New, free resources for enhancing effective partnering

Practitioners working in partnerships have a new route to state-of-the-art knowledge about effective partnerships with the launch of a website containing accessible and action-oriented research. The new website from Promoting Effective Partnering (PEP) was launched during the second High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) in Nairobi, which was attended by representatives of the Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) based at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Partnering can be challenging, particularly when the goals are huge and diverse, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by world leaders in 2015. Implementation of these goals requires a collective effort by governments, research institutions, the private sector and civil society organisations. The SDGs are designed to address poverty, hunger, food security, sustainable agriculture, education, gender equality and much more.

Pooled knowledge

For this reason, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked a variety of organisations to pool their knowledge and rich practical experience to identify and share the elements of effective partnering. The organisations asked to provide their expertise include the PrC, together with the Partnership Brokers Association, Partnerships in Practice, The Partnering Initiative and the Collective Leadership Institute

This collective endeavour is called the PEP facility: Promoting Effective Partnering. It has led to the development of the PEP website, where practitioners from all over the world can find free resources to improve their partnering efforts and bring about transformational results. The assistance comes in the form of a series of guiding questions, recommended practices, and key performance indicators.

The website offers advice on how to include and collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders for maximum collaboration and communication, advice on governance, resourcing, and strategies.

Celebrate – and listen

PrC’s Academic Director Professor Rob van Tulder and Managing Director Marieke de Wal were present at the High Level Meeting of the GPEDC in Nairobi, Kenya at the end of November to officially launch the new website. During the opening session of the meeting in Nairobi to amplify the positive impact of development co-operation, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen stressed that effective partnerships require the celebration of successes, and the ability to listen carefully to each other.

17 factors for effective partnering

This was acknowledged in the panel discussion in which RSM’sProf. Rob van Tulder presented the PEP website. “We see lots of partnerships these days,” said Professor van Tulder, “and many people are talking about partnerships, co-creation, collective action, and so on – but there is a very mixed record on performance and results. How can we raise the bar? Within PEP, we have identified 17 factors for effective partnering for the SDGs. Each factor is summarized in a series of guiding questions, recommended practices, and key performance indicators. These factors are not meant to be prescriptive and we do definitely not believe in a one-size-fits-all solution to partnering. Rather, we invite partners to question our approaches as well as their own.”

The website was well received. Arjan Schuthof, senior policy advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed that partnering is a tough job. “It is vital to connect with people who, through hard practice, have won hard lessons.”

The next step for PEP will be to activate a vibrant platform offering opportunities to learn from the experience of peers and to seek support when things are not going according to plan.

More information

The Partnerships Resource Centre (PrC) is a specialist research centre at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. The PrC envisions a more sustainable and inclusive world in which business, civil society and governments each play an important role to create collaborative and inclusive solutions for complex societal issues. It connects scientifically sound research and practitioner experience of cross-sector partnerships to aid sustainable and inclusive development.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top 10 research-based business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. Study information and activities for future students, executives and alumni are also organised from the RSM office in Chengdu, China.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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