Coming Soon: All Aboard Survey


SurveyAll Aboard Update:  We’re now busy designing a survey on the views of civil society, as part of this research project. Your suggestions and inputs on this questionnaire would be warmly welcomed. 
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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.

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Towards SDG Target 16.7

SDG Target 16.7Early this morning, I woke up suddenly thinking about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and specifically of SDG Target 16.7: “Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels”. Maybe I’m weird to think of this before sunrise. Perhaps I’m suffering from severe repetitive jargon syndrome provoked by an overdose of hearing the SDGs’ mantra “Leave no one behind”. It constantly reverberates down from those at the top of the UN and its Agencies such as the WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and a dozen other organizations.

It seems that they have overlooked Target 16.7 of the SDGs. It appears that most of these UN Agencies do not allow the participation of the millions of some of the most ‘left behind’ — poor folks living with life-threatening or life changing diseases or disabilities, nor support the development of systems for accountable representation to assure that they are included in decisions that concern them.

Maybe those at the top just don’t understand the meaning of “… inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels”. Or perhaps they can not see the value of having the most affected communities having a ‘seat at the table’ with other stakeholders. Have they not read the SDG declarations that they agreed? Have they forgotten that they have signed the Common Understanding between the UN Agencies in 2003, and committed to advancing the meaningful participation of those concerned by their policy decisions and processes?

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