Strengthening the role of stakeholder involvement in EBS projects
EBS, the Suriname state-owned electricity generation and distribution company, is strengthening its project management with a structured method for stakeholder participation. The Caribbean Development Bank financed Suriname Power Project (Electricity System Upgrade and Expansion) is being used as a pilot for this. The project focuses on capacity building to improve the stakeholder engagement process within the power sector.
Stakeholder Engagement in the energy sector is often carried out on an ad hoc basis or is often dependent on external institutions or individuals. EBS internal capacity for stakeholder engagement is limited which creates a gap when such a project comes to an end.
This project aims to contribute to a more consistent approach to stakeholder engagement through the application of good practice principles. The intention is not only to strengthen the mechanism for the CBD projects, but by training relevant EBS staff to also strengthen the capacity so that stakeholder engagement plans become a regular part of EBS project management.
The Centre for International Development and Training of the English University of Wolverhamptonis selected following a public tender to provide support and technical assistance to this project.
The project team, led by Ms. Faye Graanoogst and Jerry Aseja of EBS, has in the past months organized several training sessions and workshops with EBS project managers and technical specialists in which stakeholder engagement around the Suriname Power Project was central as an example. Besides concrete plans for stakeholder engagement, a framework document was developed that outlines the framework for broader application of stakeholder engagement in EBS projects.
The policy framework is based on the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) public participation spectrum. The IAP2 spectrum is considered best practice and describes the five levels of public participation, from informing to empowering, and the type of communication appropriate for each. Based on this, EBS has formulated principles that we strive for in building open, respectful and inclusive working relationships with stakeholders and clients. In doing so, we as EBS aim to better respond to expectations, anticipate social developments around energy, and manage risks.
A handbook was also developed for a consistent and structural approach to stakeholder engagement in EBS' project management. During the development of both the policy framework and the manual, formal and informal consultation took place via workshops, (online) discussions and personal consultations between EBS, internal stakeholders, the new regulator, various government bodies, and external stakeholders or their representatives.