3. Stakeholder mapping
To understand to what extent the incumbent actors can become drivers of change within the current institutional landscape and help create broader coalitions for reform.
Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have a stake in a given public policy and are susceptible to be affected – positively or negatively – by their formulation and implementation. From the onset of the INSPIRED dialogue process, the Dialogue Host needs to conduct a preliminary assessment of those stakeholders that should be invited to jointly identify the main problems in the selected policy field, as well as the opportunities for addressing these problems through policy-making. Yet this first appraisal needs to be refined through additional collective exercises, in which the participants themselves should point out which other stakeholders are missing and who should be invited to the process.
These stakeholders will have different degrees of leverage over the policy-making process. While some actors will be in a position to take direct decisions or even allocate funds for specific purposes, others might compensate their lack of political power with their capacity to propose original choices or to put external pressure on policy-makers. Throughout the mapping exercise the Dialogue Host should be able to understand not only where the power lies, but also to what extent the incumbent actors can become drivers of change within the current institutional landscape. In other words, it must identify stakeholders that are relevant (from an objective perspective) and committed to promoting change (subjective dimension).
To this aim, the mapping of stakeholders should be carried out with an eye on the two core values of the INSPIRED method. In a process aimed at promoting inclusiveness and participation, it is equally important to identify: (a) those actors that can influence policymaking and (b) those that will be affected by it. For the sake of inclusiveness, the Dialogue Host must take the risk of inviting into the process those stakeholders that might lack influence but are strongly affected by the policy at stake.
  • Building legitimacy and policy ownership.
  • Identifying power relations and issues of contention as well as potential reform coalitions.
  • Fostering the creation of policy networks both within and beyond the scope of the dialogue.
  • Exploring coalitions for reform as broad as possible and involving otherwise neglected actors.
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