Sub-principle 3.A

Support and participate in inclusive dialogue and consultation


Why is it important?


Developing inclusive dialogues and consultations is complex due to the disparity of contexts and the diversity of experiences of different actors. Greater consultation ensures that the local perspective on the challenges and opportunities are heard and ensures that solutions are adapted to the local context and needs. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are closer to local development advocates and actors and can help identify who should be part of any dialogue and consultation. Leveraging opportunities for participation and engaging local and smaller scale stakeholders in the dialogue is important for MSMEs to strengthen their voices and secure future involvement in multi-stakeholder dialogues.

Self-reflection questions
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  • Can you take part in consultations in the projects that you are involved in? 
  • Is there a business association that can represent your voice in these dialogues and that will report and discuss outcomes with you if you cannot engage yourself?
  • Have you expressed what you need to ensure full participation in any current or future dialogue and consultation? 
  • Do you gather input on the views and needs of the community you serve? 
  • Can stakeholders you represent take part in consultations and give consent to participate? 

Actions to consider
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  • Participate in regular consultations organised by national and subnational governments and development partners. 
  • Be clear that you want to be a co-creator, not only a beneficiary. Be clear on what type of resources you need to participate meaningfully in such consultations and dialogue.

Pitfalls to avoid
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  • Fail to communicate your priorities and challenges to your project partners. 
  • Be discouraged if dialogue or consultation structures make it difficult to engage or come across as too specialised to engage in.


In the states of Caldas and Risaralda in Colombia, Bive supported partnerships and dialogues between local governments and farmer associations and coffee growers’ co-operatives to improve access to high-quality, affordable healthcare services and preventative health education for low-income families and rural women. Bive was supported by the United Nations Development Programme’s Business Call to Action network and its development partners to improve its programme and conduct an extensive impact assessment.

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