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ERM > Step 4 - Communication and Consultation

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Step 4 Communication and Consultation




​ERM requires an inclusive communication and consultation approach with all relevant stakeholders, including programmatic and operational staff as well as other relevant stakeholders (e.g. UN system, national partners, experts, donors, target groups and project affected people). Communication and consultation take place at regular/planned intervals to inform risk identification, assessment, treatment, monitoring, reporting and review.


The risk communication and consultation must be very inclusive process.


1.    What is the purpose of risk communication and consultation?

The purpose is twofold. First, it is important to ensure that when thinking of risk and risk management you have all your relevant stakeholders around the table. The range of stakeholders might vary from project to project, from programme to programme and might include a variety of internal stakholders (finance, HR, Secruity, etc.) as well as external partners from UN system, national partners, experts, donors, , etc. Second, the purpose of this process is to highlight the criticality of risk communication to inform your stakeholders about the risks identified, how they are managed, and therefore, to manage expectations on how to share responsibilities and accountabilities around various risks and their management.


2.    Who to include in a risk consultation?

The main principle of risk management is inclusiveness. The question is how to decide who to include in risk discussion and at what stage of the project or programme implementation. The decision about who to include in risk consultation and communication must be guided by fit-for-purpose logic and will depend largely on your understanding of those directly affected by the risk (Donors, Boardmembers, government,etc.). It is critical to include all relevant stakeholders into risk identification, assessment, treatment, monitoring, reporting and review. Success of this process guarantees the completeness of your risk profile, the buy-in of risk response measures across your key stakeholders, and success of your risk management efforts at large.


For instance, you should ensure that your project or programme team members are all included during risk identification and analysis. Hence, your risk consultation might become an internal discussion within your team. You might also want to solicit the perspective on risk of some of your stakeholders that you'd consider directly relevant because they either contribute to the causes or bear the impact of the risk. For instance, when discussing how the changes in the national fiscal system might potentially affect the funding modality of your country programme, you might want to consult experts from the ministry of finance or other international partners who might have similar issue. From this consultation process you might get better understanding of the specifics of fiscal reforms and sharpen your understanding of risks for your organization and, therefore, how to best address them to achieve the objectives of your project or programme.


When the risks are identified, analyzed, and measures defined how to address them it is important to inform your internal and external stakeholders about your risk profile and assure them that your project, programme, or organization takes all necessary measures to address those risks with due responsibility.


3.    How to organize risk consultations?

There are variety of techniques how to engage the different stakeholders: workshops, SWOT analysis, interviews, individual and group discussions, focus groups, etc. These techniques could be used when deemed relevant and most appropriate, however, it is highly recommended to ensure that risk discussions are happening when important decisions are about to be taken within the organization. 



4.    When to convene Risk consultations?

Risk consultations could take at any of these stages:


Develop UNDAF/CPD: at this phase the focus of risk management is twofold: (a) on the risks in the country context towards the strategic development priorities of the country itself, and (b) on the organizational commitments and institutional capacities of UNDP to address those risks, which become for UNDP opportunities to invest for development results.


Appraise and Approve: at this phase the focus of risk management should be on the risks UNDP country office might have vis-à-vis the defined strategy on how to support the national counterparts through UNDAF/CPD.


Annual Planning: at this stage the focus of risk management should be on emerging risks and changes in the existing risks to ensure there are necessary provisions for adequate risk response measures in the planning and necessary corrections in the course of actions.


Monitoring and Oversight: at this stage the focus of risk management is to guarantee necessary assurance on the resources invested and results to expect.


Reporting: at this stage the focus of risk management is to provide necessary information about risks and risk management efforts within the organization. EACH project and programme report MUST reflect on risk management.


I think - This should be perhaps the first immediate change worth following up – to ensure there is risk section in the project and programme report template, if there is not one so far J


Programme Transition: at this stage the focus of risk management is to ensure there is complete overview of the risks that will be transiting with the project. This stage is of utmost importance for sustainability and impact of development results.