Assessing the effectiveness of multistakeholder platforms

Assessing the effectiveness of multistakeholder platforms

April 2013. International Food Policy Research Institute: IFPRI Discussion Paper nr. 01258.

Agricultural and rural management councils in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Authors:  Badibanga, Thaddée; Ragasa, Catherine ; Ulimwengu, John

In 2008, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) established multistakeholder platforms in the agricultural sector known as agricultural and rural management councils (CARGs). The aimof CARGs is achieving a decentralized governance of the agricultural policies and strategies through a large participation of stakeholders of the sector in the design and implementation of agricultural policy processes. Multistakeholder platforms are institutional arrangements intended and used for learning, policy dialogue, and priority setting, but they are rarely evaluated.

This paper analyzes the effectiveness of local-level (territory) multistakeholder platforms using data from 55 CARGs in 23 randomly selected territories in three provinces (Bandundu, Bas-Congo, and Kinshasa) of the DRC. The first CARG was established in 2008, and the survey was conducted three years later, from August to October 2011.

 The results indicate that the effectiveness of the CARGs has been rather limited.

  • Fifty-one percent of the surveyed CARGs achieved results consistent with at least one of the main goals of their processes. 
  • However, 45 percent have not yet achieved any tangible output, whether consistent or not with their main goals, while 4 percent achieved output outside their objectives. 
  • The results also show that the capacity to generate and sustain support for CARGs and their multistakeholder process is an important determinant of their effectiveness. Strategies aimed at improving CARG capacity are likely to improve their effectiveness.

The results are also consistent with the findings in the literature suggesting that financial support is extremely important for participatory and multi stakeholder platforms, especially at their early stages of setup and implementation. Strengthening capacity to mobilize resources among members and external partners should be among top priorities. 

General and broad-based multi stakeholder platforms have a tendency to tackle many different activities and functions and sometimes to deviate to other unplanned activities, but given limited resources and efforts, the focus should always be on the specific goals and objectives set and what the platforms are meant to do, rather than on spreading their wings too thinly.

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