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Participatory Policy Making (For development projects)

Definitions and concepts of participation in development have evolved over time.In the 1950s and 1960s, NGOs and grassroots activists began promoting comm nit! and pop lar participation. In the late 19"0s and earl! 19#0s, $%O &as among the first m ltilateral agencies to promote pop lar participation in development pro'ects and programmes. In the conte(t of development pro'ects and programmes, pop lar participation &as interpreted along three broad lines )Oa*le! 19##+,

-articipation as contrib tion, i.e. vol ntar! or other forms of inp t b! r ral people to predetermined programmes and pro'ects. -articipation as organi.ation, either e(ternall! conceived or emerging as a res lt of the process of participation.

-articipation as empo&erment, enabling people to develop s*ills and abilities to become more self/ reliant, and to ma*e decisions and ta*e actions essential to their development. 0oncepts of participation have &idened to incl de not onl! the r ral poor b t also other sta*eholders and sectors of civil societ!. 1his is reflected in the definition of participation as 2a process thro gh &hich sta*eholders infl ence and share control over development initiatives and the decisions and reso rces &hich affect them2 )3orld 4an* 1996, p. (i+. -articipator! polic! ma*ing is more of a general approach than a specific 5tool6 as the overall goal, no matter &hich method is follo&ed, is to facilitate the incl sion of individ als or gro ps in the design of policies via cons ltative or participator! means to achieve acco ntabilit!, transparenc! and active citi.enship. 1he p sh for this participator! process can be top/do&n i.e. b! the government7organi.ation initiating participator! approaches to polic!/ma*ing or bottom/ p thro gh partic lar sta*eholder gro ps advocating a participator! approach or see*ing to infl ence a specific polic!. 1here are also cases &here e(ternal bodies s ch as donors are responsible for proposing s ch an approach. In this respect, it sho ld be stressed that &hile governments and international development organi.ations have a large part to pla! in opening political space, creating the right conditions, and setting p the necessar! str ct res and processes to enable participator! polic!/ma*ing, civil societ! organi.ations )08Os+ also have an important role to pla!. 1heir role concern or involve raising a&areness abo t the iss es at sta*e, helping citi.ens and comm nities organi.e themselves, and advocating for more participator! polic!/ma*ing. Different development agencies disting ish a contin m of participation, ranging from minimal to intense participation. 1he contin m of participation sed b! the 3orld 4an* for the povert! red ction strateg! )-98+ process is commonl! referred to as the 5ladder of participation6 and can be s mmari.ed as, Information sharing, one/&a! flo&s of information to the p blic. 0ons ltation, t&o/&a! flo&s of information bet&een the coordinators of the cons ltation and the p blic. :oint decision ma*ing. ;mpo&erment, transfer of control over decision ma*ing and reso rces to sta*eholders. 3hat is it< 1he e(tent to &hich participator! polic!/ma*ing involves real, meaningf l participation varies considerabl! from case to case, and a contin m can be dra&n p to ill strate the levels of participation achieved. One s ch contin m, o tlined in a $%O doc ment )=arl, >., ?00?+, s ggests seven different levels, Contribution: vol ntar! or other forms of inp t to predetermined programmes and pro'ects. Information sharing: sta*eholders are informed abo t their rights, responsibilities and options. Consultation: sta*eholders are given the opport nit! to interact and provide feedbac*, and ma! e(press s ggestions and concerns. @o&ever, anal!sis and decisions are s all! made b! o tsiders, and sta*eholders have no ass rance that their inp t &ill be sed. Cooperation and consensus building: sta*eholders negotiate positions and help determine priorities, b t the process is directed b! o tsiders. ecision making: sta*eholders have a role in ma*ing decisions on polic!, pro'ect design and implementation. 1!Philipe C"#$ %ecture &eries '()'* &
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Partnership: sta*eholders &or* together as eA als to&ards m t al goals. #mpo,erment: transfer of control over decision/ma*ing and reso rces to sta*eholders. 1hese concepts of participation are related to development pro'ects and programmes and ass me an e(ternal initiator. @o&ever, empo&erment can also involve capacit! b ilding that enables people to set their o&n agenda and carr! it o t in the absence of e(ternal initiators. >an! critiA es of participation in development pro'ects and programmes report that the term 5participation6 is often sed to refer to information sharing or cons ltation and that it seldom reaches the levels of 'oint decision ma*ing or initiation and control b! sta*eholders )>cGee &ith Norton ?000, 6B+. 9ecent thin*ing abo t citi.en participation loo*s at the concept of participation from a perspective that ac*no&ledges the possibilit! of citi.ens ta*ing a tonomo s action and creating their o&n opport nities for participation. Development efforts to promote participation, in this perspective, foc s on creating spaces for participation, &hereb! 2citi.ens gain meaningf l opport nities to e(ercise voice and hold to acco nt those &ho invite them to participate2 )0orn&all ?00?,56+. -articipator! polic! ma*ing carries participation be!ond the frame&or* of pro'ects and programmes to the arena of polic! processes. It implies the empo&erment of sta*eholders to ta*e part in the &hole c!cle of the polic! process, form lation, implementation, monitoring and eval ation of polic!. In practice, ho&ever, participation in polic! ma*ing can also be along a contin m. % cr cial A estion is &ho participates. % sta*eholder anal!sis for a partic lar polic! can help identif! those &ho sho ld be involved in the participator! polic! ma*ing process. 8ome benchmar*s for A alit! participation are,

-rovision of f ll information to *e! partners on past polic! in the area concerned, its impact, need and rationale for ne& polic!C 8 pport to enhance capacit! of *e! partners &here necessar!, to permit them to nderstand and tili.e the informationC $acilitated cons ltation and negotiation across different sta*eholder gro ps to bring o t diverse perspectives and priorities and attain agreement on the resol tion of differencesC % defined and p blici.ed proced re for providing feedbac* to all *e! partners and s pporting them in the f lfilment of their roles in s bseA ent implementation of the polic!C 4 ilt/in monitoring proced re to provide feedbac* to *e! partners periodicall! thro gho t the &hole process )>cGee &ith Norton ?000, 69, based on 1andon 1999+.

8ome meas res of A alit! in participation in polic! &or* are, -uality of the resulting policy: in terms of ho& eA itable, far/sighted and s stainable its effects areC Inclusiveness: the hearing and incl sion in negotiations of all the different perspectives and priorities on a partic lar iss eC .road*based o,nership: attainment of &idespread o&nership of and s pport for the polic! in the co ntr! and thro gho t the pop lationC Capacity*building: enhanced capacities of vario s sta*eholder gro ps and p blic agencies to enable participation in f t re polic! &or* )>cGee &ith Norton ?000, 69+. 8imilarl!, participator! polic!/ma*ing can be limited to a once/off e(ercise for a partic lar polic! process, or can be part of a s!stemic participator! governance approach b! the organi.ation7government in A estion. -ermanent str ct res s ch as committees that incl de citi.ens6 gro ps, comm nit! members, etc can also be involved. 1he polic! itself can be local, national or international and the participator! element can relate to the design, monitoring, eval ation or reform of the polic!. /ools most commonly used in participatory policy*making D Information*sharing tools: Draft polic! doc ments or progress reports on e(isting policies can be shared via traditional media s ch as radio, television, ne&sletters etc. and electronicall! thro gh &ebsites and emails as &ell as via more interactive comm nication li*e setting p an information stall in a p blic space s ch as a librar! or mar*et or establishing a telephone ?!Philipe C"#$ %ecture &eries '()'* &
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information line. Information can also be shared b! teaming p &ith civil societ! organi.ations li*e citi.en gro ps or nions &ho can channel the information to their members. D Consultation tools: 1hese incl de a &ide range of tools starting &ith disc ssion for ms s ch as ro nd tables, p blic hearings, to&n meetings and foc s gro ps, electronic conferencing, s rve!s )in/person or electronic+ to other feedbac* mechanisms li*e for e.g. p blic opinion polls or comment periods on a draft polic!, and tools for more contin o s cons ltation s ch as for e.g. citi.en6s panels and advisor! committees of interest gro p representatives. D $ctive participation tools: 1hese tools are related to levels fo r to seven in the participation contin m described above and involve citi.ens and comm nities helping to set the polic! agenda, shape the dialog e and propose polic! options, altho gh the final decision still rests &ith the government. ;(amples of those tools most commonl! sed b! the 5polic!/o&ning6 governments7organi.ations incl de ones that involve a small n mber of sta*eholders &ho are not e(perts on the polic! iss e )e.g. consens s conferences and citi.en ' ries+, ones that incl de e(pert p blics )e.g. tripartite commissions and 'oint &or*ing gro ps+, and ones that promote broader p blic engagement )e.g. participator! vision and scenario development, citi.ens6 for ms and dialog e processes+. 3a*eford )?001+ o tlines some of these tools incl ding foc s gro ps, consens s conferencing, citi.en6s ' ries and scenario &or*shops. Other tools in this categor! more commonl! initiated b! 08Os and other 5e(ternal6 sta*eholders incl de campaigns, partnerships and alliances, and polic! research that is then fed into a broad dialog e process. 0hich tools are appropriate for different situations of participatory policy*making1 #ngaging directly ,ith rural people and communities: 9 ral pop lations are often disadvantaged in terms of their involvement in national level polic!/ma*ing d e to their remote location, lac* of comm nications infrastr ct re, and the general tendenc! of governments to foc s more on the interests and concerns of their rban constit encies. 1ools that can be partic larl! sef l in bringing the voice of r ral citi.ens to the table incl de interactive radio drama, participator! video, cons ltation meetings held in the comm nities and man! of the 5participator! r ral appraisal6 t!pe techniA es s ch as comm nit! mapping, visioning, ran*ing, etc. 1he II;D6s 5po&er tools6 &ebsite is an e(cellent so rce of information and g idance on tools for enabling r ral comm nities to help infl ence nat ral reso rce polic!. #ngaging directly ,ith urban citi2en: Information sharing tools are easier to se in rban areas as more people have access to mass media and I01/based tools li*e &ebsites or blogs. Dialog e tools are sometimes easier to appl! in an rban setting as there are more opport nities to bring together gro ps of people from different bac*gro nds and more opport nities for people to have a voice in matters of p blic interest. 1ools s ch as to&n hall meetings, citi.en ' ries and p blic hearings are partic larl! appropriate for rban settings tho gh these have also been sed effectivel! in r ral village settings. #ngaging ,ith citi2ens3 representative bodies: 8ome tools are designed for se &here participation is foc sed on or channeled thro gh intermediar! bodies s ch as NGOs, comm nit! gro ps, nions, or organi.ations representing partic lar interest gro ps )s ch as &omen or indigeno s people+. 1hese incl de advisor! committees and m lti/sta*eholder dialog es, as &ell as longer/term approaches s ch as partnerships for information sharing or cons ltation or advocac! strategies developed b! the interest gro ps themselves.

One e(ample of a government led participator! polic!/ma*ing process 1he general process o tlined belo& ill strates ho& a 5polic!/o&ning6 government or development organi.ation co ld see* broad participation in the design of a partic lar polic!. Identif! the sta*eholders to be involved &ho co ld incl de 08Os, the private sector, comm nit! organi.ations, local leaders, and partic lar interest gro ps and do an initial anal!sis of their interests, infl ence and capacitiesC ;stablish some *ind of &or*ing gro p that &o ld incl de representatives of the above sta*eholder gro psC

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Organi.e a series of cons ltation and dialog e for ms in order to inform a broad range of sta*eholders that ma! be interested or affected b! the polic! in A estion and to elicit their feedbac*. 1hese cons ltation and dialog e activities ma! be r n 'ointl! &ith or delegated to some of the representative intermediar! organi.ations identified in step 1C Design and implement a process &hereb! the &or*ing gro p can collect and anal!.e information on the polic! iss es at sta*e, incl ding direct feedbac* from the activities of step B and other more participator! and interactive methods as appropriate and as &ell as revie& of secondar! data, intervie&s &ith *e! polic!/ma*ers, etc.C %rrange for a n mber of reporting bac* sessions to bring the findings of step E bac* to the polic!/ma*ers and other decision/ma*ers &ithin the government7organi.ation, and to enable them to reflect on the implications of these findings for the polic! designC $acilitate a high/level &or*shop to hammer o t the polic! options and decide on the &a! for&ardC and Devise and implement comm nication strateg! to inform the general p blic and the partic lar sta*eholder gro ps abo t the o tcomes of the participator! process and the progress in finali.ing the polic!.

#4amples of C&5*led tools 1hree e(amples of tools &hereb! 08Os themselves can help s pport participator! polic!/ma*ing are campaigns, partnerships and participator! polic! research. 1he! are o tlined ver! briefl! belo&, Campaigns: 1he foc s of man! advocac! NGOs, campaigns can serve several f nctions incl ding raising a&areness among the general p blic abo t the polic! iss e at hand, mobili.ing action s ch as cons mer bo!cotts or citi.ens6 petitions, and press ri.ing governments to act on the iss es and ta*e on board the vie&s e(pressed thro gh these campaigns. ;nvironmental, health and rights/related iss es are among the most common s b'ects of s ch campaigns in both developed and developing co ntries. % good so rce of case st dies of polic!/oriented campaigns is available from a recent ID8 st d!. >ore case st dies are available in II;D )?00?+ and anal!ses of lessons learned and tips on evidence/ based polic! advocac! and citi.en participation are provided in 0o rt et al. )?006+, @ine )?00#+ and 0lar* )?00B+. Partnerships: 08Os are increasingl! forming partnerships among themselves or &ith government bodies or private sector companies in order to infl ence polic!/ma*ing at vario s levels. $or e(ample, n mero s NGO consorti ms and net&or*s are activel! advocating international polic! reform &hile other NGOs are &or*ing ver! closel! &ith government to revie& or even help draft national polic! and legislation. 1he latter approach has sometimes been critici.ed as compromising the independence of the NGOs concerned, altho gh if handled caref ll!, it can be a po&erf l means of e(erting infl ence. $or case st dies of NGOs establishing polic!/oriented partnerships, see for e(ample 9isle! )?00E+ and -allacio and @ rtado )?00#+. Participatory policy research: -olic! research has been sed b! NGOs and other sta*eholder gro ps to promote and inform participator! polic!/ma*ing. In the most effective cases, the polic! research itself has been nderta*en in a participator! manner to bring the voice of ordinar! citi.ens and comm nities to the attention of polic!/ma*ers. 1o have a real impact on the polic! design or reform, the research needs to involve *e! polic!/ma*ers from the start and needs to be integrated into a formal polic! revie& process. $or more information on the role of participator! research in polic!/ma*ing, see for e(ample II;D, )1996+ for man! 08O/led cases and ;hrhart, )?00E+ for t&o government/led cases.

.enefits of participatory policy process


1he benefits of participator! polic! ma*ing incl de )Feit and 3olfire 199#+, .etter informed policies: -olic! ma*ing or polic! reform reA ires diverse and comple( information and e(pertise. -articipation s all! brings a &ider range of information, ideas, E!Philipe C"#$ %ecture &eries '()'* &
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perspectives, and e(periences to the process. In the case of environmental policies for e(ample, local people, as principal reso rce sers and managers, often possess important practical *no&ledge that helps ens re the long/term prod ctivit! of the nat ral reso rce base. 8imilarl!, 08Os have a &ealth of information abo t local needs and potential. %t the same time, local researchers and other professionals can contrib te val able research res lts and scientific information to better nderstand the comple(ities of the iss es at hand. More e6uitable policies: -olicies that have been designed &ith attention to local peoples6 needs are more li*el! to be eA itable and fair. 1his is partic larl! important &here badl! designed policies &o ld have a negative impact on the poor or on other disadvantaged gro ps. &trengthened transparency and accountability: 1he participator! process can have &ider ramifications for the 5polic!/o&ning6 bod! as it helps create an instit tional c lt re of openness and service. 1he process also enco rages greater p blic attention to the &a! in &hich the polic! is implemented, th s promoting acco ntabilit!. &trengthened o,nership: 4! involving a broader set of sta*eholder gro ps in the design or reform of the polic!, the participator! process &ill help strengthen their o&nership and s pport for the polic! and this in t rn &ill promote more effective implementation. #nhanced capacity and inclusion of marginali2ed groups: 3here participator! polic!/ ma*ing has bro ght neglected sta*eholder gro ps to the table or at least given them a voice, the process can help empo&er these gro ps in a small &a! to stand p for their rights and ma*e their concerns *no&n. 1he process can also contrib te to changes in po&er relations bet&een the vario s constit encies involved partic larl!, if special efforts have been made to incl de more marginali.ed gro ps. #nhanced government capacity: 1he participator! process ma! &ell have been a ne& one for the government bod! or development organi.ation and can help b ild their capacit! to recogni.e m ltiple vie&s and address diverging perspectives. 1his ne& e(perience and the practical s*ills gained b! those involved in implementing the process &ill help in f t re interactions &ith the different sta*eholder gro ps. Common understanding: $inall!, participator! polic! ma*ing can help promote a common nderstanding aro nd comple(, mis nderstood or even contentio s iss es.

Challenges and lessons 1he challenges and ris*s of participator! polic! ma*ing incl de, /ime and resource needs: -articipator! polic! ma*ing &ill al&a!s ta*e more time and can be costl!, especiall! &hen large gro ps of sta*eholders are involved. 7aising e4pectations: %s*ing for people6s inp t into the polic! ma*ing process is li*el! to raise their e(pectations of having their vie&s ta*en into acco nt. 1his is not al&a!s possible and these limitations need to be clearl! spelled o t from the beginning. Creating conflicts: 1he participator! process can trigger conflicts among the different sta*eholder gro ps b! bringing opposing vie&s o t into the open and e(posing nderl!ing tensions. In addition, if participation fails to incl de other gro ps that feel the! sho ld have been cons lted, this can lead to conflict and opposition to the process. $inall!, the process can create divisions &ithin the NGO comm nit! if different gro ps ta*e different positions on the polic! iss e. %oss of independence: 4! becoming closel! involved &ith a government led process, 08Os can ris* losing )or appearing to lose+ their independence. 1his can have serio s reperc ssions in terms of their credibilit!. Political risks: 1he flip side of the above ris* is that, b! getting involved in polic! advocac!, the 08Os can be seen b! government to be interfering in political matters and a threat to the smooth r nning of 5government matters6.

%n! 08O considering becoming involved in a participator! polic!/ma*ing process &o ld need to prepare itself &ell in order to avoid the t!pes of ris*s mentioned above. 8ome s ggestions in this regard are,

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0hoose !o r battles, Not all policies need !o r participation and !o need to be strategic in choosing those &hich are of partic lar importance to !o r ca se and &here !o can ma*e a real differenceC Define !o r role, 3hat are !o r strengths and &ea*nesses, &hat are !o r capacitiesC ho& close do !o &ant to get to the polic!/ma*ing bod!< Do !o r home&or*, Develop a good nderstanding of the polic! iss e, anal!.e the d!namics involved )&ho stands to &in, &ho to lose, &hat interests are at sta*e+C -lan !o r participation, 3hich sta*eholder gro ps do !o need to involve< 3hich ones need partic lar attention< 3hat participator! methods are !o going to se< 3hat is the best timing of the participator! process, in order to ma(imi.e its impact on the polic!< @one !o r s*ills, $oc s on the s*ills needed for the 'ob li*e for e.g. those reA ired for negotiating, lobb!ing, comm nication, capacit!/b ilding, or the se of participator! techniA es.

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