and how it was used to foster the youth’ scientific citizenship. We will show: the five steps used to establish a dialogue among schools, local administrators and other stakeholders; the results of the environmental monitoring and risk perception, used as research-action tools; a first draft of the GIOCONDA’s experimental platform as a place for dialogue and innovative governance including young citizens. The usage and communication of scientific data all along the process resulted in the effective promotion of an evidence-informed decision-making at the local level and helped the involvement of the project’s target.