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Coproduction of Public Action Program

Approach and key questions

Por Institut de recherche et débat sur la gouvernance - IRG




Neither governance’s chief actor, the state, nor even the public sector taken at its different levels, from the local to the international, any longer hold a monopoly on the production of public policy. Increasingly the populations, social organizations, economic actors contribute to public action by means of a range of mechanisms which include consultation, participation, negotiation, protest, control, etc., practices.

Over recent decades, predominantly as a result of social demands and of the evolution of institutional thinking on governance, multi-actors forums have come about with the aim to contribute to the devising, the implementation and the follow-up/evaluation of public policies.

The modalities of interaction between these diverse actors are evolving rapidly. They vary from one geographic context to the next, from sector to sector. They have become a key issue in the devising of effective and legitimate regulation in the framework of legitimate democratic governance.

A central theme for the IRG

The IRG has placed the identification and analysis of interaction processes between public institutions and non-state actors at the core of its aims and objectives. This has led to a range of activities on specific themes:

Non-state actors’ structuration and influence strategies, though means of advocacy or confrontation; seminars on international networks of non-state actors; and research on NGO strategies.

Multi-actors discussion forums and the co-production of public goods, such as international seminars (in Beijing and Charlottesville) and through a study on health policy governance.

The impact of discussion forums on public policies around a range of themes (health, education, conflict, corruption) in different geographic and political backgrounds (Africa, Latin America, Asia); capitalization works on several development projects (for the EU, the CFSI (French Committee for International Solidarity) etc.

Over the years to come, the IRG proposes to further its action in this field, at the heart of the mutations in public policy practices.

Two prime analytical axes

1. Interactions within dialogue forums/mechanisms

The structuration of exchanges: in the framework of public action, how are forums where public and private actors interact i structured and how do they evolve? In practical terms, what approaches and methods may be observed in the operational functioning of these dialogue forums? What is the nature of the interactions between actors and how do the exchanges map out (actors involved, organization formats, dialogue methodology…)? How is the question of the involvement of all sectors of society addressed? What about the least organized sectors?

The question of scales: how do those arrangements interweave the local, the national and the international, when the actors and their claims may vary significantly from one territorial level to the next?

Differentiated practices: what are the different approaches in the different sectors of public policy (health, environment etc.)? How do different geographic sectors and their specific contexts differ form one an other?

2. The impact of dialogue forums/mechanisms

On the nature and the outcomes of public action: how do these forums contribute to the definition of public good? How do they influence the devising, the implementation, the follow-up or the evaluation of public policies? What is their impact on the outcomes of public policies?

On the practices of actors: how do these initiatives challenge the role and the practice of the actors involved and cause them to evolve? How do they impact the functioning of public institutions? Does working with private actors significantly modify institutional practices? Are there modifications in the strategies of private actors? Can the model of interaction adopted with the public authorities lead civil society organizations to review their modus operandi and the nature of their demands?

The IRG proposes to further this questioning in two particular fields:

• The multi-actor co-production forums in the health sector;

• Multi-actor public action follow-up