What’s Meaningful Participation? A key question that requires many people to answer.
A diverse and dynamic group of activists, academics and public health officials are now collaborating on a new project — All Aboard! This initiative, spearheaded by the IMAXI Cooperative, combines scientific research with the practical development of a new participatory tool that aims to make “Nothing about us without us” a reality in global health governance. We believe that by advancing the meaningful participation and accountable representation of the most affected communities within decision-making institutions, fewer people living with life-threatening and life-changing diseases / disabilities will be ‘left behind’ and left out of programmes to improve health and well-being.
Before tools to claim ‘seats at the tables’ of the policy-makers can be forged, we seek a broad-based consensus on what meaningful participation actually means. Below are a few elements – we like to know what else can be added to the mix.
• Meaningful participation is based on the principle that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
• Meaningful participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
• Meaningful participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants.
• Meaningful participation contributes broad, long-term stake-holding to policy development when supported in a sustainable manner.
• Meaningful participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
• Meaningful participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
• Meaningful participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
• Meaningful participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.
• Meaningful participation helps to assure that ‘no one will be left behind’ in the sustainable development agenda.
• Meaningful participation enables people to realise their rights to participate in, and access information relating to, the decision-making processes which affect their lives.
Please send us any further ideas or suggestions. Everyone’s welcome to “Write Your Rights” to a seat at the table.