Throughout OECD countries, partnerships are being set up as government, business and civil society join forces to promote economic development and solve social and employment problems more effectively. Often supported (and sometimes initiated) by the government, these partnerships seek to co-ordinate policies and actions, adjust national policies to local conditions, and involve representatives of all sectors of society in shaping measures and projects. Some countries have a particularly long experience of implementing partnerships in different fields, including: Ireland (social inclusion), Canada (economic development), Austria (employment), United Kingdom (urban regeneration), to name but a few. New EU member states and accession countries are fast developing their own partnership models in response to EU encouragement and learning from the experiences of other member states.
Building partnerships is a difficult exercise. Effective partnerships can influence the way policies and programmes are implemented in their region, and challenge and alter projects led by business and the non-profit sector. Where partnerships raise ideas and concerns that are based on a shared vision and strategy, they are not easily dismissed. Yet to achieve such a solid strategic and analytical approach, significant organisational effort is required. Partnerships must build a critical mass through ensuring the commitment of the main public services and government agencies concerned; a strong participation from business; and an unchallenged representation from civil society. Public accountability and transparency must be exemplary, and performance monitored and properly assessed.
The best partnerships are strong on both the substantive and organisational aspects of their work. These aspects were the main themes of the capacity building seminar on partnerships in Central and Eastern Europe, held in Bucharest on 8 November. The seminar focused on new developments in the field of partnership in Romania, whilst also providing a unique opportunity to discuss the preliminary results from the OECD LEED project on Integrating Employment, Skills and Economic Development (IESED) in Romania. The latter project seeks to identify the main determinants for the integration of policies at the local level, among which effective partnership and the development of strong local capacity to deliver are obvious candidates. Capacity building for partnerships is a central objective of both the OECD LEED Trento Centre for Local Development and the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Governance.
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For further information, please contact Ms. Andrea-Rosalinde.Hofer@oecd.org.