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Date: 15.9.2023
Categories: Publication

Publication: How to Design MSPs for Inclusivity and Engagement

Inclusivity, engagement, embeddedness, and adaptability are critical factors that help MSPs create a lasting impact and reach legitimacy. To support practitioners in designing collaboration processes more equitably and effectively, CIFOR-ICRAF produced a series of ‘how-to’ guides.

While multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) build spaces for collaboration among equals, equality cannot be taken for granted. Drawing on six years of collaborative research and experiences with 11 subnational MSPs, the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) has therefore published seven info sheets. These guides contain practical tips on how to design inclusive and transformative platforms that foster the empowerment of marginalized stakeholders to create a lasting impact. More specifically, the info sheets provide guidance on how to address power inequities, how to design and facilitate MSP meetings for inclusivity and engagement and how to support adaptive learning. Additionally, they help practitioners increase their MSP’s influence and facilitate the inclusion of women in all their diversity as well as indigenous people and local communities.

While designing inclusive and equitable initiatives can underscore a partnership’s long-term success and resilience, each context requires specific methods. Sometimes, practical measures such as a change in seating arrangements or meeting locations closer to the community may improve the effectiveness and reach of MSPs. But while some considerations may be simple, others may necessitate deeper strategic reflection. Participatory processes alone are no guarantee for equality, as stakeholder interactions are embedded in broader contexts and shaped by power relations and politics.  

One thing is clear: Attention to how marginalized groups perceive their participation in multi-stakeholder processes is required to promote resilience and equity within partnerships. According to CIFOR-ICRAF‘s findings, MSPs that are perceived positively by indigenous people and local communities use specific strategies. These include adaptive, long-term approaches, capacity development, trust-building, decentralized meetings, and separate meeting spaces.