Consider this hypothetical scenario. The government of Betija, a beautiful Caribbean country, is investing in tourism infrastructure to support the influx of millions of visitors per year to its coastal capital. The project includes the rehabilitation of the town walkways, selected city center facades, and a renovated historical museum for locals and tourists.
The museum is surrounded by an open market that features local goods sold by both formal shops and informal vendors. There is also a taxi stand near the area. Construction will pose a nuisance to the market and will require the taxi drivers to temporarily change their stops and potentially lose their frequent customers.
The government identified several categories of stakeholders who could be affected by the project. These groups were given an opportunity to meet with project officials to express concerns and make suggestions to the project design. The only meeting held was attended by government officials and large retail owners. However, neither the informal vendors nor the taxi drivers were invited. In addition, women were not represented in the event.
Do you think the government did enough to ensure meaningful representation of all affected stakeholders in the meetings? Likely not.
If you are working to guarantee the quality of stakeholder consultations, you should be able to verify how and whether this process has been “meaningful”. For example, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who should be consulted and why?
- How do we promote a participatory process when people can provide their inputs on the program design?
- How do we engage with women and other vulnerable groups and promote their participation?
If you’re not sure how to address the above questions or if you would like to know more, we invite you to take part in our next edition of the online course on Meaningful Stakeholder Consultation, to be held on July 10.
In the course, participants will get an overview of the principles and content that should be present for a consultation process to be considered “meaningful”. The course will provide an overall guidance to help you promote stakeholder consultation processes, rather than a standard blueprint or “one size fits all” approach.
Broadly, the course addresses three aspects of how consultation is approached in environmental and social safeguards policies and how good practice has evolved:
- Explicit mandatory and binding requirements related to consultation in environmental and social safeguards policies and guidelines;
- Guidelines that orient the consultation processes necessary to comply with policy requirements; and
- International good practice related to consultation as developed in recent years, both by IDB and other development agencies, academia, civil society and others.
The course covers the foundations of Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement (MSE), ten elements to ensure MSE, and ways to improve the engagement process.
The IDB also offers courses on:
- Biodiversity in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) – next editions on July 24 (registration now open!!) and October 16.
- Principles of reviewing EIA – next edition on September 4.