International development practitioners have gained valuable insights over the years. One of the most impactful realizations is the need to increase transparency and engagement in the development process. For years, senior representatives from multilateral institutions have met regularly to discuss standards and experiences to ensure consistency of approach and share good practice in the areas of environmental and social standards. This dialogue exists among institutions to collectively raise the bar in terms of quality of practice.
One of the most recent examples of this collaboration comes from the recognition that public consultations and stakeholder engagement need to be front and center in development. Why so?
We know that projects affect groups differently. Some may be particularly vulnerable to displacement based on their land tenure, ethnicity, gender and other identities. There is also a growing recognition that stakeholders, whether there are impacted positively or negatively in a project, should be identified and should have their views considered in the design and implementation phases. Doing this systematically will help create understanding, commitment and local ownership of involved populations. Failure to do so can create mistrust, lead to wrong decisions and cause significant delays, reputation al harm and credit/financial problems.