Stakeholder Participation in Poverty Reduction
Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) have become the most important policy instrument in more than 60 developing countries around the world. One of the core principles of the approach is country ownership, built on broad-based participation of stakeholders inside and outside the governments, including parliaments, civil society organizations, private sector representatives and other stakeholders at national as well as local levels. How this theoretical approach has been realized in practice – especially beyond the strategy development – is a matter of debate since its introduction in 1999. This INEF report is an outcome of a World Bank funded research project on “Stakeholder Participation in PRS Implementation”. Based on several background papers of which three are published in this report (written by Thomas Siebold, Birte Rodenberg, and Walter Eberlei), the team draws the conclusion that the preconditions for meaningful participation in poverty reduction processes are only partially met. The necessary institutionalization of participation is still in its infancy. A number of constraints impede the involvement of stakeholders in the majority of countries, especially the inclusion of ‘the poor’ themselves. However, exceptions to the rule demonstrate that effective participation in PRS processes is possible and has been strengthened over the past few years. The analysis of the ongoing processes is used to develop strategic recommendations to strengthen domestic accountability, institutionalization and empowerment and to formulate lessons learned as well as methodological and conceptual insights from the practice of participation in PRS processes.