Why does INSPIRED make a difference?

The INSPIRED approach builds on the democratic principles of inclusiveness and participation, which function as its two core values; being both intrinsic and instrumental, they provide the red lines guiding multi-stakeholder dialogue processes. Thanks to its focus on evidence-based policy-making, the method also promotes the principles of transparency and accountability, which are key prerequisites for a functioning democracy. In order to be of practical use in guiding policy dialogue, the two core values of inclusiveness and participation have been streamlined throughout. Further, the method, which consists of three phases: Collective Assessment, Consensus Building and Monitoring and Donor Alignment. Each phase presents a series of tools and techniques that can be used to make policy debate more inclusive and participatory while keeping it oriented to concrete results.

Overall management of the dialogue is to be ensured by a “Dialogue Host” that functions as an impartial convener, facilitator, policy analyst and communicator of results. Acting on behalf of the donor while being at the service of the domestic stakeholders participating in the dialogue, the Dialogue Host embodies the idea of a true partnership; one that is based on mutual trust and accountability so as to be responsive to the challenges of consensus-building.

The INSPIRED approach is simultaneously policy-oriented, process-oriented and partnership-oriented. By focusing on the dialogue process around policy choices, it identifies different entry points into the policy cycle, implying different strategies for influencing decision-making and monitoring implementation.

Secondly, given its focus on dialogue, INSPIRED puts strong attention on the notion of process, recognising that in democracy support the means are as important as the end, but nevertheless delivering tangible results such as the Participatory Policy Assessments and Roadmaps for Reform, which are to be produced by the participating stakeholders themselves.

And last but not least, INSPIRED brokers the kind of partnerships that are needed to successfully implement any policy reform, promoting coordination and the kind of division of labour that characterises well-articulated policy networks.

All these aspects are reflected in the Integrated Support Framework (ISF), a reporting tool that can be used to present snapshots of the dialogue process at different moments, providing practitioners and the donors with useful insight into the points of contention, as well as the interests and incentives of the participating stakeholders. By presenting this kind of “intelligence” in a focused and structured way – identifying potential gridlocks and conflicting visions as well as real windows of opportunity – the ISF can help donors and implementing agencies design and coordinate programmes and assistance measures in a way that ensures their alignment with locally-led processes of reform.

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