chapter  10
Evidence-based and participatory processes in support of shale gas policy development in South Africa
ByGregory O. Schreiner, Megan J. De Jager, Luanita Snyman-Van der Walt, Andile Dludla, Paul A. Lochner, Jarrad G. Wright, Robert J. Scholes, Doreen Atkinson, Paul Hardcastle, Hendrik Kotze, Surina Esterhuyse
Pages 19

Scientific assessments are social processes which embrace exchanges between scientists and society. They are designed to allow for multiple interactions and encourage the co-generation of knowledge among a diversity of participants. Such a process was attempted in the South African context, applied to the contested social issue of shale gas development in the Central Karoo. The three principles underpinning scientific assessments (legitimacy, credibility and saliency) are advanced through two key process mechanisms: participation and governance. This chapter discusses the key participation and governance systems designed as part of the scientific assessment. The chapter provides useful reference points which will advance the understanding of how to implement trustworthy processes within contested social and political decision-making landscapes. Considering South Africa’s comprehensive regulatory system, it remains clear that if shale gas development is to find local traction over the following decades, the decisions that lead to that point will have to be based on evidence which society, broadly defined, considers robust and reliable.