Working Group III: Mitigation

Other reports in this collection

Continued from previous page

Impoverished and marginalized areas in developing countries have been the main targets for promoting participatory forms of decision making. The rationale is straightforward: these segments of population are generally the less educated and less organized, they are more difficult to reach, and the institutions that serve them are often weak. A range of participatory methods better adapted to work at the field level have been designed to engage and enable the poor to become active actors in development programmes. These include workshop-based and community-based methods for collaborative decision making, methods for stakeholder consultation, and methods for incorporating participation and social analysis into project design. Based on a World Bank (1996) survey of participatory methods, Table 10.5 summarizes some of relevant participatory tools.

Table 10.5: Participatory methods and tools (World Bank, 1996)
Method Tools
Collaborative decision making:
Workshop-based methods
Appreciation–influence–control (AIC)
AIC encourages stakeholders to consider the social, political, and cultural factors, along with the technical and economic aspects, that influence a given project or policy. Activities focus on building appreciation through listening, influence through dialogue, and control through action.
Objectives-oriented project planning (ZOPP)
The purpose of ZOPP is to undertake participatory, objectives-oriented planning that spans the life of the project or policy work, while building stakeholder commitment and capacity with a series of workshops.
TeamUp builds on ZOPP, but emphasizes team building. It enables teams to undertake participatory, objectives-oriented planning and action, while fostering a “learning-by-doing” atmosphere.
Collaborative decision making:
Community-based methods
Participatory rural appraisal (PRA)
PRA is a label given to a growing family of participatory approaches and methods that emphasize local knowledge and enable people to undertake their own appraisal, analysis, and planning. It enables devel- opment practitioners, government officials, and local people to work together in context-appropriate programmes.
The purpose of this participatory method is to (a) provide a multisectoral, multilevel approach to team building through training, (b) encourage participants to learn from local experiences rather than from external experts, and (c) empower people at the community and agency levels to initiate action.
Methods for stakeholder consultation Beneficiary assessment (BA)
BA’s general purposes are to (a) undertake systematic listening to “give voice” to poor and other hard- to-reach beneficiaries, thereby highlighting constraints to beneficiary participation, and (b) obtain feedback on development interventions.
Systematic client consultation (SCC)
SCC refers to a group of methods used by the World Bank to improve communication among Bank staff, direct and indirect beneficiaries and stakeholders of bank-financed projects, government agencies, and service providers, so that projects and policies are more demand-driven.
Methods for social analysis Social assessment (SA)
Objectives of SA are to (a) identify key stakeholders and establish the appropriate framework for their participation, (b) ensure that project objectives and incentives for change are appropriate and acceptable to beneficiaries, (c) assess social impacts and risks, and (d) minimize or mitigate adverse impacts.
Gender analysis (GA)
GA focuses on understanding and documenting the differences in gender roles, activities, needs, and opportunities in a given context. It highlights the different roles and learned behaviour of men and women based on gender attributes, which vary across culture, class, ethnicity, income, education, and time.

Involving citizens in the decision-making process is not an easy task. It requires careful planning, thoughtful preparation, and flexibility to change procedures on the demand of affected stakeholders. The selection of a supportive and conducive structure for public discourse is essential, not only to gain public acceptance, but also to take advantage of the full potential to articulate well-balanced decisions (Renn et al., 1993). Setting aside technical aspects and contextual differences, participatory forms of decision making are viewed as proper mechanisms to achieve broader social goals (Beierle, 1998). These are to inform and educate the public, incorporate public values, assumptions, and preferences into decision making, increase the substantive quality of decisions, foster trust in institutions, and reduce conflict among stakeholders.

Other reports in this collection

IPCC Homepage