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More Sustainable Participation? Multi-Stakeholder Platforms for Integrated Catchment Management

Author: Jeroen F. Warner
Publication Date: 15th August 2006

Written in the context of catchment area management and using examples from around the world, this paper promotes realistic expectations of multi-stakeholder platforms (MSP’s). Recognizing that MSP’s and participatory methods in general are a “hot-topic” in development effectiveness discussions, the paper analyses why MSP’s are seen to be attractive processes under three main rationales:

  • As an alternative method for dispute settlement
  • As an approach towards adaptive management
  • As a democratic and empowering process

The paper highlights integration as a key component of an MSP, examining what and who should be integrated and how through integration, an MSP can bridge the gap between grass-roots and policy makers.

To conclude, the paper discusses the need for increased self-sustenance of MSP’s, arguing that as many donors want fast, concrete results, MSP initiators and facilitators need to “do it well or not at all”.