The Guideline

The world is rapidly changing, and threats to people, livelihoods, and the environment, are complex and increasingly interlinked.
Cross-sector partnerships are today seen as key to achieving sustainable development and therefore central to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Partnerships across sectors are a means to tackle the complex social and environmental challenges our world faces.
Partnerships also provide new opportunities for business and organisations to pursue value creation by aligning objectives, recognising the specific competencies that each sector can bring to the collaboration and finding ways to harness these and create shared value for all.

Through partnerships, partnering organisations can help develop society and economies by pursuing a range of value-driven opportunities and outputs, e.g. gaining access to new technology or markets, acquiring new competencies, stronger impact of projects, enhanced cost-effectiveness, improve stakeholder relations, strengthen product development and mitigating risks.
The opportunities are endless.

Nevertheless, cross-sector partnerships are complex to manage.
Consequently, partnerships do often not achieve their full potential, thereby strengthening the general reservation against entering into them. Building mutually rewarding partnerships is an iterative process and evolving journey.

Partnerships are dynamic in nature and unlocking the potential requires strong management, solid relational skills as well as trust between the partnering organisations.

Typical characteristics of successful cross-sector partnerships include:

  • Engagement to solve shared challenges or realise common opportunities.
  • Core competencies as the primary resource of each organisation.
  • Significant relevance to the organisational mission and strategy of each partner.
  • Recognition that each partner brings valuable contribution to the partnership.
  • High value-add and change potential for each organisation involved.

The Guideline does not set out a linear, prescriptive route, but is designed to support an iterative partnership process, where you might have to visit and re-visit each theme several times, depending on where you are in your project cycle and how your partnership evolves.

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