Could you please provide information on standards of public participation?
We are working with a mining company, and we have to evaluate the participation of local organisations in the processes of discussion about projects and programmes. We would like to know if these processes have complied with minimum standards of public participation.
Standards of public participation Evaluating public participation processes References
The participation of the public in the decision-making processes of public affairs is a right that is enshrined in many international conventions.
Public participation is a core element of good governance, and can directly improve the quality of laws and policies, strengthen democracy and increase the accountability of decision makers. At the same time it can afford the people directly affected by a decision, policy or law with a chance to have their concerns heard and respected, and can help to foster legitimacy and manage conflicts in society.
There are a number of countries and international organisations that define standards of public participation, mainly focusing on consultation times, accessibility to information and processes and the responsiveness of officials as well as the principles of trust, accountability, transparency and independence which are at the core of effective public participation.
Similar principles apply in the mining sector. Mining companies have increasingly come to understand the importance of public participation in the creation of their projects, and some countries have even enshrined these principles in their laws and regulations. Evaluating the public participation process can be difficult. However, guidance has been created that broadly focuses on the planning and implementation stages of the process, as well as on the quality of decision-making.
Marie Chêne, Transparency International, email@example.com Ben Wheatland, Transparency International, firstname.lastname@example.org