News & Press: United Nations

UNESCAP and IAP2 - working together to strengthen engagement and advance the practice

Wednesday, March 7, 2018  
Share |


IAP2 is delighted to be partnering with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) to build an Assessment and Planning Tool for Engagement (Tool).

This Tool will provide a suite of online resources, including tools and templates for assessing and planning engagement. It will contribute to organisations and countries that are working towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals; assess their capacity in community engagement; and will provide a replicable process for use by other organisations and countries.

Once the Tool is complete it will be published on-line and be made freely available as a resource to contribute to strengthening P2 practice around the world.

That’s exciting – how did this project come about?

This project has been slowly bubbling along for some time. It started in 2015, with IAP2 Ambassador and Trainer Joel Levin working with UNESCAP on a number of engagement projects. This identified the opportunity to create a partnership between IAP2 and UNESCAP, which was developed with Aldi Muhammad Alizar, Director of IAP2 International and Chair of IAP2 Indonesia.

In 2016 a partnership between UNESCAP and IAP2 was formalised to advance the practice of engagement and help us all work to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular build inclusive and engaging societies as part of these goals.

IAP2 International nominated Leanne Hartill, IAP2 Australasia and Aldi Muhammad Alizar, IAP2 Indonesia to build the relationship with UNESCAP, given our proximity to Thailand where the UNESCAP secretariat is based. This provided the opportunity to build a partnership with our neighbours, and to continue expanding IAP2’s international reach.

Then, in September 2017, at a UNESCAP ‘Expert Group meeting on Stakeholder Engagement”, in Bangkok, the participants, including representatives from IAP2, agreed there was a need to support nations to plan and assess the quality of their engagement with their communities. An initial draft Tool based on the IAP2 Quality Assurance Standard was created; the objectives scoped and the criteria for the design of a future tool was developed (aligned with the IAP2 Core Values).

What will the Tool be used for?

The Tool will be developed and refined with the guidance of experienced IAP2 practitioners (the P2 for 2030 Agenda Consultant team). They will work with three pilot countries (Sri Lanka, Laos PDF, Kiribati – and potentially Vietnam). They will support these countries as they prepare to deliver their Voluntary National Review (VNR) report to the High Level Political Forum in New York as part of the Sustainable Development Goals reporting process. The VNR report is a ‘state of the union’, an update on progress towards the priorities, implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Stakeholder engagement is a critical element of the VNR and the engagement processes that is developed for the VNR process is for their report and to strengthen mechanisms for the ongoing delivery of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The five experienced IAP2 practitioners acknowledged below, are working with UNESCAP to strengthen engagement in these countries.

What are the benefits for IAP2?

The opportunity to partner with UNESCAP to build the Tool, incorporating the IAP2 Quality Assurance Standard and the Core Values, and to support strengthening of P2 practice in the region, was embraced by IAP2 Australasian board. It supported the existing partnership between UNESCAP and IAP2 International established in 2016. The board has endorsed a contribution of AUD $45,000 to the project and it is also financially supported by UNESCAP.

This project builds the IAP2 brand through a global advocacy programme, one that might be replicated by IAP2 affiliates around the world.

In feedback we have received as we have been drafting our Strategic Plan you have said that you want to ‘influence the decision maker’. We believe that the UNESCAP alignment is one that you may be able to point to and it may give weight to the global trend and support for engagement.

Some also asked that we ‘Develop a strategic relationship with the United Nations to increase knowledge and understanding of Community Engagement’. There is a desire amongst our members to contribute to building the practice across the world.

It is exciting to be part of a project, one that involves some of our members now but we will be looking for opportunities for our members to be involved as volunteers moving forward.

Want to know more about UNESCAP and the 2030 Agenda?

You can check out more online:

Lastly, some acknowledgements

Being able to participate in a partnership with UNESCAP requires a range of experienced, wise and patient practitioners and advisers, who all contribute personal time to achieving the goals of the partnership.

IAP2 would like to acknowledge and thank

  • the UNESCAP team
    • Katinka Weinberger, PhD, Chief Environment and Development Policy Section, Environment and Development Division
    • Hitomi Rankine - Environmental Affairs Officer, Environment and Development Division
    • Arun Jacob, PhD - Environment Affairs Officer, Environment and Development Division
    • Subhi Shama – Environment and Development Division
  • the P2 for 2030 Agenda Consultant team
    • Joel Levin, IAP2 Trainer and Ambassador
    • Michelle Feenan, IAP2 Trainer and Ambassador
    • Helen Christiansen, IAP2 Trainer and Director
    • Martin De los Rios, IAP2 Trainer
    • Chris Mene, IAP2 Trainer
  • Leanne Hartill, IAP2 Director and IAP2 representative for NGO Major Groups – Organising Partners
  • Aldi Muhammad Alizar, Secretary of IAP2 International and Chair of IAP2 Indonesia Affiliate