Stakeholders are those people and organisations that are affected by something – for instance a policy, programme, action or organisation – literally, those who have a stake in it. A public policy might have the following stakeholders:

  • primary stakeholders – the intended beneficiaries, their families and dependents
  • secondary stakeholders – indirect beneficiaries such as representative organisations
  • implementing agencies
  • supervisory authorities
  • taxpayers
  • government (in terms of its popularity and thus likelihood of re-election)
  • beneficiaries of other policies on which there are knock-on effects.

Participation of stakeholders in decision-making is a key fundamental rights principle. It entails being inclusive, for example including people with disabilities or marginalised groups in society so that everybody can be heard on the decisions that affect them.