Multi-actor initiatives in action: Lessons from the Sustainable Diets for All programme
This paper (PDF) by Hivos and IIED aims to strengthen the understanding of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MAIs) by showing what works and what does not, based on three MAIs that have come about through the Sustainable Diets for All programme, and also provides actionable recommendations for people designing MAIs. MAIs can serve to connect the various actors of the food system and bring about transformation. Each case briefly describes the MAI and how it works, and summarises the main outcomes and lessons. The programe has seen that inviting stakeholders such as decision makers and citizens to engage in these initiatives together encourages a deeper understanding of other perspectives and interests. And when decision makers take on challenges alongside other stakeholders, desired advocacy changes in agenda setting, policy making and practices are often achieved. In general, the case studies analysed in this report have shown the added value of MAIs in addressing food system problems. The complex nature of food systems, with their many moving parts and multiple actors, requires an approach that brings this diversity of views together in a meaningful and productive way. When designed to be flexible and to factor in learning moments and adjustments, and to consciously engage with stakeholders throughout every phase of the process, a MAI can be a useful approach for improving food systems. The paper concludes with a series of general recommendations drawn from these case studies: 1) Work flexibility into the process; 2) Clarify what you aim to change, define a desired change process, and monitor progress; 3) Be inclusive; 4) Conduct a stakeholder analysis; 5) Ensure strong facilitation; 6) Focus on everyday issues and discuss them in the local language; 6) Invest for the long term; 7) Understand people’s realities better; 8) Indentify the impact of strategies.