What do we know about how to bring the perspectives of people living in poverty into global policy-making?

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Previous global consultations with people living in poverty have promised new opportunities for those most marginalised to influence the decisions that affect their lives, and for relationships to be built between ordinary people and the institutions which make those decisions. However, for many these processes have been experienced as ‘extractive’ listening projects, as opposed to ongoing conversations - with people left feeling that their voice has been used for political ends which are not their own. There are considerable lessons to be learned about what to do, and what not to do. If the future of development is to be characterised by a tangible degree of ‘ownership’ by those who are affected by it, then it is crucial to learn these lessons. The consultations reviewed here are: voices of the Poor (The World Bank 2000); a collection of Poverty reduction Strategy Papers (The World Bank and the IMf 1999-ongoing); Citizens and Governance: Civil Society in the New Millennium (The Commonwealth foundation and CIvICUS 1999); The 2011 Global fund Partnership forum e-Consultations (The Global fund 2011).

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