Tool 3: Mapping Key Stakeholders



Quick reference

Tool A step-by-step process to identify and engage key stakeholders.
Related Key Activity Identify and map stakeholders affected by the WSI.
Questions Addressed Which organizations should be considered for the WSI? With whom does the WSI need to engage in order to ensure integrity?
Purpose Enable WSI practitioners to understand the major influential groups and interests that should be involved in the design and implementation of the WSI in order to balance different interests toward serving the public good and building credibility and legitimacy:

  • Identify groups influenced by or influential to the WSI with whom the WSI should engage.
  • Identify potential WSI participants to recruit.
  • Expand the knowledge and resources that inform WSI development and implementation. Build legitimacy and credibility.
Possible Users WSI initiators with input from WSI participants.
Level of Effort Depending on local context, stakeholder mapping can range from a simple to an extensive exercise (such as in areas where a diverse number of actors are operating in the water resources management space).
WSI Phase 1. Incubation and Initial Analysis


Guidance for implementation

The diagram below lays out the key steps to undertake in this stakeholder mapping exercise. Depending on a particular WSI and the local context, WSI initiators will need to make determinations as to the particular type of setting for the analysis.


Supporting Guidance

Effective WSIs need a wide range of stakeholders — both the influential and the affected — to be engaged in appropriate ways. Identifying relevant stakeholders and understanding their perspectives and interests is known as stakeholder mapping. Without proper stakeholder mapping, the WSI may be unable to identify the wide variety of interests and concerns that exist in a particular context, potentially leading to an initiative that serves the more dominant and powerful to the detriment of others. Good stakeholder mapping helps mitigate integrity risks through:

  • Identifying affected stakeholders so that they can be directly involved and better understood. This helps ensure that their legitimate interests and knowledge are taken into consideration.
  • Identifying relatively more dominant and less powerful or poorly represented interests to balance power relations, representation, and perspectives.
  • Identifying the full range of interests in order to broaden the number and diversity of groups and individuals engaged in achieving the WSI objectives.
Table: Example of Criteria for Assessing Relevance of Stakeholders
Type of analysis Key questions
Decision point Which external parties have a direct influence over, or are required to participate in, any decisions that will be needed to address your water-related challenges?
Opportunity Which external parties are in a position to directly or indirectly support addressing your water-related challenges?
Expertise Which external parties can contribute knowledge and advice to improve problem characterization, or expand or refine the understanding of solutions?
Impacts Which external parties will experience benefits (or costs) associated with addressing your identified water-related challenges?
Expectations Which external parties have an interest in the collective action process or its outcomes, even if they might not otherwise have a specific role to play in problem solving or a connection to the distribution of costs and benefits?
Conflict Which external parties currently (or will potentially) experience conflicts with you or other potential parties in the process in a manner that may influence the available options to address your identified water-related challenges?


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