Getting Intentional: How can we encourage and support cross-sector partnerships within the post-2015 framework?

The challenge is that that the outcome-related targets are the development targets, no? What is the 'right' outcome target for partnerships as opposed to be achieved by other means?

Yes - this is the SUN model, there is a coordinating global network - but at the centre are the countries themselves, receiving support from the global network to develop dialogues with all stakeholders at country level.

global networking and coordination is important - it focuses donor action for example. But this got to be reflected at country level, and this is where SUN and it's networks kick in at national level...

Walter - our logic (and the logic of the interviewees in this study) in not going there was that the goals themselves (on education, child health, poverty) etc are where the outcome targets are located. Partnerships are a means to an end and so the targets that are being proposed sit at the more process, enabling environment level....

Darian / Walter - That raises an interesting side point about measuring the impact of partnerships. There seems to have been a lot of discussion about measuring the development impact of businesses, but I have seen less around doing that for partnerships. Or indeed have any results been published about the current high-profile ones?

Yes, Mike absolutely. I think having targets on cross sector partnerships is very important so as to have a measuring yard stick to weigh performance of the multiple engagements of various sectors for development especially in emerging economies.

Great question, Zahid. Enabling environment is key for cross-sector partnerships and their success.

For example, under the G8 Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, 45 companies signed Letter of Intent to invest USD 3Bill in Africa, and around 60 signed Declarations to support African Agricultural Development. Now, this potential will only be tapped and lead to results in those countries where policies will inscentivize making these collaborations happen.

Jonathan - what is being proposed by this report is that there would be one platform at the country level which would include a cluster for each goal. What would the implications for the country level SUN networks be if such a 'prioritised' platform was in place?

Jonathan - how do you ensure these complement / strengthen already existing platforms at the national level?

There are advantages to having a single multi-stakeholder platform at the country level, but challenges as well. One advantage is that one company or organisation may be interested in multiple different goals and it would be simpler for it to engage with one platform rather than having to engage in multiple different ones. Also, a single platform can build up the significant skills and capacities needed to build effective partnership, for example to become a centre of excellence. Howvever, in large countries, it may be necessary to go down to the regional level for the platforms and different organisations may have technical capabilities to support different platforms on different goals. So, start with one platform, then expand as capabilities and interests expand, but ensure very strong coordination among the platforms that may have different regional or issues.

Good point Zahid...this is our proposal here in Colombia...complementing existing platforms which will be part of an international event on Nov 24th in Cali Colombia

Don't see a problem, they should align, on nutrition specifically - any cluster in relation to a global food and nutrition security would find an existing platform to work with...

Most countries have several platforms that don't collaborate and they also collect information in different manners...not easily comparable and useful to measure collective impacts

Zahid, sorry, I'm not sure if you want to move on to the next question - I'm not aware of many publications on the development impact of partnerships and how that has been achieved. I can see that the goals themselves are the best measure of combined impact but I think we should be trying to improve the success rate of partnerships overall and the best way to do that would be through the contribution they make

Barbara - thanks for sharing that example. Are there specific policy recommendations that those companies have said they would like to see implemented to ensure the potential impacts are realised?

Impact measurement of partnerships is a hot topic! It rather depends whether partnerships are 'simple' (sits in 'ordered space' where cause and effect are clear, few partners, clear goals from the beginning, clear roles of partners) or 'complex' - (unordered space with complex interrelations, evolvative goals, often multiple partners and can lead to system transformation. The latter can be relatively easy to measure the impact, the latter may be extraordinarily difficult as it is complex and there may be no non-partnering alternative to compare it against.

each country would have to work out what it would want to do - within SUN the country level activities and platform look different from country to country

Thanks Francesca - all too often the private sector is talked about as if it is a set of homogenous orgs! Our study was conducted with larger companies in mind - there's lots more work to do....!

Luc - would love to know more about your platform in Colombia as we have developed a platform there!

Our recommendation as well regarding the platforms is that they are not a one-size-fits-all but need to be designed by the countries and contextualised...