Practitioner’s Guide: A Rights-Based Approach to Participation

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)

The purpose of this Practitioner's Guide is to provide an analysis of how to best incorporate the right to active, free and meaningful participation in development. The Guide also includes several case studies and provide lessons learned on how to better incorporate the right to participation into human rights-based development.

The human rights concept of empowerment is not something done to people or given to people.  It is a participatory process that engages people in reflection, inquiry and action in order to understand the power they themselves have to influence and change their lives. For participation to be truly rights based, development agencies and other actors need to include local stakeholders in every facet of the development process, ensure they understand and have the capacity to make decisions about the project, and respect the right of the local population to deny a project.  Beyond being good practice, the concept of participation is firmly rooted in international law and results in more sustainable human development.

There are five major steps for development practitioners to incorporate participants according to a human rights based framework, and each of these are covered in detail within this Practitioner’s Guide.

View the full guide here.