“Participate”: Personal reflections on a new post-2015 initiative



Picture: View from plane window

Those of you who know me will know that there are lots about my job that I’m passionate about.  But there’s been one issue that I’ve found a particularly absorbing on a personal level – and that’s the challenge of trying to ensure that people living in poverty have real, meaningful engagement in the post-2015 policy process.

We agreed this as part of CAFOD’s advocacy strategy on post-2015 back in 2010, but I remember distinctly the moment when my thinking on it shifted.  I was on a plane coming back from Italy in June last year (having attended, ironically, one of the least legitimate and most elite meetings ever).  I wrote a rather breathless blog about it at the time.  The realization was that instead of simply doing advocacy to ask the UN or governments to take responsibility for engaging people living in poverty in post-2015, we had to make it happen ourselves.

What happened next is a long story – involving many, many people and a great number of ups and downs.  The last 15 months have seen a large number of wensleydale and pickle sandwiches eaten at Palace Street; an enormous amount of planning, writing, negotiating, coordinating and learning; and the occasional stroke of luck.  It has been the slow, uncertain process of building buy-in across several institutions and structures at once, combined with the challenge of steering a course through a rapidly moving and wide-ranging policy environment.

In the last couple of weeks, our challenge has entered a new phase.  We have been officially able to launch ‘Participate’ – an initiative to ensure that through participatory research knowledge from the margins shapes post-2015 policymaking, and that a future framework reflects the priorities of those directly affected by poverty and injustice.  Participate is jointly convened by Beyond 2015 and the Institute for Development Studies, with CAFOD coordinating Beyond 2015’s contribution.  See the blurb here.

It’s hard to know what lies in store for us next, and no doubt there will be many setbacks and challenges to come.  But being part of the effort to get us to this point has been a privilege.  Wherever we end up, this seems like a good moment to look out of the window and see how far we’ve come.



Beyond 2015’s VPPC paper Beyond2015_ContentStrategy_VPPC_final.

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