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Tourism professionals, particularly investors, governed by the regulations laid down by the public authorities, should carry out studies of the impact of their development projects on the environment and natural surroundings; they should also deliver, with the greatest transparency and objectivity, information on their future programmes and their foreseeable repercussions and foster dialogue on their contents with the populations concerned; <Source>

Does foster mean encourage here? Does it simply mean they should have dialogue about the aims and details of their plans with the populations concerned?

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    Yes - your guess is quite correct. Note that to encourage X may sometimes mean little more than speak in support of X, whereas to foster X would usually imply taking a more "proactive" role in support of X (actually doing things, rather than just talking about them). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 20 '15 at 13:52
  • @FumbleFingers: Why did you not write this as an answer? – serenesat May 20 '15 at 14:08
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    @serenesat: Because I might easily be convinced this question could have been answered using a dictionary before consulting ELL. It's not obvious to me why the usage should present any special difficulties - but then again I'm not a non-native speaker, so maybe I just don't have the right perspective. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 20 '15 at 14:13
  • @FumbleFingers I did not understand what does fostering dialogue mean? how can it be fostered?:( it is a bit vague to me. – Juya May 20 '15 at 14:29
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    @Juya I guess that maybe your confusion is not really about foster but about the dialogue and which word is related to which other words. – Damkerng T. May 20 '15 at 14:47
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I could see there being a little confusion when reading that sentence as to whether 'foster' was being used as a verb or an adjective. Are they fostering dialogue, or delivering "foster dialogue"?

It's being used as a verb, and means pretty much what you guessed.

See verb definition #2 at Wiktionary:

  1. (transitive) To cultivate and grow something.

    Our company fosters an appreciation for the arts.

So, by fostering dialogue, they would be encouraging others to talk about the contents of their development projects. That seems like a strange way to phrase things. I would have used 'impact' rather than 'content'.

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In simple words, foster means 'to promote the growth or development of' (something, typically something regarded as good).

So your guess is right.

  • What are you quoting? – green_ideas Oct 27 '17 at 20:57

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