It is crucial that, over the next decades, substantial investments are made in agricultural productivity improvement and food security in the developing world. Public–private partnerships are to play a leading role, but how inclusive and sustainable are investments by partnerships in agricultural development, and what can be done to strengthen their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals?
Using partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
This policy brief presents PBL’s findings on the potential of public–private partnerships for sustainable agricultural development. It highlights the need for partnerships to invest in local institution and capacity building and to include local partners in global partnerships, both to safeguard the public objectives of the partnerships and to increase their impact.
Partnership impact depends on the extent to which the partnership manages to address the factors constraining attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. These factors include market failures, such as lack of access to infrastructure and information, and lacking property rights for environmental resources, and governance failures, such as the underrepresentation of the marginalised in decision-making processes, limited public-service delivery and regulatory capacity to monitor and enforce sustainable resource use.
Partnerships need to address these issues in order to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to make sure that partnership outcomes are sustained.
Improving partnership performance through diagnostics, learning and evaluation
The core advantage of global, public–private partnerships is to align public and private interests by building on the core competences and knowledge of the partners involved.
For partnerships to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, however, it is crucial that they have a sound understanding of the context in which they are operating and of the institutional factors constraining inclusive and sustainable agricultural development.
This implies that partnerships start with sound diagnostics of the interventions required to stimulate inclusive and sustainable development, in a given context. That is not an academic exercise; by including local partners, context-specific information and an understanding of the institutional context becomes available, which will make partnerships more effective. Partnerships clearly have the potential for doing so. Now is the time to ensure they deliver and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.