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Multi-stakeholder conference a resounding success

Over 120 delegates from around the world helped to make the first international conference on multi-stakeholder processes in natural resource management a big success.

Proforest hosted the one-day event in Oxford, England on Sept 14th along with co-conveners The Rainforest Alliance and Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute.

Highlights of the event included a presentation from Patrick Mallet Director of  Credibility at ISEAL who emphasized that those who convene MSPs have a great deal of power, and that the key challenge is to find the right model of engagement for stakeholders. He shared ISEAL’s conclusions that many electronic interfaces for engagement are not effective; face-to-face encounters are those that generate the highest quality output.

Presenters were drawn from a range of national and international multi-stakeholder initiatives that have sought to develop consensus outcomes on topics as diverse as REDD+ safeguards, forest stewardship, soy and palm-oil production standards, forest governance policies and water management. 

Julia Falconer of the European Commission appealed for significant investments in communication to support fair representation for the needs of varied interests.  She noted that the quality and degree of buy-in to initiatives depends in large part to stakeholder inclusion even for government initiatives

This was echoed by Oliver Bach of the Rainforest Alliance who further urged initiatives working with standards and certification to go beyond public consultation processes and ensure that there was adequate field testing and technical participation during development phases.

Following the conference Proforest hosted a two-day workshop of invited experts which generated suggestions for good practice in convening or participating in multi-stakeholder initiatives. These included questions to ask at start-up, tips for effective negotiation and how to continue working with stakeholders once the initial consultations are over.  A practical guide to MSPs is being written using outputs from this workshop. Proforest associate director Dawn Robinson commented on the task ahead: ‘this is a great opportunity produce a guide that unites best practice in multi-stakeholder processes with tangible experience from real-life initiatives around the world.  The guide will contain case studies and practical tips.’

  • For more information on this or the practical guide, please contact Anna Cura at
Published 02.10.2010