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Our Pillars

The 3 Pillars of Public Participation

As an international leader in public participation (P2), the IAP2 Federation developed three pillars for effective P2 processes. These pillars cross national, cultural and religious boundaries, and they form the foundation of P2 processes that reflect the interests and concerns of all stakeholders. 

Contact the IAP2 Federation for permission to use the IAP2 Pillars of P2.

Core Values

IAP2 Canada adheres to the core values developed by the Federation with broad international input. These identify the aspects of public participation, which cross national, cultural, and religious boundaries. The purpose of these core values is to help make better decisions which reflect the interests and concerns of potentially affected people and entities.

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Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation

  1. Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. Public participation includes the promise that the public's contribution will influence the decision.
  3. Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
  4. Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
  5. Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
  6. Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
  7. Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

Code of Ethics

The IAP2 Code of Ethics for Public Participation Practitioners supports and reflects IAP2's Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation. The Core Values define the expectations and aspirations of the public participation process. The Code of Ethics speaks to the actions of practitioners.

As members of IAP2, we recognize the importance of a Code of Ethics, which guides the actions of those who advocate including all affected parties in public decision-making process. In order to fully discharge our duties as public participation practitioners, we define terms used explicitly throughout our Code of Ethics. We define stakeholders as any individual, group of individuals, organizations, or political entity with a stake in the outcome of a decision. We define the public as those stakeholders who are not part of the decision-making entity or entities. We define public participation as any process that involves the public in problem-solving or decision-making and that uses public input to make better decisions.

This Code of Ethics is a set of principles, which guides us in our practice of enhancing the integrity of the public participation process. As practitioners, we hold ourselves accountable for these principles and strive to hold all participants to the same standards.

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We support public participation as a process to make better decisions that incorporate the interests and concerns of all affected stakeholders and meet the needs of the decision-making body.


We will enhance the public's participation in the decision-making process and assist decision-makers in being responsive to the public's concerns and suggestions.


We will undertake and encourage actions that build trust and credibility for the process among all the participants.


We will carefully consider and accurately portray the public's role in the decision-making process.


We will encourage the disclosure of all information relevant to the public's understanding and evaluation of a decision.


We will ensure that stakeholders have fair and equal access to the public participation process and the opportunity to influence decisions.


We will avoid strategies that risk polarizing community interests or that appear to "divide and conquer."


We will advocate for the public participation process and will not advocate for interest, party, or project outcome.


We ensure that all commitments made to the public, including those by the decision-maker, are made in good faith.


We will mentor new practitioners in the field and educate decision-makers and the public about the value and use of public participation.

Spectrum of P2

IAP2's Spectrum of Public Participation was designed to assist with the selection of the level of participation that defines the public's role in any public participation process. The Spectrum is used internationally, and it is found in many public participation plans.

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