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Risks & Territories Governance and citizen participation

In France, and in Europe, the relationship between potentially hazardous or polluting industries and their host communities is often strained. Can risk governance provide a solution?

Benefitting from earlier work that followed the fire at the Lubrizol chemical plant at Rouen (Normandy, France) on September 26, 2019, the FonCSI will re-examine the scientific principles and operational conditions that are needed to support a constructive debate between local stakeholders.


In September 2020, the Foncsi launched a working group on the topic of “Industrial risk governance and citizen participation in the regions”, and in 2022, this work continued with the launch of a strategic analysis on the topic of “The dynamics of citizen participation and at-risk industrial activities”.


At-risk industries are not only a source of employment and a driver of economic development, but they also a generator of major accident risk and/or chronic risks for people’s health and the environment. While local stakeholders live with this double-edged sword on a daily basis, the disadvantages become particularly apparent when an unwanted event occurs. Following a crisis, emotions run high, and local communities demand accountability, illustrating that the coexistence between at-risk industry and civil society remains a sensitive topic. The fire at the Lubrizol plant at Rouen (Normandy, France) in September 2019, and the social tensions that were created by how the crisis was managed, clearly illustrate the problem.


> Citizen participation:
the outlook 20 years after the Toulouse disaster


The strategic analysis (since 2022)

The Foundation is reviewing and summarizing current academic knowledge on how to maintain or promote profitable, competitive, innovative and safe industrial activities that respect the environment, the local area and communities, from a sustainable development perspective. What conditions must be in place to support pragmatic, peaceful cohabitation between at-risk activities and civil society, in a constantly changing, unstable and uncertain world?

This strategic analysis was launched in 2022, and extends the work of the working group.


  • Corinne Bieder, Enac
  • Hervé Laroche, ESCP Business School
  • Jesús Villena López, Ergotec

Along with the following experts from other organizations and companies:

  • DSAC-DGAC: Stéphane Corcos
  • TotalEnergies: Nabila Gadelhaq
  • EDF: Olivier Guillaume & Thierry Taponard
  • IRSN: François Jeffroy & Renaud Martin
  • SNCF: Christophe Karlin & Julie Taldir

Working methods

The group’s objectives are as follows:

  • to conduct a state-of-the-art review based on the results of the working group,
  • to organize a round table meeting on national resilience day (October 13, 2022),
  • to identify the world’s leading experts in the domain and organize an academic seminar, and
  • to evaluate the results, and present them to the Foncsi’s sponsors at a feedback seminar, then publish them in the Foundation’s various collections.


The Working group (2020–2022)

The working group focused on the transposition and implementation, at the local level in France, of regulations governing the provision of information and citizen participation with respect to industrial risks. In particular, it compared legal and regulatory requirements with reality on the ground, in particular, the ongoing problems experienced by consultation bodies. The group also briefly examined the implementation, at national level, of European directives on the right to information and public participation in the prevention of major accidents in Italy and the Netherlands. Finally, it analyzed the aftermath of the Lubrizol fire at Rouen, in particular the governmental action plan that was launched following the incident, and proposed some practical ways to support the development of a participatory industrial risk management culture at the local level.

The results of this study will soon be published in the Foundation’s ‘Cahier de la sécurité industrielle’ collection (Industrial Safety Notebooks).


The group met from 2020 to 2022.

4 members of FonCSI:3 permanent external experts:
  • René Amalberti
  • Caroline Kamaté
  • Jean Pariès
  • Jean-Marc Vaugier

Working methods

Several methods were used:


May 10, 2021: Jean-Paul Lecoq, member of parliament for Seine-Maritime and former mayor of Gonfreville-l’Orcher (1995–2017). Christian Chicot, director of the ‘Population’ center of the city of Gonfreville and member of the AITF (the French Association of Regional Engineers). André Valin, local representative of people living close to the Gonfreville-l’Orcher platform, and municipal councilor.

November 20, 2020: Marco Ziron, chemical engineer at ARPAV Veneto (Regional Agency for the Prevention and Protection of the Environment), Veneto, Italy

Contact & coordination

Caroline Kamaté
Tel.: +33 (0)5 32 09 37 83