Policy Delivery

Stakeholder Response Mechanisms

Additional Resources



UNDP ensures meaningful, effective and informed participation of stakeholders1 in the formulation and implementation of UNDP programmes and projects. Stakeholder engagement is an ongoing process that may involve, to varying degrees, the following elements: stakeholder analysis and planning, disclosure and dissemination of information, consultation and meaningful participation, dispute resolution and grievance redress, ongoing reporting to affected communities and stakeholders, and inclusion of stakeholders in monitoring and evaluation. Stakeholder analysis and engagement is conducted in a gender-responsive, culturally sensitive, non-discriminatory and inclusive manner, ensuring that potentially affected vulnerable and marginalized groups are identified and provided opportunities to participate.2 Measures are undertaken to ensure that effective stakeholder engagement occurs where conditions for inclusive participation are unfavourable.

Meaningful, effective and informed stakeholder engagement and participation is undertaken that seeks to build and maintain over time a constructive relationship with stakeholders, with the purpose of avoiding or mitigating any potential risks in a timely manner. The scale and frequency of the engagement reflects the nature of the activity, the magnitude of potential risks and adverse impacts, and concerns raised by affected communities. ​

Meaningful, effective and informed consultation processes in UNDP programmes and projects seeks to identify priorities of stakeholders and provides them with opportunities to express their views at all points in the programme and/or project decision-making process on matters that affect them and allows the programme and/or project teams to consider and respond to them. Meaningful, effective and informed consultation processes will be free of charge and possess the following characteristics:

  • Free of external manipulation, interference, coercion, and intimidation.
  • Gender and age-inclusive and responsive.
  • Culturally appropriate and tailored to the language and accessibility preferences and decision-making processes of each identified stakeholder group, including disadvantaged or marginalized groups. Where applicable, includes differentiated measures to allow effective participation of disadvantaged or vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities.
  • Based on prior and timely disclosure of accessible, understandable, relevant and adequate information, including draft documents and plans.
  • Initiated early in the programme and/or project design process, continued iteratively throughout the programme and project life cycle, and adjusted as risks and impacts arise.
  • Addresses social and environmental risks and adverse impacts, and the proposed measures and actions to address these.
  • Seeks to empower stakeholders, particularly marginalized groups, and enable the incorporation of all relevant views of affected people and other stakeholders into decision-making processes, such as project goals and design, mitigation measures, the sharing of development benefits and opportunities, and implementation issues.
  • Documented and reported in accessible form to participants, in particular the measures taken to avoid or minimize risks to and adverse impacts on the project stakeholders.
  • Consistent with the States' duties and obligations under international law.

​Stakeholder engagement plans are developed for all programmes and projects, scaled to reflect the nature of the activity and its potential impacts (e.g. from relatively simple measures for programmes/or projects with few if any social and environmental risks to comprehensive plans for High Risk activities with potentially significant adverse risks and impacts).

For projects that may affect the rights and interests, lands, resources, territories and/or traditional livelihoods of indigenous peoples, free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) will be ensured (see also Standard 6: Indigenous Peoples).

Stakeholders who may be adversely affected by a UNDP project can communicate their concerns about the social and environmental performance of the project through various entry points, scaled appropriately to the nature of the activity and its potential risks and impacts. Potentially affected stakeholders are informed about available entry points for submitting their concerns as part of the stakeholder engagement process. ​

When necessary, an effective project-level grievance redress mechanism is made available. The mandate and functions of a project-level grievance redress mechanism could be executed by the Project Board3 or through an implementing partner's existing grievance redress mechanisms or procedures for addressing stakeholder concerns. Where needed, UNDP and implementing partners will strengthen the implementing partners' capacities to address project-related grievances.

In addition, UNDP's Stakeholder Response Mechanism is available to project stakeholders as a supplemental means of redress for concerns that have not been resolved through standard project management procedures.4

Project-level grievance redress mechanisms and UNDP's Stakeholder Response Mechanism address concerns promptly through dialogue and engagement, using an understandable and transparent process that is culturally appropriate, rights-compatible, and readily accessible to all stakeholders at no cost and without retribution. They are gender- and age-inclusive and responsive and address potential access barriers to women, the elderly, persons with disabilities, youth and other potentially marginalized groups as appropriate to the project. These grievance mechanisms and Stakeholder Response Mechanism do not impede access to judicial or administrative remedies as may be relevant or applicable.

​UNDP seeks to identify, reduce and address the risk of retaliation and reprisals against people who may seek information on and participation in project activities, express concerns and/or access project-level grievance redress processes/mechanisms or UNDPs Stakeholder Response Mechanism or Social and Environmental Compliance Unit.


Footnotes: ​

​(1) “Stakeholder” refers to individuals or groups or organizations representing them who (a) are affected by the project  and (b) may have an interest in the project. ​​

(2) Vulnerability may be compounded due to discrimination on prohibited grounds including race, ethnicity, sex, age, language, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, political or other opinion, national or social or geographical origin, property, birth or other status including as an indigenous person or as a member of a minority.

​(3) Noting that UNDP's programme and Operations Policies and Procedures (POPP) states that the Project Board "… arbitrates on any conflicts within the [P]roject or negotiates a solution to any problems between the [P]rojects and external bodies." Project Boards can play this role in both National Implementation and Direct Implementation contexts.

​(4) See UNDP's Stakeholder Response Mechanism: Overview and Guidance. The focal point for the Stakeholder Response Mechanism will not bear direct project management responsibilities for the relevant project.