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Dossier: Business-civil society organisations (CSO) partnerships


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This dossier brings together all our work on business-civil society organisations (CSO) partnerships over the past years. Would you like to know more, or would you like to partner with us? Get in touch with Jeske van Seters via, or contact one of the other team members listed on this page.

With the 2030 Agenda, the development community has put a lot of emphasis on multi-stakeholder partnerships including CSO and business partnerships both as a resource and means of implementation to deliver on the SDGs. The rationale behind is: development challenges are increasingly and interrelated and therefore the development community (public sector, private sector and CSO) must come together to address these issues.

That being said, while they are being heavily promoted, the results of MSP have been so far so disappointing.

What have we done

Building on a rich experience working on civil society engagement and private sector development, ECDPM has worked extensively on business-CSO partnerships, specifically looking into the drivers and constraints of this form of cooperation.

We developed a methodology to assess CSO-business cooperation using a political economy analysis perspective and applied this to in-depth case studies in the extractive and dairy sector in various countries. We also look at the role of development partners and donor agencies in financing and brokering and promoting partnerships for sustainable development.

This way, ECDPM seeks to contribute to the debate on the implementation of the sustainable development goals and the role of CSO-business partnerships as drivers or enablers of change. By looking at the political economy of partnership dynamics and the process of partnering itself, we aim to go beyond the business case or novelty value of partnerships and provide tangible evidence on what it is that makes partnerships succeed or fail.

Blogs and publications

Civil society & business: pulling in the same direction?
Jeske Van Seters, Poorva Karkare (editors), February 2019
ECDPM Great Insights magazine

The Christmas spirit: EU competition law and sustainability coming together
Jeske Van Seters, December 2018
ECDPM blog

Artisanal gold mining in DRC: Time to get down to earth?
Karim Karaki, March 2018
Discussion Paper 223

Multi-stakeholder initiatives on garments and textiles in Germany and the Netherlands: Towards achieving collective impact?
Jeske Van Seters, March 2018
Briefing Note 100

Sectoral multi-stakeholder initiatives at EU level: quo vadis?
Jeske Van Seters, September 2017

Don’t expect perfection but progress! Multi-stakeholder initiatives to foster responsible business conduct
Karim Karaki, September 2017

Donor agencies and multi-stakeholder partnerships: Harnessing interests or herding cats?
Karim Karaki, Alfonso Medinilla, November 2016
Discussion Paper 204

CSO-business partnerships for development: Key insights
Karim Karaki, Alfonso Medinilla, November 2016
Briefing Note 94

A territorial approach to multi-stakeholder partnerships
Karim Karaki, Alfonso Medinilla, October 2016
Article from GREAT Insights Volume 5, Issue 5

Mining and community-based agribusiness for development: Multi-stakeholder partnerships in the gold sector in Ghana
Alfonso Medinilla, May 2016
Discussion Paper 191

Sustainable rural employment or corporate social responsibility? An analysis of dairy partnerships between business and civil society organisations in Tanzania and Kenya
Karim Karaki, Alfonso Medinilla, May 2016
Discussion Paper 190

Partnerships or patronage for development? Business-Civil Society Organisations (CSO) partnerships in the mining sector in Madagascar
Alfonso Medinilla, May 2016
Discussion Paper 189

GREAT Insights: Partnerships with business for development
San Bilal (Editor), March 2016
GREAT Insights Magazine – Volume 5, Issue 2.

Partnerships with business for development: Editorial
San Bilal, March 2016
Editorial from GREAT Insights Volume 5, Issue 2.

Deconstructing partnerships: An opportunity to learn
Karim Karaki, March 2016
Article from GREAT Insights Volume 5, Issue 2.

Partnerships for institutional development – Think big, start small
Karim Karaki, March 2016
ECDPM Talking Points blog

How to assess CSO-business partnerships for development
Bruce Byiers, Francesca Guadagno, Karim Karaki, January 2016
Briefing Note 86

From looking good to doing good: Mapping CSO-business partnerships
Bruce Byiers, Karim Karaki,Francesca Guadagno, December 2015
Discussion Paper 182

CSO-business partnerships – bringing mozzarella to the masses?
Karim Karaki, Bruce Byiers, November 2015
Talking Points Blog

Multi-stakeholder partnerships in the post-2015 development agenda: Time to get down to earth?
Karim Karaki, October 2015
Talking Points Blog

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