Beyond the Partnership Rhetoric: Reviewing Experiences and Policy Considerations for Implementing 'Genuine' Partnerships in North-South Cooperation

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    In 1998, the ECDPM embarked on a new venture to engage in partnerships with selected African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) institutions. Spearheaded by the Centre’s capacity-building programme, the partnership initiative sought to nurture regional networks of expertise, and facilitate Southern organisations to become recognised actors in policy dialogue in international cooperation. In this regard, emphasis was placed on the role of partnership in mobilising the capacities of regionally-based policy institutes and institutions engaged in research and learning, including development and funding organisations. From the outset, this initiative was recognised as experimental and likely to face numerous challenges in making the transition from theory to practice.

    This discussion paper provides an initial ‘stocktaking’ of lessons of experience based on the first few years of operation and discusses the extent to which genuine partnership is a way forward towards the development of capacities. Recognising that the development and sustenance of partnerships requires time, the paper acknowledges that the conclusions drawn and lessons presented are only preliminary. 

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