- Stakeholder Consultation Documentation, stakeholder views integrated into the project design
The Stakeholder Engagement Plan guides stakeholders and the Project Team as to when, how and with whom consultations and exchanges should be undertaken throughout the life of the project. The Project Team will undertake a process of meaningful stakeholder consultation in a manner that provides stakeholders the opportunities to express their views on project design, risks, impacts and mitigation measures, and allows the Project Team to consider and respond to them. Consultation should be carried out on an ongoing basis as the nature of issues, impacts and opportunities evolves.
All efforts should be taken to work with the relevant stakeholders to design the engagement and consultation processes, including mechanisms of inclusiveness, respecting cultural sensitivities, and any required consent processes. Moreover, a general solicitation of feedback or input cannot be relied upon, nor accepted as the sole method of consultation. Stakeholder engagement may be minimal at certain times and intense at others depending on the issues and project phase. Targeted input from selected stakeholder groups may be needed at key points in project development and implementation.
If the project may involve indigenous people (IP) stakeholders, additional measures will be required to ensure their full and effective participation. If the project may affect IP rights and interests, lands, resources and territories, the FPIC process will need to be initiated early and respected throughout the project.
The aim of consultations is to inform the Project Team’s decisions, where appropriate. Not all stakeholder groups can agree on project activities, their impacts and mitigation, so the goal of engagement is not always to achieve consensus but to hear from stakeholder groups and to take their comments and concerns into account in making project decisions.
Careful documentation of stakeholder consultations can demonstrate to stakeholders that their input has been considered and incorporated into the project. Summary reports of each consultation should be produced, circulated to participants, and publicly disclosed in an accessible manner. Any commitments made to the stakeholders should be carefully recorded. In addition, stakeholders should be provided regular updates on the environment and social assessments and mitigation plans progress and modification to the project design.
Documentation of stakeholder engagement includes the following, as appropriate:
- Date and location of each meeting, with copy of the notification to stakeholders;
- The purpose of the engagements (e.g. to inform stakeholders of an intended project to gather their views on potential environmental and social impacts of an intended project);
- The form of engagement and consultation (e.g. face to face meetings, townhalls, workshops, focus groups, written consultations, etc);
- Number of participants and categories of participants;
- Summary of main points and concerns raised by stakeholders;
- Summary of how stakeholder concerns were responded to and taken into account, and;
- Issues and activities that require follow up actions, including clarifying how stakeholders are informed of decisions.