4. Ensuring efficient stakeholder engagement

To be effective, international instruments must tap into a broad range of evidence and expertise. To be trusted, implemented, and complied with, international instruments need to appeal to a wider range of constituencies than the traditional membership of IOs. Reaching out beyond IO constituencies to those concerned by their normative activity is crucial to strengthen ownership of international instruments and improve implementation. Stakeholder engagement provides a practical vehicle to progress toward these objectives and enhance the quality of international instruments, and is therefore recognised as an increasing priority for international organisations. Indeed, all IOs now engage with stakeholders, though to varying degrees (OECD, 2019[1]).

In practice, however many IOs continue to face significant challenges in engaging with relevant stakeholders in a meaningful and inclusive manner, and reconciling transparency and effectiveness of discussions in the development of international instruments. Stakeholder engagement can be resource intensive, and IO staff may encounter difficulties in investing the necessary time and human capital. Stakeholder engagement of a broad audience, requires literacy and awareness of certain topics and processes among those concerned. Because of their indirect involvement with citizens, it may be particularly difficult for IOs to engage with less experienced or marginalised stakeholders. Like in domestic rulemaking, there is a risk of capture of the engagement process by those who have sufficient resources to exert influence.

This section of the Compendium aims to help IOs overcome these challenges and make stakeholder engagement an integral part of the international rulemaking process. To this end, it provides a wide-ranging account of the variety of actors involved and mechanisms used to facilitate stakeholder engagement. The common risks and challenges faced by international organisations are outlined, to assist in their effective management and enable IOs to fully unlock the benefits of engagement. While the primary inputs for this section are the practical experiences of the IO Partnership, the section is also informed by OECD work and principles on stakeholder engagement following the 2012 OECD Recommendation on Regulatory Policy and Governance [OECD/LEGAL/0390].

In the face of varying perceptions vis-à-vis globalisation and the international rules-based system, transparent, evidence-based and inclusive international rulemaking is recognised as increasingly critical. By engaging with their stakeholders, IOs can build trust in the rulemaking process and improve the quality of their instruments.

Stakeholder engagement is important from both a principled and practical perspective (OECD, 2017[2]). The principled dimension views stakeholder engagement as a core element of good governance, and a fundamental determinant of public trust, process legitimacy, and rule credibility. The practical dimension focuses on the role of stakeholder engagement in enhancing the quality of rulemaking, by allowing IOs to tap into a broader and more diverse range of inputs, broadening the evidence base underpinning international instruments, and increasing IOs’ responsiveness to the needs of those affected by their activities. Through their contributions, stakeholders can provide vital support to the implementation of an IO’s mandate and programme of work. The extent to which these benefits are realised depends on the practical management of the stakeholder engagement process by IOs.

Stakeholder engagement provides a central pillar of transparency and inclusive governance. Greater openness to stakeholder inputs can foster a sense of ownership, confidence and trust in the processes and results of rulemaking among affected parties (OECD, 2018[3]). However, the mere openness to stakeholders is insufficient to attaining these goals. A number of procedural prerequisites are important to ensure an effective dialogue. In particular, the adoption of a whole-of-organisation stakeholder engagement policy, the provision of clear and timely information regarding the opportunity to engage, the setting of appropriate expectations and procedures regarding the nature of engagement (e.g. ICN Operational Framework), and the justification of decisions to incorporate or depart from the inputs received (e.g. IOSCO Consultation Policy and Procedure) offer essential building blocks for dynamic engagement between IOs and stakeholders. The more systematic application of these procedural guarantees across IOs can build stronger incentives for stakeholders to engage more actively in international rulemaking processes and avoid consultation fatigue, knowing that their voice will be heard. Ultimately, this is key to expand the evidence base underpinning international rulemaking processes and cultivate a greater culture of transparency and inclusiveness.

Stakeholder engagement can expand the evidence base underpinning international rulemaking processes. In practice, this is facilitated through the establishment of advisory groups and expert committees, which allow IOs to tap into specialised knowledge and technical expertise. IOs also grant official status to other IOs (see Chapter 5) and non-governmental organisations, to enable them to participate in meetings and share relevant experiences. Engagement with those tasked with applying international instruments can raise awareness regarding the practical aspects of implementation, and alert IOs to challenges unforeseen during the development of rules (see Chapter 2). In some cases, the opening of stakeholder engagement processes to the wider public can help IOs to capture a diverse range of insights, some of which may be unanticipated. Beyond expanding the evidence base, engagement of various domestic stakeholders and other international organisations is likely to foster knowledge transfer, which in turn should promote greater coherence between domestic and international rulemaking processes.

This section canvasses the composition of actors involved in stakeholder engagement by IOs, as well as the various mechanisms through which this process occurs. This systematic overview draws upon the categories developed in the Brochure (OECD, 2019[1]), and provide the foundation for a strategic approach to stakeholder engagement based on the key principles outlined in the following section.

It highlights the core challenges and risks of stakeholder engagement, which must be effectively managed to ensure the realisation of its benefits. These involve, inter alia, the possibility of capture; uneven distributions of participation literacy, access, and capacity to meaningfully take part in engagement processes; the difficulty of ensuring the applicability of stakeholder contributions; applying appropriate minimum standards for the evidence submitted; and adequately identifying and managing potential conflicts of interest and other risks related to the engagement.

Results from the 2018 Survey show that the concept of “stakeholders” is broad and highly IO-specific (OECD, 2019[1]). To account for this diversity, a multi-layered classification is required (Figure 4.1), By considering the main traits of the organisations included in such a diverse classification, stakeholders may be grouped into three broad categories: i) governmental actors; ii) commercial actors; and iii) non-commercial actors, while at the same noting that such broad categories could be entangled and present hybrid elements.

Stakeholder engagement encompasses an extensive range of practices, from the dissemination of information and solicitation of consultation to participatory collaboration, coproduction, co-decision and partnership. This section highlights the various procedures and modalities used to obtain inputs from stakeholders, and identifies the stage of the international rulemaking process at which stakeholders are engaged.

  • Opportunity to be consulted on proposed instruments – includes a range of formal and informal modes of facilitating stakeholder contributions to specific instruments, generally proceeding according to a designated timeline, accompanied by the provision of information regarding the relevant international instrument, outlining the nature of participation, and providing feedback on the receipt/content of comments received.

  • Invitations to participate in instrument development – involving different types of stakeholders actively in formal or informal consultations to respect diversity of stakeholders and different points of view and directly in the design of international instruments, generally in cases where the relevant competencies are shared (see Chapter 1).

  • Invitations to participate in the dissemination and implementation of instruments – enlisting stakeholders in the delivery of international instruments, which may be facilitated through formal mechanisms or on an ad-hoc basis (see Chapter 2).

  • Invitations to participate in the monitoring of use and evaluation of instruments – engaging stakeholders in the monitoring and evaluation of international instruments, to leverage their technical expertise and/or practical experiences regarding these instruments (see Chapter 3). Encouraging dialogue between IOs and stakeholders on implementation results can help to identify structural issues in the development of international instruments that could be improved.

  • Official status enabling regular inputs from stakeholder groups – formalised processes of engagement with a variety of designated stakeholders, selected on the basis of particular interests, experience and/or expertise in the subject matter covered.

  • Invitations to participate in governing body meetings – the possibility for stakeholders to participate in work of IOs at a more strategic level through either standing or occasional invitations to the meetings of IO governing bodies.

  • Expert processes facilitating technical inputs from stakeholders, such as advisory groups or expert committees – involves engagement throughout both the development and delivery of international instruments with a selected group of experts, practitioners, implementers, and/or those concerned by international instruments, particularly to provide technical evidence.

  • Specific processes that allow engagement of wider audiences, offering in particular the opportunity for the general public to comment on proposed instruments – engaging the broadest possible range of stakeholders, generally according to a structured template for engagement.

This section highlights the key principles and steps that IOs may consider in engaging stakeholders. It builds on best practices and principles for engagement from across the IO Partnership and the OECD Best Practice Principles for Stakeholder Engagement (OECD, 2017[4]),while also bearing in mind the differences in nature, purpose and mandate between various nature of IOs and the implications that this may have for stakeholder engagement. The list of key principles suggested below is therefore not intended as an exhaustive account.

Some of these principles pertain to the need for a systemic whole-of-organisation approach; and some apply at the instrument level. At the organisational level, the adoption of a comprehensive framework for stakeholder engagement and the systematic application of a number of core stakeholder procedures would enhance the effectiveness of the international instruments and ensure the alignment between engagement processes and organisational objectives. At the level of the instrument, the adoption of consistent timing practices, facilitation of clear and detailed communication with those engaged, and systematic identification and selection of stakeholders would maximise the quality and applicability of stakeholder contributions.

For successful stakeholder engagement to take place, IOs need to plan and act strategically. A clear and comprehensive approach identifying when, how and to what extent consultations with relevant stakeholders on the development of international instruments will take place is an important basis to ensure effective stakeholder engagement by IOs. A whole-of-organisation approach to stakeholder engagement will serve to enhance inclusiveness and buy-in for international instruments. The format, content and development process of this strategy will depend on each IO’s nature, mandate and governance processes.

A strategic approach offers the opportunity to set clear objectives for stakeholder engagement, and provide stakeholders with enough information to participate in a transparent, uniformly applied, and accountable process. More broadly, the objectives of the strategic approach could reflect inter alia the instrumental value of stakeholder engagement to advance the organisation’s mandate, and the support such engagement may provide to facilitate the implementation of instruments by fostering ownership across a wide range of stakeholders. These objectives may also support intrinsic values, such as ensuring accountability, and building capacity and trust in the international rules-based system. Finally, this approach may also seek to align views among stakeholders who have diverging interests and priorities, in order to build consensus on common outcomes. Any stakeholder engagement activity should be consistent with the organisation’s mandate, as defined in its constituent document(s), priorities and programme of work. This should also be respectful of the nature of the organisation concerned, including its decision-making processes and authorities.

In addition, a comprehensive approach involves the adoption of transparent processes and mechanisms to establish understanding of stakeholder engagement across the organisation and to allow for uniformity of the process and harmonisation with other practices relevant to the subject matter. These are helpful for all IO staff and members involved in the rulemaking process, and provide clear benchmarks to all parties involved regarding the added value of the consultations conducted.

At the same time, it is important that the stakeholder engagement approach and guiding principles include consultations and maintain some flexibility to be used in different circumstances. Additional tailored tools and instruments may be needed for different types of stakeholder engagement. Overall, to use resources effectively, the stakeholder engagement activities conducted by IOs need to be proportionate to the significance and impact of international instruments under discussion.

To support IO staff in the implementation of the stakeholder engagement strategy, and ensure the quality of the engagement practices and their continued relevance, the approach adopted may provide opportunities to set up a mechanism to monitor and oversee the stakeholder engagement practices of the organisation. Options in this regard may include tasking specific units and bodies within the IO itself to perform this function.

Given the global reach of stakeholders that are potentially interested in contributing to international instruments and the broad range of public and private actors that may provide valuable insights, IOs are encouraged to identify, keep track of and reach out to relevant stakeholders depending on their nature, purpose and mandate as well as the relevant type of engagement.

An important element of reaching out to stakeholders is to identify the relevant stakeholders and keep track of their areas of work and expertise. In practice, IOs can map stakeholders according to type, mandate, function, expertise, interest and responsibilities, and keep a database of this information readily available to facilitate engagement. Such a mapping exercise will also be helpful for IOs to ensure inclusiveness and reach out to stakeholders less represented in the international rulemaking process.

Establishing clear and objective criteria informing the selection of stakeholders would further guarantee that all stakeholders are engaged in a transparent manner and without prejudice. Thes criteria may include, for example, demonstrating documented expertise in the technical area concerned and the added value that the stakeholders may bring to meaningfully support the work of the IO within its field of competence. The protection of the IO’s integrity, reputation and mandate are key considerations to be taken into account when selecting stakeholders with which to engage. This involves adequately managing potential risks, including but not limited to conflicts of interest and avoiding any undue influence in its rulemaking processes.

Stakeholder engagement is a fundamental building block for the transparency and accountability of the international rulemaking process and, as such, the specifics of the engagement procedures followed require transparency, accountability and uniformity.

To ensure well-established and consistent stakeholder engagement, IOs may define the methods, tools and structure of the engagement process. These can be aligned with the general objectives, principles and standards included in the organisation-wide strategy. This will allow for those conducting the engagement to prepare and apply the processes set for the engagement, and for the interested stakeholders to understand the process they will participate in. Within this general framework, IOs may tap into a variety of practices to engage stakeholders, from the dissemination of information and solicitation of consultation to participatory collaboration, co-development of documents and partnership. These intervene at different stages of the process of international rulemaking and may be complementary. A central overview of which practices are available and applicable within the IO may guide staff decision on best practices to consider when undertaking stakeholder engagement for specific instruments.

Digital tools can be helpful for IOs to facilitate participation of stakeholders at a global level, ensuring broader participation while requiring limited resources logistically and for those participating. For instance, central consultation web-portals, referencing ongoing and upcoming engagement processes within an IO can help stakeholders to keep up with any consultations relevant to them. These portals are most helpful when made as user-friendly as possible, and enabling for example the sorting of ongoing projects according to the thematic area and setting up personalised alerts for new consultations. In addition, IOs may find it useful for the portal to enable an interactive exchange of informed-opinions among stakeholders and the IO (for instance through “discussion spaces”). Nevertheless, information and communications technologies (ICTs) should be considered in conjunction with other forms of participation to encourage more inclusive approaches for communicating with the public.

To ensure the transparency and accountability of the results of the stakeholders’ engagement, IOs may also provide feedback regarding the receipt and handling of the contributions received. This should, include the role that such contributions have played vis-à-vis the development of the concerned instrument, either individually or in a synthesised report, depending on the modalities set for the engagement. Such feedback would contribute to build public confidence in the value of the consultation process and enhance the rationale for the final adopted instrument.

Along with adopting a strategic vision, identifying the appropriate stakeholders for a particular subject matter, and defining relevant tools for participation, deciding on the timing for consultations is essential in ensuring the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement. Consideration should be given to the IO rulemaking process and the flexibility for modifications, as well as the necessary time that stakeholders may need to react. IOs may choose to issue early notificiations of upcoming consultations and initiate the consultation taking into account the subsequent steps of the rulemaking process, and the additional necessary period needed to consider stakeholder inputs and advance toward the finalisation of international instruments.

Ultimately, whatever the purpose of the engagement, whichever the modalities followed, whoever the stakeholders consulted, clear, effective and detailed communications about each individual consultation with stakeholders are key for an effective two-way process.

Clear, effective and detailed dialogue starts with informing the concerned stakeholders about the possibility and eligibility of participating in the dialogue. IOs may want to start by notifying relevant stakeholders of the opportunity to engage, through the appropriate means including the use of digital communication technologies, or whichever communications tools are used by each IO to engage with their constituency and beyond.

Clear, effective and detailed communication then entails providing relevant information about the process, the conditions for participation and the subject of engagement. As such, each consultation follows specific objectives and modalities. The units conducting the consultation are, therefore, encouraged to outline the core objectives of their stakeholder engagement process and how it aims to contribute to improving the quality and impact of the international instrument under development.

The nature of engagement should, in principle, be adapted to these objectives and fit under the broad range of stakeholder engagement practices available within the organisation. The units responsible for conducting the engagement can clarify the nature of the process and the concrete roles, responsibilities and expectations that the specific process involves for the stakeholders engaged.

To maximise the quality of the feedback received from stakeholders, consulting IO units are encouraged, to the extent possible, to provide relevant stakeholders with the most relevant and timely information available about the proposed instrument itself. In case of a proposal or draft instrument under consideration, this may include background analysis, expert papers, and descriptions of the challenges the instrument aims to address. If relevant and available, information on possible alternative solutions and approaches followed in other international, regional or national for a can also be shared. IOs may find it useful to outline specific questions for the stakeholders engaged, to guide the consultation process.

In a context of growing uncertainty with regard to globalisation, inclusive international governance is increasingly perceived as crucial to encourage the implementation of rules and enhance trust in the international rule-based system. Stakeholder engagement is of cenral importance to promote trust and transparency in international rulemaking, following a similar trend at the domestic level in recent years (Alemanno, 2015[5]) (OECD, 2017[4]).

All IOs engage stakeholders to ensure the quality of their instruments, although to varying degrees (OECD, 2016[6]) (OECD, 2019[1]). They are increasingly opening their rulemaking processes beyond their usual constituency, by enlarging and diversifying their membership or through more systematic consultation practices with members and other non-member entities. The stronger engagement of stakeholders coincides with shifting membership structures of IOs, and a tendency to enlarge constituency beyond usual membership (OECD, 2016[6]).

There is no international agreement on the concept of “stakeholders”, which is broadly-conceived and highly IO-specific. Of the IOs surveyed in 2018, only 12 reported establishing some sort of understanding of stakeholders, for the purposes of their rulemaking activities, for instance listing their characteristics or their relation and relevance to their organisation (Box 4.1) (OECD, 2019[1]).

Nevertheless, three main and non-mutually exclusive approaches to stakeholders emerge from this exercise, which reflect their relation with IOs’ normative or rulemaking activities (when appropriate) (OECD, 2019[1]):

  • Those not having decision-making power, i.e. observers

  • Interested parties / members / IGOs or associations with specific interests in the work of the IO

  • Entities attending in an advisory capacity

The nature and governance arrangements of IOs influence their understanding of stakeholders, and the composition of those engaged in the international rulemaking process. Private standard-setters involve business representatives and civil society more than the rest of IOs. Intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) have a more homogeneous approach to stakeholders, as going beyond government representation. In this perspective, stakeholder engagement entails engaging those that are not involved in the formal governance and decision-making processes of the IGO. In certain cases, this also means seeking expert advice on scientific and technical matters from international independent experts, so that the best available knowledge and experience can be taken into account during the decision-making process. Even this requires specific modalities and conditions as a number of IGOs seek to complement decision-making processes considered challenging to fully engage their members (OECD, 2016[6]).

De facto, a wide range of public and private actors are reported as stakeholders, ranging from government representatives, private sector actors, and NGOs among others. Representatives of other intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) represent the most significant actor engaged with by IOs in their rulemaking activities (35 respondents) (see Chapter 5), followed closely by international non-governmental organisations (33 respondents). International business associations are the private sector actors most engaged with by IOs (31 respondents). Just over half of respondents reach out to individual consumers and consumer organisations (19 respondents) (OECD, 2016[6]) (OECD, 2019[1]).

A range of new actors have emerged in global governance, producing a shift from multilateral governance to “multistakeholder governance”. Both the recent rise and loose, decentralised structure of transgovernmental networks of regulators (TGNs) serves as a testament to this trend (Abbott, Kauffmann and Lee, 2018[9]). Many IOs have enshrined stakeholder engagement in their membership by enabling “decisional” participation for the various members of society that are affected by their activities (OECD, 2016[6]) (Box 4.2).

In response to changes in global governance, IGOs have sought to expand their membership – geographically and/or in their nature – through other forms of participation, such as partial membership (which generally remains a state status); observership or stakeholder engagement. This has allowed non-state actors to contribute to the process of international rulemaking. These different forms of participation offer additional channels to engage more actively with developing countries, in line with the trends observed in the specific fields of global financial and health governance institutions (Pauwelyn et al., 2018[10]). As the world has become increasingly interconnected and economic and political centres of gravity have evolved, IOs have considered that their continued relevance and the quality of their rulemaking is a function of their capacity to involve a wider range of actors in their activities. This illustrates a broader transition beyond the strictly legal perspective regarding member or non-member rights (OECD, 2016[6]).

A large majority of IOs have put in place mechanisms to collect inputs and feedback from stakeholders on their rulemaking and international regulatory co-operation (IRC) activities (OECD, 2016[6]). This type of stakeholder participation can be both general and specific, but remains non-decisional.

Most IOs have set up specific standing bodies or processes to engage stakeholders at key points in the development of their instruments. Stakeholder engagement practices mainly take place in substantive committees and working groups, and much less in governing bodies. In the overwhelming majority of cases (47 respondents to the 2015 IO Survey), IOs receive comments from specific stakeholder groups (OECD, 2016[6]). This trend reflects what can be observed in domestic contexts (OECD, 2015[14]). IOs frequently manage which stakeholder groups are allowed to comment, by issuing targeted invitations to particular groups (44 IOs) (OECD, 2016[6]).

To ensure that relevant stakeholders are engaged with and support the reception of effective inputs, IOs often grant certain stakeholders official status in the organisation or enable them to serve on specific advisory committees (two thirds of respondents to 2015 IO Survey) (Box 4.2). The granting of this status allows stakeholders to participate systematically in the meetings of IO bodies and obtain detailed information on the decision-making process and rules developed. As a result, the stakeholders have the opportunity to participate actively on specific issues. However, it does not grant stakeholders the right to vote in meetings, and therefore maintains a distinction with the rights of members.

Overall, external stakeholders are mainly engaged in the technical, upstream phases of the work. They are often sought to make contributions on data collection, to offer advice or technical expertise, to participate in research activities and policy analysis, and to support the adoption of international instruments. In addition, stakeholders are often invited to provide financial or in-kind contributions to IOs’ activities (OECD, 2016[6]) (OECD, 2019[1]). The specific mechanisms used to engage stakeholders and the intensity at which engagement is pursued vary according to the type of actvity undertaken by Ios (OECD, 2016[6]).

Despite increasing efforts to provide stakeholders an opportunity to participate, IOs still face constraints in setting up reforms for “good participation” that entail removal of barriers to involvement and managing risks such as conflict of interest and undue influence.

Challenges of stakeholder engagement around national rulemaking may be amplified at international level. At the domestic level, stakeholder engagement is perceived as resource intensive, requiring significant time and human capital (Alemanno, 2015[5]). In the absence of a specific mandate to conduct stakeholder engagement, IO secretariats may face difficulties investing sufficient resources in consultation. In this sense, IOs may be still more limited in their ability to reach less-experienced or marginalised stakeholders, although it remains to be seen whether IOs with a strong presence at country level face the same challenges.

The 2018 IO Survey illustrates that the major challenges IOs perceive in engaging stakeholders involve managing existing or potential conflicts of interest, avoiding undue or improper influence on the organisation’s work, reaching out to unaware or under-represented stakeholders, and engaging effectively with marginalised stakeholders (OECD, 2019[1]).

Despite the undeniable efforts of a large majority of IOs to engage more systematically with stakeholders, their practices in terms of mechanisms, openness and frequency of consultation vary widely from one organisation to another and occasionally across departments, programmes and bodies within individual IOs. This makes it difficult to provide a global view. Many efforts can be identified across IOs to lay down stakeholder engagement practices, but these are most often focused on specific stakeholder groups, most often from the private sector, or relate to selected parts of their respective work-streams (Box 4.4).

The adoption of a clear, whole-of-organisation stakeholder engagement policy remains the exception among IOs. Except for a couple of IOs responding to the 2018 IO Survey, there is no set of minimum standards that determine a consistent vision of the purpose, ways and timing of stakeholder engagement (OECD, 2019[1]). As a consequence, stakeholder engagement is rarely undertaken strategically and systematically with clear timelines, phases, mechanisms, and systematic feedback.

IOs are pursuing a variety of initiatives to ensure that their engagement with stakeholders is effective and offers meaningful inputs to their rulemaking activities. For instance, a majority of IOs responding to the 2018 Survey provide a minimum period for feedback. In addition, specific efforts are being undertaken to reach out to more interest groups and to ensure that stakeholders are also consulted without prejudice to their status or resources. To this end, a large share of IOs make available relevant and timely information about the subject of consultations, proactively build a relationship with stakeholders over time, or provide information in a clear language, easy to understand (OECD, 2019[1]).

Despite its recognised importance, few IOs have developed a whole of organisation policy or strategy for stakeholder engagement to date, mapping their stakeholders and defining objectives and key steps to engage them and manage risks. They mostly rely on provisions in founding or procedural documents highlighting its importance, rather than a framework of systematic practices and tools. There are exceptions to this broad feature. Certain IOs, such as the WHO, have a more systematic approach to stakeholder engagement (OECD, 2016[24]). Without going that far, many IOs have taken pragmatic steps to structure their engagement with other IOs and establish principles applying to observers or specific groups, such as those in the private sector (Box 4.5) (see Chapter 5).

Beyond a comprehensive policy, some IOs have developed concrete guidance to support IO secretariat staff and rulemaking bodies in engaging effectively with stakeholders.

Policies and guidance documents are in certain cases complemented – or substituted – by a dedicated body in charge of overseeing stakeholder engagement throughout the Organisation (Box 4.6). Six respondents to the 2018 IO Survey indicate having some sort of oversight mechanism of their Organisation’s stakeholder engagement activities. Beyond formal oversight, 19 indicate having some informal co-ordination mechanism or practice group in place that brings together staff members working on stakeholder engagement (OECD, 2019[1]).

Some organisations request partner entities and stakeholders to appoint liaison officers to have single contact points for engaging in their organisations’ work, to channel the inputs received and potentially help reduce the resource needed to process comments and contributions (Box 4.7).

The risk remains that progress in engaging stakeholders stays limited until further understanding on the impacts of stakeholder engagement practices is gathered. Only a few IOs evaluate their stakeholder engagement efforts as is recommended at the national level, with only eight IOs responding to the IO 2018 Survey having in place a formal mechanism to track and measure the impact of stakeholder engagement on the organisation’s work (Box 4.8).

More broadly, the allocation of roles and responsibilities between IOs and their respective members is of central importance, and building greater connection between the two levels is an area to be further explored. Members are closer to the field where international rules apply, and consequently closer to the evidence and lessons learned needed for good rulemaking as well as the stakeholders affected by these rules. They have a critical role to play in sharing information and identifying relevant stakeholders. Through their own open-government and stakeholder engagement practices, they also have processes in place to inform and engage stakeholders in rulemaking that could form a relevant channel for international norms. However, stakeholder engagement in international rulemaking is largely disconnected from their engagement at the domestic level so far (OECD, 2018[3]).


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