We encourage diversity of participation in dialogues, to widen the circles of engagement and to enable all to have opportunities to engage.

Fostering Dialogue and Collaborative Actions

For many years, we have advocated for and supported multi-stakeholder dialogue as a valuable approach for engaging actors to resolve complex challenges and accelerate systems transformations. Our experience has been that dialogues offer opportunities to explore specific issues in discrete situations to help co-create meaningful narratives with shared direction; to develop transformation pathways and accompany transformation processes; to help maintain functioning interfaces between different, sometimes competing institutions, sectors, and disciplines, and to coordinate collective responses to challenges, threats and opportunities.

Our approach to designing, curating, facilitating and mentoring collaborative processes and sharing know-how on dialogues is adapted to partners’ needs with an emphasis on creating space for dialogues to be locally owned and situation-specific. We encourage diversity of participation in dialogues, to widen the circles of engagement and to enable all to have opportunities to engage despite asymmetries in their relative power, positions and expertise. This means carefully designing dialogue events and processes that encourage dialogue participants to actively listen to, and explore synergies, and options for value-adding, collective action with those who they do not normally have the opportunity to meet.

  • Defining the objectives of the dialogue process
  • Developing a preliminary wireframe and timeline of key elements
  • Support in socialisation with key partners Preparation for the next phase.
  • Preparation for the next phase.

Short-term but high-impact activities related to dialogues include:

  • Curation and facilitation of a dialogue event by David Nabarro and/or other experienced 4SD dialogue curator/facilitator.
  • Training for key roles to prepare and run a dialogue event (convenor, curator, facilitator).
  • Accompaniment of a synthesis from a dialogue process – pointing at strategic inputs and ways to identify shifts and innovations surfaced by the dialogues.

Core Principles of our Dialogues

  • Be Respectful

    Respect for one another is a foundation for genuine dialogue. Participants in the dialogues are expected to listen to each other and be open to the co-existence of divergent points of view.

  • Recognise Complexity

    Dialogues promote a systemic approach by involving multiple stakeholders to identify actions across the system together with potential synergies and trade-offs.

  • Embrace Multi-stakeholder Inclusivity

    Dialogues are inclusive and strive to showcase as many voices as possible, capturing diverse cultural, professional and gender specific perspectives.

  • Complement the Work of Others

    Dialogues build-on and add-value to existing policy processes and initiatives.

  • Build Trust

    Dialogues are curated and facilitated in a way which creates a “safe space” and promotes trust, encouraging mutual respect. The conclusions emerging from dialogues are not attributed to single individuals.

Our objectives

We endeavour to work with partners on dialogue processes that facilitate highly inclusive and participatory conversation and debate, amongst groups of diverse participants who would not usually have the chance to interact. We encourage dialogues that enable the surfacing of tensions in a managed way, equipping those leading dialogue events with skills needed to feel comfortable with navigating dissent, and helping participants find ways to move forward together, articulated in a shared and collectively-owned pathway – a pathway that sets out priorities for action, and means of implementation.

Related links

Since 2018, 4SD has advocated for, and supported the use of, multi-stakeholder dialogues in relation to our work on Food Systems Transformation to build consensus around and encourage convergence on options for advancing changes in food systems. Dialogues have then become an important element in our partnerships with with the UN Food Systems Summit and with the Food Systems for the Future Institute.

Learn more about the partnerships and Food Systems Transformation

Visit the sites dedicated to Dialogue processes

Partner with Us

To partner with us on efforts related to dialogues for collaborative action, reach out to us via the contact page and we will come back to you asap!

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