Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

Building Blocks for Success

Multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development are a central element of contemporary sustainability governance, particularly since the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). They have been credited with closing the participation and implementation gap in sustainable development. And they have been accused of privileging private interests and thereby consolidating the privatisation of governance.

The Centre's report Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships - Building Blocks for Success has surveyed recent scholarship to provide an evidence-based assessment of the performance of multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development. While the overall performance of partnerships is mixed at best, we identify and discuss nine building blocks that increase the likelihood for successful and effective partnerships: leadership, partners, goal-setting, funding, management, monitoring, meta-governance, problem-structure and socio-political context.


From April to November 2014, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is conducting an extensive discussion process to develop a ‘Zukunftscharta’ (Charter of the Future) that will guide its strategies for sustainable development. The International Civil Society Centre is contributing to the preparations of one specific aspect of the Zukunftscharta: multi-stakeholder partnerships.

In this context, the Centre has commissioned Philipp Pattberg and Oscar Widerberg from the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM) at VU University Amsterdam to write a study on success conditions for multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development. Drafts of this study have been presented and discussed at workshops in London and Berlin.

The full text of the study has been published by the IVM:

Pattberg, Philipp and Oscar Widerberg (2014): Transnational Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Sustainable Development. Building Blocks for Success. IVM Report, R-14/31. Amsterdam: Institute for Environmental Studies.

For the Centre's publication, we have shortened and slightly revised the original full text without interfering with its major findings.



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