Community Consultation, Sustainable Development and the Inter-American Development Bank. A Concept Paper
This paper presents a framework for discussing community consultation in the context of the Inter-American Development Bank’s projects. The paper also offers suggestions on the opportunities, risks, costs, methods, and techniques of community consultation. The paper is not intended as a manual or guideline, but rather as a stepping stone in the process of preparing sound guidelines and procedures for Bank staff, borrower agencies and stakeholders. After discussing some of the links between consultation, development, equity, civil society and the current IDB policy framework, the paper analyzes the terms “consultation,” “participation,” “community,” and “stakeholder,” in relation to each other and to the development process. It will discuss reasons for promoting community consultation and identify opportunities for doing so in the context of the project cycle. Even though the paper attempts to cover most basic concepts, the emphasis is on: (1) community consultation rather than the broader concept of community participation, consultation being a necessary precondition for effective participation; (2) consultation with communities targeted by Bank projects as opposed to all the stakeholders involved; and (3) consultation at the project design and execution level, rather than at the policy and country programming stage.