Inside Partnerships2030

From April 3 – 6, 2024, the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town, in collaboration with The Partnering Initiative (TPI), PRME Chapter Africa and the Embedding Project, hosted the Cross-Sector Social Interactions (CSSI) symposium. The 12th event focused on the topics of power and inclusion. Partnerships2030 took part in the symposium and facilitated a session on equal cooperation in multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSP), among other things.

The Cross Sector Social Interactions (CSSI) symposium organizes biannual conferences and invites researchers and practitioners working on cross-sector collaboration.  

The aim is to share knowledge and experiences on how to effectively collaborate across sectors for sustainable development. The symposium enables the link between theory and practice and thus contributes to more inclusive cooperation. The participation of local stakeholders is central in order to consider intellectual perspectives from the Global South. During the symposium, the participants primarily discussed the opportunities and risks of demographic, social and economic change in Africa.  

Partnerships2030 contributed to the discussions with inputs on equal cooperation in MSPs and on the results of MSPs at local level. Both contributions emphasized the importance of involving all relevant stakeholders in MSPs on an equal footing. The aim is to bring their expertise and experience together in order to ensure legitimacy, fairness, transparency and shared responsibility in the partnership. 

Overall, the conference discussions and presentations made it clear once again that cooperation between stakeholders from different sectors can be particularly challenging, especially when unequal power dynamics exist. However, inclusion and equality are fundamental to successful collaboration. Reflecting on the various relationships is necessary to identify and actively counteract power asymmetries. Power imbalances should be recognized and addressed. This creates trust and spaces in which everyone has the same opportunities to contribute to the discussion and decision-making process for the sake of advancing the partnership.

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