Donor agencies and multi-stakeholder partnerships: Harnessing interests or herding cats?
Promoting and supporting partnerships is a complex and iterative process, requiring considerable resources, knowledge, and time. This paper studies the roles of donors in a selection of partnership related instruments, with a view to better understanding their challenges and opportunities, constraints and incentives. It shows that there is a gap between donor agencies’ policy objectives and their current practice, which in formal terms is overly passive in terms of funding mechanisms and administration systems towards supporting partnerships. This diminishes the benefits that might be gained from the large palette of resources and capabilities of donor agencies. That said, informally donor agencies go further than their roles stricto sensus, implying a gap between policy and practice. Based on these insights, some reflections, implications, and recommendations are presented below for policy makers and donor agencies aiming at boosting the effectiveness of their support to partnerships.