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How well are we doing?

Participatory policymaking



How well are we doing?

Editor's note: We will soon be updating our policy comparisons and case studies to include our 12 newest countries: Germany, Serbia, South Korea, USA, Ethiopia, Australia, Spain, Italy, Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia, Japan.

Profound changes to our economies – how people work, what they buy, how we live – need to recognise the needs of different kinds of people, and include them in designing policies that can help us all be greener. Participatory policymaking is important because, like good governance in general, it supports green interventions and allows them to be more effective. An inclusive green economy avoids imposing green interventions from above, by instead engaging in dialogue with people about what they need and want from the transition.

Ambition for participatory policymaking is highly variable across the 20 countries surveyed. Most - though not all -countries have incorporated the most basic forms of public consultation into policymaking, but not made efforts to ensure these processes are consistent or robust for citizens. Impact assessments are much less common, and where they are part of the policy development process, they are often ad hoc and incomplete. Special attention for marginalised groups is also rare, but more common with inclusive consultation processes than impact assessments.

Some of the most innovative approaches include Canada, Sweden and Peru. Since 1995, Canada has used a Gender Based Assessment System (GBA+) for budgetary and some other selected policies, which helps highlight gender and intersectional issues during policy approval. Sweden by contrast has a comprehensive approach to policy consultation, with a ‘dialogue principle’ underlying mandatory consultation with civil society, public agencies and other groups on all legislation. Though lacking impact assessments, Peru has multiple policies for involving indigenous communities, women and vulnerable groups into consultation processes – especially for large scale mining and infrastructure projects.

Until polices are developed through dialogue with those impacted by them, the green transition will struggle to become a truly global, grassroots transition, meaningful to all.

Najma Mohamed
Policy Director, Green Economy Coalition

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About this policy

Inclusive policymaking will come in many forms depending on context – but the principles of transparency, consultation and impact assessment are paramount. Before policies are implemented governments should assess the impact they will have on different groups, especially economically marginalised groups who tend to have less influence on policy priorities. Consultation or dialogue processes that allow local communities to learn about policies are extremely important for designing the wide-ranging economic reforms needed to achieve a transition to a greener economy.

The weakest policies will eschew a bottom-up approach entirely and have little consultation with local communities and marginalised groups at all. More common are approaches that have a consultation phase, but without transparency on how inputs will be responded to or inform better policy. The strongest approaches make local consultation and impact assessment mandatory in order to provide a transparent structure for policymaking, and help improve the effectiveness of - and confidence people have in - new policies.

Policy methodology

Case Study: Peru

For structural, social and historical reasons, indigenous communities in Peru face more difficult circumstances and higher rates of poverty. This has led to innovation of ways to include them in decision making to protect their rights while also improving policy outcomes. Adoption of a Law of Prior Consultation for indigenous communities has allowed the intercultural ministry to run multiple rounds of policy consultation and develop norms of ongoing dialogue and conversation in development policy. Inclusion has also been mainstreamed in Peru through creation of the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Population, which runs multiple complimentary inclusion programmes.

Peru Country Profile