Making policies work


Briefing Notes (series)

Building competences for partnering: How donors can ensure multi-stakeholder partnerships succeed

Briefing Note 95

February 2017

Kuenkel, P. 2017. Building competences for partnering: how donors can ensure multi-stakeholder partnerships succeed. (Briefing Note 95). Maastricht: ECDPM.

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The world’s current sustainability challenges require actors in the global society to rapidly shift their way of thinking, acting and, above all, their way of leading transformative change around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Not surprisingly, SDG goal number 17 encourages stakeholders from business, NGOs, government, donors and communities to partner for change. More and more bi- and multilateral donors promote such partnerships. Many NGOs have started to collaborate with the private sector2 as part of their own development strategies, while partnerships between companies and governments are on the rise.

Key Messages

  • For Agenda 2030 to succeed, multi-stakeholder partnerships become increasingly important. However, their success hinges on the capacity of all actors to understand how to manage change collaboratively. Donor funding procedures need to reflect this.
  • Donors need to acknowledge that building successful collaboration requires time and resources. They also need to ensure that collaboration takes place at all levels of intervention. High quality partnering projects require collaboration structures at international, national and local level. This should be reflected in project designs and budget
  • Donors need to invest in capacity building for partnering. A project in which all actors understand the essentials of making partnerships successful has a much higher likelihood of success. Donors need to help build the knowledge base around partnerships, give orientation and support practice exchange. Learning and capacity building around partnering should be part of every project budget.

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Photo courtesy World Bank, via Flickr

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David Sogge


2017-03-11 11:30:23

For an alternative perspective on multi-stakeholderism, readers may wish to read a deep-going article, based on research carried out at the Center for Governance and Sustainability of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, by a seasoned observer, Harris Gleckman. The article appears in the British webzine OpenDemocracy. The url is:

Economic recovery and transformationBriefing Notes (series)Capacity developmentCivil societyPublic Private Partnerships (PPPs)Sustainable Development Goals

External authors

Petra Kuenkel