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The Stakeholders
It should be clear by now that policy-making, despite being government-led, is a complex and multifaceted undertaking that involves a wide array of stakeholders at different stages of the process. This entails that increasing the inclusiveness and participation of a given policy dialogue is not a matter of choice but rather of necessity, as only by means of bringing the key stakeholders on board can government officials and policy-makers ensure that “their” policies do not fail where most policies do, i.e. during implementation, which is when the lack of buy-in and cooperation by those crucial actors that were previously neglected tends to backfire.
More often than not, the best policies are those that have been built upon dialogue, and in order for that dialogue to be meaningful and to pave the way to sustainable change, it must include the perspective of all those institutions and organizations that have a direct interest and/or can make a difference in the policy area that is being addressed and potentially reformed; in other words, those that can affect or are likely to be affected by the policy reform in question. There should of course be members of the government and relevant officials from public administration, but also representatives of political parties, members of parliament, civic activists and representatives of civil society organisations, as well as village representatives or other kinds of traditional community leaders, business representatives and independent experts. In a way, the key ingredient for success is the ability to identify these organisations (and the individuals that can represent them) in order to involve them in the project from the very beginning, fostering their ownership over the process and tapping on their knowledge and skills so as to raise the technical, human and political profile of the dialogue.
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