Enhancing Multi-Stakeholder Processes for SDG 6 – New Publication

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many meetings, workshops, and consultations suddenly went online. In many parts of the world, in-person meetings were impossible for a long time, and only now are slowly resuming. In other parts, hybrid meetings with online presence and in-person participation are becoming the new norm. Each of these formats comes with its pros and cons. In-person meetings allow for broader and deeper discussions, while online meetings are logistically easier to manage and make it easier for more participants to join. A new publication analyzes the impact that different formats can have on the quality of the interaction in the context of multi-stakeholder consultations.

This publication makes recommendations on how to best combine different formats when designing and conducting multi-stakeholder consultations and dialogues for improving water governance. GWP, in collaboration with the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme, analysed the experience of 61 countries that conducted multi-stakeholder consultations for SDG indicator 6.5.1 in 2020. A meta-analysis revealed trends for each type of meeting format. The publication presents four case studies that dive deeper into how SDG 6.5.1 consultation processes were carried out using various tools and modalities of engagement. 

The results show that the hybrid modality combining both in-person and online interactions may hold the most benefits. 

Experience from SDG 6.5.1 consultations reveal that in-person workshops have been particularly useful in enhancing trust among participants and the overall consensual orientation but may have been relatively exclusive in some cases. Conversely, SDG 6.5.1 consultations which have taken place though online formats had a broader range of participants but did not allow for much in-depth discussion among stakeholders, therefore reducing the quality of the input. When well designed and implemented, hybrid formats combine the advantages of both in-person and online modalities. For instance, a consultation process can kick-off with an in-person event, where participants get to know each other and discuss at length contentious issues, followed up by an online meeting where the gathered input is submitted to a broader audience for further discussion and validation. 

The publication and its associated Brief are intended to benefit professionals who are involved in organising multi-stakeholder dialogues related to improving water governance, especially at the national level. It provides best practices and tactics on how to enhance the effectiveness of engagement processes. The publication offers insights into what kind of format is most suited for different country contexts.  

Download the report: Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Processes for SDG 6 Monitoring

The report in brief: Enhancing Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Processes for SDG 6 Monitoring 

The report and brief were prepared as part of a series of reports on MSPs for Improved Water Governance, under the A Stake in Water Project, funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). It was co-developed with the SDG 6 IWRM Support Programme, the mechanism through which UNEPGWPUNEP-DHI Centre, and Cap-Net UNDP support countries in implementing IWRM.