My new book Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in A Time of Fear out July 9th


My new book Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in A Time of Fear (Routledge) is on advance order on amazon - out July 9th.  

I would also like to thank my co-authors Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, Carolina Duque Chopitea, Minu Hemmati, Susanne Salz, Bernd Lakemeier, Laura Schmitz, and Jana Borkenhagen for their chapters - which are awesome!! While underscoring that my co-authors do not necessarily agree with the chapters written by other people.

The book will be out in July for the High Level Political Forum where we will be launching the book. Let me share with you the introduction for the book...and a few reviews out already.

“A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.” (Kennedy, 1966)

A changing world

The revolution that Bobby Kennedy was talking about isn’t the one we are talking about in this book, but the sentiments are the same. Kennedy was also known for quoting a Chinese proverb which says “May we live in interesting times.” We definitely are living in interesting times.

This is a book about democracy in the context of sustainability. The theory of change we are using is that involving stakeholders in the decision-making process will result in better informed decisions by governments at all levels. It further argues that involving stakeholders in the decision-making process makes them more likely to partner with each other and with governments at all levels to help deliver on the commitments associated with those agreements.

Today this argument might be viewed as mainstream, or as a kind of geopolitical comfort food akin to that icon status of apple pie in the United States, but 25 years ago at the United Nations Rio Earth Summit (1992), it seemed radical.

The outcome document from that Summit – Agenda 21 – was the first intergovernmental text that recognised the rights and responsibilities of a set of stakeholders (nine) that were not governments.

"For those of us wondering “what exactly does stakeholders mean?” this book provides a comprehensive and useful answer. Beyond that, it outlines the concept of stakeholder democracy both in historical overview and in contemporary political context, as the inevitable next step in democratic progress. Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in a Time of Fear distills decades of knowledge into an engaging, enlightening read, democratically disseminating the wisdom usually only gleaned through a coffee with one of its authors. In UN advocacy, precedent is everything. Outlining the best examples of stakeholder engagement, this book is a guiding light for the next generation of non-government actors seeking to influence global policy. “ 

Kathryn Tobin, Advocacy Coordinator, WaterAid 

I have been an observer, participant and advocate for stakeholder engagement at the local, sub-national, national and global levels since that first Summit in 1992. Stakeholder Forum, for which I was Executive Director (1992-2012) was one of the first multi-stakeholder bodies set up in response to the Summit. I worked with local authorities in the United Kingdom on the development of some of the first Local agenda 21s and local sustainable development indicators projects. I witnessed and participated in the birth of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and the setting up of the Network for Regional Government for Sustainable Development.

But all of this wouldn’t have been possible without the role that two-particular people played in this emerging theory. Those two were Maurice Strong (Secretary General of the Earth Summit) and Chip Lindner (Executive Director of the Center for Our Common Future). It is doubtful if we would be where we are now if they hadn’t advocated for stakeholders in 1991 and 1992, as chapters in this book will show.

Democracy has been an evolving system of who should have a voice in how we are governed.

The emergence of ‘stakeholder democracy’ should be seen in that historical context. It is an expansion and strengthening of Madisonian democracy (representative) and the next step towards Jeffersonian democracy (participatory).

The objective of this book is to try and learn from the experience of the last twenty-five years and to give the readers some understanding about what has been achieved, especially (where policy development is concerned) at the intergovernmental level. Among other things, the book looks at successful models of multi-stakeholder partnership for helping to deliver global agreements.

The stakeholder concept in the Earth Summit process for the first time enabled nine unique stakeholder voices to be heard. It enabled women to articulate the "gender perspective" of different policies, and youth to be heard before policy decisions would impact on their lives. It recognized that Non-Government Organisations play a critical role in advocating for policy development and monitoring the implementation of agreements, but also in implementing change either by themselves or in partnership with others.

The inclusion of local and subnational governments at the table ensured a local knowledge and delivery mechanism for global policy decisions. The inclusion of science and academics guaranteed that the best science was in front of the policy makers, and engaging the trade unions meant that any transition would have to be a just transition. Farmers were included because it was seen as critical to address the challenge of feeding the growing population. The eighth stakeholder group is Indigenous Peoples – this represented the start of a long overdue recognition for Indigenous Peoples which in 2000 saw the setting up at the UN of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, and in 2001 the establishment of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The most controversial stakeholder to be included was business and industry, but it's vital to have them at the table because they produce the goods and services we all use. Bringing business and industry to the table safeguards their place in the discourse and also ensures that they can be held more accountable.

Here I have focused mostly on the nine stakeholders recognized in 1992, but as time passed, it became clear that there were others that needed to be included depending on the issue being addressed.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015) added a number of other stakeholders, including disabled people, older people, volunteers [of any age or condition] and the education community. The reality is that any engagement with stakeholders for policy or for developing a partnership should always start by mapping out the relevant stakeholders. The book takes the point of view that a relevant stakeholder is any stakeholder that is impacted by a decision or can impact on a decision.

The development of multi-stakeholder partnerships for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 was a reaction to a number of realities, as Paul Hohnen, the former Strategic Director of Greenpeace said:

“Business as usual, government as usual, and perhaps even protest as usual are not giving us the progress we need to achieve sustainable development. Let’s see if we can’t work together to find better paths forward." (Hohnen, 2001)

The concept of stakeholder democracy can build strong coalitions that can shape international, national, and local policies and practices. Diverse categories of stakeholders can come together and work to develop a direction that can motivate governments to act, that can bring high quality policy and practical advice to international forums, and that can prod governments to take domestic action to implement international agreements when they are hesitant or timid. In all these situations, stakeholder democracy has empowered new constituencies to work together to alter multilateral and government directions and to deliver global agreements through multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Has multi-stakeholderism (if there is such a word) developed robust new forms of governance? Are these new processes transparent? Are they accountable to anyone other than the stakeholders engaged in a partnership? What reporting do they do? Are they taking up roles that government should do, and if so, is that a good idea? These are questions we hope to address in the book while giving the reader some ideas on what can be done so that the answer to the questions is ‘yes’ or at least can be ‘yes’ in the future. There definitely needs to be more transparency and accountability within the stakeholder world. Whether it’s a multi-stakeholder policy dialogue or a multi-stakeholder partnership among groups, representation should be empirically verifiable.
The book has ten chapters that tell the story. 

“There is no doubt about the power of the collective to change the world, even more now, when we are increasingly interconnected. In order for the collective effort to be effective, numbers matter, but strategy is key. This book, which emphasizes multi-stakeholder democracy, makes a truly important contribution to how the whole of society can, and should, come together to solve the world's most pressing problems. This compelling work calls for reflection and action, two sides of the coin of transformative change.” 
Claudia Mansfield LaRue, Former G77+China negotiator of the United Nations "Towards Global Partnerships Resolution" International Recruitment and Partnerships Specialist, Montclair State University

These are as follows:

Chapter 1: Stakeholder Democracy - Re-engaging the Peoples of the World: Definitions, Concepts and Linkages by Jan-Gustav Strandenaes
To enable the reader to understand the terms that the book will use, this chapter sets the scene as far as the world we are engaging in and then defines key terms such as stakeholders, engagement, dialogue, partnerships, Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships, Civil Society, Public Private Partnerships, etc.
It also identifies and defines key issues such as legitimacy, transparency and power, discussing the linkages between multilevel, multisector and multi-stakeholder processes and approaches.

Chapter 2: Short History of Democracy by Felix Dodds
Democracy has developed over the course of human history, from its origins in 5th century Athens to present day Madisonian (representative) democracy. Over time, democracy has impacted the definition of whose views should be considered. This chapter reviews that development and starts to place Stakeholder Democracy within present democracy. 

Chapter 3: History of the Emergence of Stakeholder Democracy by Felix Dodds
Following the short history of democracy in the previous chapter, this one goes into more depth on how the ideas behind stakeholder democracy developed and how they fit current thinking. It explains Stakeholder Democracy as a strengthening of present-day Madisonian (representative) democracy and a step towards Jeffersonian (participatory) democracy. It explains how the theory change we are using is that involving stakeholders in the decision-making process will result in better informed decisions by governments at all levels. It further argues that involving stakeholders in the decision-making process makes them more likely to partner with each other and with governments at all levels to help deliver on the commitments associated with those agreements.

Chapter 4: Civil Society Discourse by Felix Dodds
There have been two different discourses that have developed over the past twenty-five years, these being civil society in the area of development and stakeholder engagement in the area of sustainable development. This chapter reviews the three major versions of the civil society discourse (associational life, the good society and public sphere). It finds that they limit engagement by excluding key stakeholders. It also groups together key stakeholders into one space therefore reducing the voices of those individual stakeholders. It suggests that civil society works best to mitigate totalitarianism on both the left and right; however, as an organizing principle within democracy, it is found wanting.   

“It’s democracy, period! This book is a must-read for all who want to understand how to work the 21th century politics. Having worked long years as eminent advisors, actors, and advocates the authors offer deep insider knowledge. Stakeholder are more than just the opposite to economic shareholder. Stakeholder democracy is part of the mainstream institutional and parliamentary governance. Even more so, engagement of people helps keeping democracies lively, effective and resourceful. This book carefully sketches out how stakeholder democracy came to be the prime important ingredient to our common future. When it comes to ensuring a decent life for all within the planetary boundaries being transparent, reliable, constructively positive are the virtues of cooperation - as opposed to being absorbed in elitist turf battles and selfish positioning in the global awareness economy. For public and stakeholder politics there what can be learned from the rich narrative of this book might simply start a new Stakeholder Social Responsibility.”
Günther Bachmann, General Secretary to the German Council for Sustainable Development

Chapter 5: Literature Review by Carolina Duque Chopitea
This chapter synthesizes research and current thinking on stakeholder democracy, shedding light on the academic discourse and the political debate. The literature review undertaken in this section relies on normative and empirical studies that highlight the strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and risks of the role of stakeholders and multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) in decision-making, decision-finding, and implementation.

Chapter 6: Examples of Successful Multi-Stakeholder Policy Development by Felix Dodds
This chapter builds on some of the examples discussed in Chapter 3 the History of the Emergence of Stakeholder Democracy. The chapter explores part of the theory of change that engaging stakeholders helps governments make better informed policy decisions. 
It explores in more depth the impact that stakeholder engagement has had on sustainable development policy-making it focuses on an example from each of the global, national, sub-national and local levels. It offers suggestions on how to improve policy development between levels of government and between governments and other stakeholders.

Chapter 7: Examples of Successful Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships by Jan-Gustav Strandenaes
This chapter reviews examples from different levels and all regions of the world using a common framework of presentation for issues, goals, stakeholders, governance, financing, and measures of success. It also traces some of the history behind the development of multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Chapter 8: Principles for Multi-Stakeholder Processes by Dr. Minu Hemmati
This chapter provides a summary of existing guidance for MSPs with a focus on principles; some of the key literature is being presented along with the MSP Charter developed 2017-2019. The MSP Charter includes references to practical aspects of putting its principles into practice. In addition, the chapter offers implementation guidance by providing summaries of key handbooks and tool guides as well as links to relevant organisations, institutes, and networks.

“To mobilize action globally in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will require buy-in and commitments not just from governments, but from all segments of society.  This book addresses a major component of that challenge – involving stakeholders in every part of the process to deliver on the promise of the SDGs. Many of the contributors have long led efforts to build an inclusive and democratic framework for delivering on sustainable development. Their experience, insights and analysis of what works and what doesn’t not only make the case for the benefits of multi-stakeholderism, but allows them to develop crucial practical and detailed guidance on making multi-stakeholder policy dialogues and partnerships legitimate, effective, and accountable.”
Steven Bernstein, Professor of Political Science and Co-director of the Environmental Governance Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto.

Chapter 9: Designing Successful Multi-Stakeholder Processes by Susanne Salz, Bernd Lakemeier, Laura Schmitz, and Jana Borkenhagen
A multi-stakeholder partnership (MSP) brings together various stakeholders willing to contribute to sustainable development. In themselves, MSPs are complex; there is no one size fits all approach concerning its design and operation. This chapter gives practical tips along the process of (i) initiating, (ii) institutionalizing and (iii) assessing the impact of MSPs. The tips on the first steps in MSPs elaborate how to find potential partners, initiate a partnership and tackle challenges along the way (i). Once an MSP is operating, its institutionalization helps to define a governance structure, general rules, and to approach the question of funding (ii). Lastly, the chapter identifies the potential impact of MSPs and ways of impact assessment, illustrated using a case study on sustainable tuna fisheries in the Philippines (iii).

Chapter 10: The Challenges Ahead by Felix Dodds
This chapter summaries what the book has addressed and explores what real world challenges we might face over the coming decade and why Stakeholder Democracy is a way by which Represented Democracy might be supported in a time of fear. 

Perhaps American pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick best expressed the hope of democracy when he said 
“democracy is based upon the conviction that there are extraordinary possibilities in ordinary people.” (Fosdick. 1935)

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