Accepted paper:

Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development? Comparing the Cases of Climate Change, Education and Heath.


Moira Faul (Université de Genève)

Paper short abstract:

Studies of partnership often assume that establishing a partnership automatically mitigates existing power inequalities. But what happens in practice? This paper examines different configurations of power of partnership in global financing partnerships in climate change, education and health.

Paper long abstract:

Multi-stakeholder partnerships that bring together representatives from public, private and third sectors are often presented as an essential ingredient for the fair implementation of Agenda 2030, mirroring the participatory spirit in which these goals were created. How partnerships are established and enacted will impact more or less positively on sustainable development for all. Many studies of 'partnership' investigate the formal rules that include new development actors and assume the mitigation of existing power inequalities. Yet, conventional partnerships research tends to elide the specifics of the politics of, and operation of power in, partnerships. What happens in practice? This paper examines and compares the configurations of power and practices of partnership in global partnerships in climate change, education and health. This analysis extends existing accounts of partnerships as essentially mitigating asymmetries of power, showing rather that in practice partnerships can deepen existing power hierarchies in the international system. Thus, this analysis contributes to debates on agency and power within the partnership networks that are central to the implementation of the SDGs and Agenda 2030.

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panel P68
Partnerships and power in the 2030 Agenda