A Framework For Multi-stakeholder Processes
A UNED Forum Project In Memory of Warren 'Chip' Lindner
Introduction to Multi-Stakeholder Processes
as usual, government as usual, and perhaps even protest as usual are not giving
us the progress needed to achieve sustainable development. Letís see if we
canít work together to find better paths forward' (Hohnen 2001).
The term multi-stakeholder processes (MSPs) describes processes
which aim to bring together all major stakeholders in a new form of
communication, decision-finding (and possibly decision-making) on a particular
issue. They are also based on recognition of the importance of achieving equity
and accountability in communication between stakeholders, involving equitable
representation of three or more stakeholder groups and their views. They are
based on democratic principles of transparency and participation, and aim to
develop partnerships and strengthened networks between stakeholders. MSPs cover
a wide spectrum of structures and levels of engagement. They can comprise
dialogues on policy or grow into consensus-building, decision-making and
implementation of practical solutions. The exact nature of any such process will
depend on the issues, its objectives, participants, scope, time lines, etc.
Hence, MSPs come in many shapes. Each situation, issue or problem prompts the need for participants to design a process specifically suited to their abilities, circumstances, and needs. However, there are a number of common aspects Ė values and ideologies underlying the concept of MSPs, questions and issues which need to be addressed when designing an MSP, and stages of such a process. Our suggestions form a common yet flexible framework, which we offer for consideration to those who design, monitor and evaluate MSPs.
MSPs are not a universal tool, not a panacea for all kinds
of issues, problems and situations. MSPs are akin to a new species in the
eco-system of decision-finding and governance structures and processes. They are
suitable for those situations where dialogue is possible, where listening,
reconciling interests, and integrating views into joint solution strategies
seems appropriate and within reach.
MSPs have emerged because there is a perceived need for a
more inclusive, effective manner for addressing the urgent sustainability issues
of our time. A lack of inclusiveness has resulted in many good decisions for
which there is no broad constituency, thus making implementation difficult.
Because MSPs are new, they are still evolving. Because they are people-centred,
people need to take ownership and responsibility for them, using and refining
them to serve their own purposes and the larger purposes of the global community
of which they are part.
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For further information, please contact UNED Forum:
Minu Hemmati, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Consultant / Project Co-coordinator)
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