Participation, Empowerment & Outreach
The Commission and Forum recognised that an understanding and acceptance of the recommendations of the Commission will only be possible if these products are subjected to constituency input and consultation. They were conscious of the lessons learnt by other Commissions: to enable stakeholders and interested groups to develop an understanding of and confidence in the process itself, resulting in greater acceptability of the eventual findings and recommendations.
An open process of communications was established for ensuring timely and appropriate opportunities for informed involvement by the various stakeholders at all levels. The aim of the communications strategy was to ensure the highest level of access to the Commission and relevant information. Communication activities included open dissemination of draft and final summary and full documents and included using the networks of Forum members, public meetings, stakeholder involvement in panels and studies, a Commission presence at relevant international conferences, and the website.
The Commission was sensitive to creating an enabling environment in particular for civil society groups, developing country governments and development agencies to participate in its work programme. The WCD actively sought the inputs from the developing world and care was taken in the selection of consultants to ensure that developing country perspectives were obtained from nationals and local experts. For example, national consultants undertook the case study research process and inputs from civil society groups were actively sought in each country.
This principle was also the driving force behind the regional consultations. The added benefit derived from this focus was the empowerment of people to participate in a global process.
The nature of the WCD process created a wide range of opportunities for individuals and organisations to network across the globe and share information via the Internet and at meetings, consultations and other specialised workshops.