Consultations about the selection process should be led by an organisation or a group widely trusted by independent CSOs, or otherwise by an independent external party. In the US and Mexico, for instance, the government appointed the Consensus Building Institute to help civil society organise consultations on its selection process. The leading organisation, or group of organisations, should ensure adequate financial means, time and resources for a comprehensive consultation process – including sub-nationally – so the selection mechanism can be determined through extensive consultations of relevant stakeholders. In places such as the Philippines, Colombia and Mexico, local CSOs conducted targeted fundraising activities that allowed them to undertake outreach activities without government support. Bilateral donors are often open to funding this type of activity through their local embassies.
Initial consultation methods might include online platforms such as webinars, surveys and social media, provided that relevant stakeholders have access and feel comfortable engaging via these channels. Ideally, however, the consultation should include a series of face-to-face meetings to allow deeper trust to be built among members of the constituency and equip future representatives with greater legitimacy.
Involving a wide range of actors in this way enables the establishment of a cohesive group of interested parties from the beginning. As this can also require significant time, it is important for the lead organisation to agree realistic timelines with the government. It should also explain that ample consultations are essential to establish a transparent selection process that prevents concerns about bias or exclusion. This confirms representatives’ right to speak on behalf of a wider group and helps them negotiate effectively with government and business, enabling a productive dialogue in the long term.