Sub-principle 3.A

Support and participate in inclusive dialogue and consultation


Why is it important?


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stress the need to work in multi-stakeholder partnerships, adopt cross-sectoral approaches and focus on localised, context-based approaches while targeting the bottom of the pyramid. Developing inclusive dialogues and consultations is complex due to the disparity of contexts and the diversity and lived experiences of the different actors. Greater dialogue and consultations by local stakeholders in the development and implementation of development co-operation projects help to enhance the legitimacy of such projects, ensure context-adapted solutions, build trust and respect, and contribute to joint problem solving. They can provide domestic firms with opportunities to develop and test new products in (new) markets; improve the enabling environment; mitigate the risk of market entry; build reputation, credibility and branding; and establish commercial relationships for the future with local upstream and downstream suppliers increasing reliability and efficiencies.

Self-reflection questions
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  • Do you have codes of conduct, agreements on terminology, agreements on the type and frequency of communication between partners, and conflict resolution mechanisms in place for dialogues and consultations with beneficiaries and affected communities? 
  • As part of your multi-stakeholder partnerships, have you committed to regular inclusive dialogue and do you know what this entails, including your own role and responsibilities? 
  • Have you built on and strengthened the existing institutional capacity in the supply chain, such as farmer-based organisations, local co-operatives and groups to help engage directly with the local communities?
  • Do you ensure that your supply chain has the capacity and means to be involved, including the informal sector?

Actions to consider
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  • Participate in regular consultations organised by national and subnational governments and development partners.
  • If you are a representative or member of a business association, participate in regular consultations organised by your national government and development partners on behalf of members.
  • Support the participation of those micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and the informal sector for which capacity is a challenge to meaningfully engage.
  • If you are a representative or member of a business association, organise your own regular consultations among the private sector and with other development actors to discuss priorities and challenges in development co-operation, when relevant.

Pitfalls to avoid
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  • Consider inclusive dialogue as only a small part of the partnership.
  • Impose the language of your company instead of adapting to the community’s contexts, needs and ideas.


The Business in Development Facility (the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, The Partnering Initiative) supports the creation of locally run partnership platforms, including in Colombia, Mozambique and Zambia

Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) is a public-private dialogue platform to facilitate structured dialogue between the public and private sectors under an institutional framework in Bangladesh. BUILD was launched by the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry in partnership with the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry in October 2011.

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