Landmark Report from AccountAbility finds that Development Partnerships will fail unless Governance improves

The findings and recommendations from Governing Collaboration: Making Partnerships Accountable for Delivering Development are relevant for those concerned with development, particularly founders, managers, participants and public and private investors
Increasingly partnerships are viewed by thought leaders writing for the Brooking Institute, United Nations, and the World Economic Forum as the last great hope to revitalize a workable approach to global, multi-lateral problem-solving. If partnerships fail because of failures in governance, then approaches to multilateralism may go down with it.

In Governing Collaboration: Making Partnerships Accountable for Delivering Development AccountAbility finds that even the most successful partnerships believe that the strain and stresses of managing governance systems are beginning to impact their ability to deliver their ambitious development missions effectively and efficiently.

If partnerships fail in part, or largely, because of their failures in governance, the repercussions will be crushing. “Poor governance performance threatens not only development results, but can set back efforts to establish more collaborative, equitable, and citizen-friendly forms of governance”, says Steve Rochlin, Head of AccountAbility North America and lead author of the report.

“Governance counts double in underpinning partnership performance because it is the glue that delivers synergies from the partners”, says Simon Zadek, Chief Executive of AccountAbility and co-author of the report that is being launched today at the World Bank’s conference on Poverty Reduction and Environmental Management.

The report introduces a Framework for Collaborative Governance and Accountability. Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund comments, „AccountAbility’s clear and powerful framework for action contributes greatly to enhancing partnership governance and ensuring that partnerships deliver on their vast potential.“

The report tackles some of these issues:

  • what governance approaches most effectively blend the diverse bases of accountability of their participants;
  • how best to ensure that their governance can handle the tensions as well as opportunities between public good and private gain;
  • how governance arrangements impact on free rider and other problems associated with voluntary action, particularly where standards are involved;
  • how to build governance arrangements that encourage sustainable revenue models;
  • how to ensure that age-old problems such as nepotism and corruption do not find their ways into these innovative institutions;
  • critically, how to ensure that they enhance rather than restrict citizen participation in decisions that impact their lives.
  • “The report makes important and challenging recommendations”, states Maureen O’Neil, President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). “Leaders in the development community would be well advised to act to advance these recommendations that will create the conditions for partnerships to thrive”.

    About the project
    The report’s findings are based on in depth research with eleven partnerships participating in AccountAbility’s Partnership Governance and Accountability Learning Network, including; • The West Africa Water Initiative • Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative • The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition • StopTB Partnership • The United Nations Global Compact • Building Partnerships for Development in Water and Sanitation • The World Conservation Union partnership with the International Chamber of Mining and Metals • The Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel managed by The World Conservation Union • Forest Stewardship Council • The Global Reporting Initiative • The Sustainable Food Laboratory

    In addition AccountAbility formed research partnerships with three respected intermediary organizations based in India, South Africa and Brazil. We and our partners convened regional dialogues in Delhi, Midrand, and Sao Paolo. Regional Partners include: • Partners in Change, India • UNISA Centre for Corporate Citizenship, South Africa • Centro de Empreendedorismo Social e Administração em Terceiro Setor (CEATS), Brazil

    The study was supported by IDRC and the Rockefeller Brother Fund.

    Governing Collaboration: Making Partnerships Accountable for Delivering Development can be freely downloadable from

    About AccountAbility
    AccountAbility is an international non-profit, membership organization established in 1995 to promote accountability innovations that advance responsible business practices, and the broader accountability of civil society and public organizations.

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