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Annex II: Methodology of the project


The overall methodology of the project documented in the present report focused on gathering some of the necessary fundaments of a methodological framework for various types of multi-stakeholder processes (MSP). Upon analysing them we aimed to distil out of the results a step-by-step guide which allows for transparent, equitable, democratic and gender-balanced processes of dialogue and project development and which is agreeable to all stakeholders and can be adapted to various situations and issues in a flexible manner.

Among the relevant fundaments were:

1.       Defining the terms used to describe various types of MSPs (Chapter 4 & Chapter 5)

2.       Looking at MSPs within the context of the debate on global governance and governance reform (Chapter 3)

3.       Analysing of the goals, ideology and values underlying a multi-stakeholder approach (Chapter 2 & Chapter 6)

4.       Reviewing relevant research in the area of social and organisational sciences on mechanisms of decision-making in groups of high diversity, conflictual interests, and significant power gaps (Chapter 7)

5.       Reviewing relevant examples and experiences by analysing relevant literature and conducting interviews with stakeholder representatives involved in the exemplar processes (Chapter 8

Upon analysing the material and drawing conclusions, we then produced a draft framework on designing MSPs, discussing the issues and questions which need to be addressed (Chapter 9), and a draft step-by-step guide on designing MSPs in practice.

We then obtained reviews and comments from a variety of stakeholder representatives, including UNED Forum’s International Advisory Board, representatives of processes studied, UN and government representatives, and researchers. Over 30 people gave us their comments, questions, and amendments.

On the basis of these comments, we redrafted the framework, developed a set of principles and send it to participants prior to a 2-day workshop, to be held in New York on 28/29 April 2001. 


Methodology of the review of scientific literature

We contacted experts in the field of social and organisational psychology via email to obtain their suggestions on relevant research material. Their contact details were available on the respective websites. Their input was used as a starting point for further library research. We also used the PsycInfo database of psychological research. Analysing the material, we focused particularly on review and applied literature. We received comments on a first draft by the MSP Project Co-ordinators and another expert in this area of research and incorporated these comments into the final version of the chapter.


Methodology of analysing examples of MSPs

Obtaining information and documentation about the examples in printed format and electronically via the world-wide web: Much of the process-design related information which we were looking for was available on the respective web-sites and in printed reports.

Interviewing people who are involved in the examples: In most cases, some relevant information was not available in publications. Therefore, we interviewed people, either in person, over the phone, or via email. The list of questions we used is given below.

In most of the cases presented, we did combine literature research and interviewing.

Studying the examples was not aiming to give a full assessment or evaluation via a representative group of people being interviewed. The goal of studying literature and interviewing people was to obtain a descriptive analysis of the respective MSPs.

All people who have contributed to obtaining that information are being listed in Annex V, along with other people who commented on drafts, gave guidance on the reports of parts thereof, etc.



Example NAME: 






Classification: Type / Scope Level


Procedural Aspects:

Designing the MSP: How was the process designed? And by who? Were they consultations with stakeholders on the design?

Identifying the issues to be addressed in an MSP: Who identifies the issues? And how?

Identifying relevant stakeholders: Who identifies relevant stakeholders? And how?

Identifying MSP participants: Who identifies participants? And how? Possibly different for the various participating stakeholder groups

Setting the goals of an MSP: Who sets the goals? And how? Can goals develop over the course of the MSP – e.g. from an informing process into a dialogue / consensus-building process; from mere exchange of views to implementation? Do participants have opportunities to check back with their constituencies when changes are being proposed?

Setting the agenda: Who sets the agenda? And how? Do participants have opportunities to check back with their constituencies when changes are being proposed?

Setting the time-table: Who sets the time-table? And how?

Preparatory process: How is the dialogue being prepared? (consultations within constituencies; papers; initial positions etc) Is the preparations within stakeholder groups being monitored somehow?

Communication process: How is the communication conducted? (face-to-face / phone / email / etc.; chairing / facilitation; atmosphere; summarising) 

Dealing with power gaps: are there power gaps between participating stakeholder groups? how are they being addressed / dealt with?
Are there mechanisms of meta-communication during the process? What kind?

Decision-making process: procedures of agreement: Depending on the type of MSP: Is agreement being sought? If so, how is that conducted? and by who?

Implementation process: Depending on the type of MSP: How is implementation being decided / planned / conducted? By who?

Closing the MSP: How and when does the process conclude? Who is making the decision and how?


Structural Aspects:

Structures / institutions of the MSP: Secretariat? Facilitating body? Board / Forum…?

Facilitation: Who facilitates the MSP? Exact role of a facilitating body? How does the facilitating organisation work with stakeholders? Does that include secretariat services?

Documentation: Rapporteuring from meetings; summarising outcomes; publication of documentation – by who? when? and how?

Relating to not-participating stakeholders: Do other stakeholders know about the process? Can they feed into the process? And how? 

Relating to the general public: What kind of information about the MSP is available to the public? Via which channels? Who is providing that information? Can the public comment / ask questions / feed in? And how?

Linkage into official decision-making process: Is the MSP linked to an official decision-making process? Of govts, intergovernmental bodies, other stakeholders? Via which mechanisms? How transparent and predictable are these mechanisms? Can stakeholders impact the mechanisms? And how?

Funding: Is the process being funded? By who? Who is fundraising? How much does it cost? What impact do funders have on process, structures & outcomes?


Contact Minu Hemmati and Felix Dodds for further information.