Sub-principle 3.A

Support and participate in inclusive dialogue and consultation

Why is this important? 


Engaging with a broad range of public, civic and private actors in inclusive dialogue and consultation provides important opportunities for all relevant stakeholders to meaningfully engage. This is key to building trust among partners and enhancing the legitimacy of PSE interventions – a vital ingredient for making PSE projects and policies effective. For partner country governments, as drivers of PSE (see Kampala Principle 1), it is particularly important to organise regular consultative processes with all relevant stakeholders at the national level to incentivise socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable business practices. 

Self-reflection questions
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Policy Level Project Level
  • Do you commit to in-depth, inclusive and systematic consultations and dialogues in your PSE strategy as well as in your co-operation agreements with development partners?
  • Are you able to convey the benefits of inclusive dialogue and consultations across different government departments (both horizontally across departments and vertically down to local levels) involved in private sector partnerships and projects?
  • For public-private dialogue platforms that exist at the country or sectoral level, are there codes of conduct, action plans, agreement on terminology, agreement on type and frequency of communication between partners, or conflict resolution mechanisms in place to build trust? 
  • How can you involve development partners in mediating or brokering public-private dialogue processes when controversial issues are being discussed?
  • How inclusive is participation in national or sector public-private dialogues? How might dialogue formats need to be adjusted to be more inclusive towards (sub)national non-state stakeholders?
  • Are there mechanisms to support the follow up and uptake of recommendations from dialogues in your PSE strategy?
  • Before initiating a PSE project (particularly in fragile contexts), have you undertaken an inclusive dialogue to secure space for the expression of diverging interests, build trust and foster local ownership of the project?
  • Do your PSE projects promote cross-sectoral and national dialogue in a representative and inclusive way? 
  • Does your PSE project encourage community-level dialogues that provide space for local stakeholders (e.g. beneficiaries, local civil society organisations) and thereby help to discover potential project impacts on a community?
  • Do you facilitate regular inclusive consultations throughout the project life cycle of projects that involve the private sector, i.e. not just one-off sessions?
  • Do existing dialogues and consultations oversee progress and challenges related to the project implementation? Do they have the needed authority and space to propose course corrections in a frank and open environment?

Actions to consider
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Policy Level Project Level
  • Where possible, build on existing public-private processes and structures that have been deliberately set up to promote citizen and stakeholder participation in policy formulation.
  • Develop specific guidelines as part of your PSE strategy to support inclusive and effective dialogue at the national level, e.g. outlining how to include relevant stakeholders, ensure their representation (particularly “weaker” local-level actors), and foster the availability of project information and transparency of communication.
  • Champion inclusiveness of dialogue – national, thematic and project-specific – by highlighting its relevance for acquiring legitimacy and local buy-in.
  • Foster horizontal and vertical linkages in your dialogue processes. This helps to surface issues raised at the local or project level at a higher policy level.
  • Devise clear and actionable agendas for inclusive dialogues and ensure an adequate balance in participation among all key actors.
  • Involve local business associations, CSOs and trade unions, as well as local governments to ensure that adequate weight is given to the point of view of smaller stakeholders.
  • Take time to convey to project partners the need to seek local perspectives. This enhances the legitimacy and impact of projects and helps reduce resistance to dialogue between governmental, private and civil society actors. 
  • Ensure a tailored and needs-based approach for engaging in multi-stakeholder dialogue with national, regional, local and sub-local governmental, and private and civic partners, recognising that each has different skills, capacities and motivations. For instance, large infrastructure projects will require extensive consultations, while smaller projects that target micro, small and medium-sized enterprises may require more limited consultations.
  • Maintain regular conversations to ensure that different stakeholders’ concerns can be heard to allow for course correction as needed.
  • Make use of existing local networks of representation when reaching out to sections of the broader community. Ensure that these networks are themselves representative of vulnerable groups and those left behind.
  • Consider approaching an impartial third party that can provide a neutral space for dialogue and building trust among stakeholders in the case of particularly thorny challenges, notably if priorities are fundamentally misaligned. 
  • Establish an open, independent complaints mechanism for all relevant stakeholders to address grievances.

Pitfalls to avoid
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Policy Level Project Level


  • Include too many perspectives with no clear agenda or follow-up process in a dialogue.
  • Let consultations turn into “talk shops” where there is much debate but little concrete and/or substantive action, which can be particularly off-putting for private sector actors, many of whom demand specificity and relevance in their dialogue engagements.


  • Impose your government’s own agenda in inclusive dialogues and consultations on PSE projects without providing space and opportunity for other stakeholders to co-design the agenda or voice their concerns and interests. 
  • Apply a one-size-fits-all approach to public-private dialogues over a tailored approach to inclusive dialogues depending on the project that is being pursued.


Kenya’s Public-Private Dialogue Platforms are an exemplary set of processes that facilitate inclusive dialogue between public, private and civic actors. This process has accompanied Kenya’s ascent of nearly 70 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking since 2014.

Peru, with the support of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation and UNDP Peru, organised the Action Dialogue on multi-stakeholder partnerships, with a focus on private sector participation. This dialogue was attended by 170 development actors from the public sector, development partners, the private sector, civil society and academia. Based on this inclusive dialogue, an outcome document was prepared with a series of recommendations to promote partnerships, recognising the potential and contribution of the various development actors.

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