An old Stakeholder Forum Report: Enhancing the Role of Major Groups and Stakeholders in the Implementation of the UNEP Programme of Work
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
For implementation with partners to be relevant and have lasting impact, UNEP must prioritize and invest in internal knowledge management systems that allow for communication, lesson-learning and exchange of best practice among staff and between Divisions. This will enhance the coherence of working with partners across UNEP.
WORKING WITH MAJOR GROUPS AND STAKEHOLDERS FOR EXTERNAL COMMUNICATION OF UNEP’S WORK
Major Groups and Stakeholders are well-placed to communicate UNEP’s valuable work to wider audiences – too often UNEP produces high-quality and useful work which lacks a concomitant communications strategy to ensure wider impact. Communications strategies should be drawn up and relevant partners identified at the Programmatic Concept stage. Emphasis should be placed on tailoring messages to relevant Major Groups and Stakeholders; establishing partnerships with educational institutions to access Children and Youth; and exploring the role of UNEP National Committees in disseminating information.
FORMING STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS WITH MAJOR GROUPS AND STAKEHOLDERS
Strategic Partnerships should be established with Major Groups and Stakeholders at a Sub-Programmatic level, which form the over-arching direction for projects and activities. This will avoid the fragmentation inherent in the establishment of hundreds of uncoordinated partnerships across UNEP, and enhance UNEP’s impact through aligning partnerships to a clear vision. Strategic implementing partners should further contribute to policy and governance discussions based on their experience and lessons learned.
Strategic Partners, and partners on a country level, should be identified through robust stakeholder mapping exercises that consider the role of each of the Major Groups. Whilst the relevance of Major Groups will necessarily vary according to context, it is important for coherence that a Major Groups ‘framework’ is mainstreamed into the development of strategic and country-level partnerships. It should be noted that a vast majority of UNEP staff interviewed were either unfamiliar with the concept of Major Groups, or unable to indicate which stakeholders are included under the Major Groups definition.
DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIPS WITH A DIVERSE RANGE OF MAJOR GROUPS AND STAKEHOLDERS
If a Major Groups approach is to be mainstreamed into UNEP, it is important that there is evidence of engagement of a range of Major Groups in implementation and a certain consistency throughout UNEP in its approach to civil society. Whist there exist examples of all 9 Major Groups being engaged across UNEP, the limited data available on partnerships, corroborated by observations by interviewees, suggests that Indigenous People, Farmers and Trade Unions are less represented across the board. The situation has much improved in recent years, especially in relation to Trade Unions and Farmers, though across-the-board representation remains a challenge.
MAKING ENGAGEMENT WITH MAJOR GROUPS AND STAKEHOLDERS MORE RELEVANT TO PROGRAMMATIC IMPLEMENTATION
The process of engaging Major Groups and Stakeholders as partners should be clearly focused on the strategic objectives of the Programme of Work 2010-11 to avoid fragmentation. UNEP should align its engagement with Major Groups and Stakeholders to correspond more closely to programme implementation – currently there is too often a disconnect between those representatives of Major Groups and Stakeholders who contribute at a policy level, and those who act as implementing partners or who have technical expertise in the area. Narrowing the gap between these two groups will ensure that policy better reflects lessons-learned. Annual meetings with Strategic Partners and technical experts could go some way to ensure this happens.
UNEP adds significant value where it can play the role of convenor of Multi-stakeholder partnerships. Bringing a range of Major Groups and stakeholders ‘around the table’ to discuss, exchange knowledge and develop initiatives is critical for the success of the Programme of Work 2010-11, as it raises awareness and disseminates information to a wider audience.
GENERATING OWNERSHIP AND PROVIDING GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH DIFFERENT MAJOR GROUPS
Partnerships with Major Groups and Stakeholders must as far as possible be of equal value to both UNEP and the external partner. UNEP should establish guidelines for working in partnership with Major Groups and Stakeholders. In addition, existing guidelines on working with business should be disseminated more widely. The Major Groups and Stakeholders Branch would be well-placed to co-ordinate the production and dissemination of such guidelines in consultation with UNEP staff.
The full report can be downloaded here.