Welcome to this online discussion! Today, with the help of our expert discussion panel, we are going to be discussing a ‘roadmap for systematically engaging business as a partner in development’. The roadmap will be launched at the GPEDC (Global Partnership for Effective Development) High Level Meeting in Mexico in April.
We are currently engaged in an extensive round of interviews and desk research and we would like to share some of the emerging findings and key questions with you.
Please can we run through each of the following five areas. Please share your thoughts and specific examples as we go through.
There is a need to engage business at the highest levels of the decision-making process. The work of drawing up the post-2015 development architecture remains subject to conventional political processes; opportunities for business to participate at the highest levels remain rare. However, an increasing number of organisations within the development community are now talking about partnership with business, and business is willing and ready to engage in shaping the development agenda. What are the barriers to more direct engagement of business in the post-2015 agenda development, and what are the best ways to overcome these obstacles?
National development planning processes can align more effectively with potential business contributions. Tanzania is one example where business appears to be engaging successfully in the creation of the country’s five-year development plan. However when we have suggested this kind of approach as a way forward during our interviews, a few people have responded that it risks leading to protectionism or market distortion. How can this risk be managed? What are the most effective and legitimate ways for business to play a meaningful and productive role in a country’s development planning process?
Multi-stakeholder platforms can drive partnership action at the national and local level. In parallel to the development of the roadmap, TPI is undertaking a thorough analysis of country-level multi-stakeholder platforms. These appear to be a successful means to catalyse multiple, locally-rooted partnerships based on clear shared objectives and linked to clear outcomes. Have you participated in a platform, and if so what has been your experience?
Partnership impact assessment remains a complex area.Although pioneering work is being done on impact assessment by DCED and others, the complexity of this subject remains a stumbling block. Put simply, if we can’t prove that partnerships work, how can we recommend more of them? What are the most effective methods of impact assessment that you have come across, either through a partnership or elsewhere in the field of development?
Organisations should be ‘fit for partnering’ – but much boils down to having the right person in the right place at the right time. Our experience suggests that organisations need the right leadership and strategy, internal systems and processes, and a culture that supports collaborative working. However, even in organisations with a lot of partnering experience, a supportive internal culture and people with a collaborative mindset, this does not guarantee that individuals will able to identify a partnership opportunity. How can organisations maximise the chances of having the right person in the right place at the right time?
Many thanks for your involvement! Input from this online discussion, as well as the associated survey will inform the roadmap and discussions in Mexico.
This discussion is part of a series with The Partnering Initiative.
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