Acting as the main hub of the resulting policy network

As discussed further below, one of the main outcomes of the INSPIRED processes is the development and/or consolidation of policy networks around the issue at stake. Depending on the phase of development of the policy network, the Dialogue Host can take different roles. If it is still in its nascent stage, the Dialogue Host will act as a catalyst, establishing the first links among the participants in the dialogue process and thus “knitting” the policy network according to the values agreed upon by the first nodes that join in.

In most cases, however, the policy network already exists albeit limited to public actors, who often follow a hierarchical approach that fails to take into consideration the level of interdependence that characterises governance systems in the XXI century. In such cases, the role of the Dialogue Host is to act as a “weaver” that strives to connect new participants to the network (CSOs, social and private actors, think-tanks, etc.) and to increase the exchanges of information among the different types of nodes.

Networks that bring together diverse stakeholders present different levels of integration among their nodes, which tend to arrange themselves spontaneously into clusters that reflect their interests and priorities while enhancing their synergies, affinities and complementarities. This entails the need for the Dialogue Host to act as a hub or super-connector that strives to identify and register the exchanges that are happening in different parts of the network so as to look for opportunities to build new ties or vectors of cooperation. However, this is a particularly challenging task, as the power dynamics within the network will develop following complex patterns that will give prominence to some actors over others depending on the resources that they bring to the network.

One of the main assets of multi-stakeholder dialogue processes is their capacity to raise awareness among the actors involved about their growing and almost inevitable interdependence, a realisation that can force the most powerful players to open their game and adopt a more cooperative approach towards their daily work.

A fine example of such realisation is the suite of administrative acts that resulted from the publication of the Participatory Analysis Report entitled ‘State of Land and Resource Tenure Reform in the Philippines 2018’. Indeed, between July and August 2018, several Governmental bodies such as the Department for Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) or the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) agreed to involve representatives from CSOs and indigenous people organizations in specific consultative mechanisms for the formulation of guidelines, rules and regulations aimed at improving the effective implementation of the Agrarian Reform, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act and the Fisheries Code.

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