Final report : How to ensure effective popular participation in development projects? An illustration through the operationalisation of the human rights-based approach


Under its Human Rights and Development Strategy, France committed in 2019 to integrating a human rights-based approach to development in its international development cooperation policy. The participation of local populations is at the core of this approach. Commissioned by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, this study formulates recommendations for strengthening participation of these populations in the process of drafting, implementing, monitoring and evaluation of development projects.

The study was particularly interested in the methods and tools used by multilateral and bilateral cooperation agencies to ensure the effective consideration of this principle, in a comparative approach, in order to identify good practices. A distinction emerged between three different, but complementary approaches to participation: a normative approach, focused on the respect and the realisation of norms enshrined in international human rights treaties; an empowerment approach, focused on vulnerable or discriminated individuals and groups; and a pragmatic approach, focused on improving the effectiveness of projects. The comparative analysis of these approaches identified key pointers to improve the operationalisation of participation in the human rights-based approach to development.

Read the final report (PDF - 364.4 mo)