International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

8.1 - Conclusions

Concluding thoughts and key takeaways from the Guidebook

Starting a public-private partnership is not easy.  It generally takes more time, effort and funding  than anticipated.  However, together government, not-for-profits, foundations and companies  can accomplish much more than they ever can independently.

The best way to advance and align business, environmental and social objectives is by learning first about the drivers of the business.  Most businesses approach the environment through the lens of risk.  How does the availability of natural resources impact their business?

GEF IW projects are well positioned to offer shared value through shared problem solving to meet business and environmental priorities in communities where the project and organizations work.

There are several barriers to establishing a successful partnership, including institutional and cultural issues, apportionment of long-term risk, public and political objections and time, effort and funding to finalize.

Therefore, the following are key conclusions:

  • There are best practices and lessons from current GEF engagement, some of which are identified in Sections 4 and 7.  In addition, IW:LEARN experience notes ( contain referential experiences derived from other GEF IW projects from which GEF IW PMs can learn.
  • While motivations may be very different, a partnership will be most effective if the interests of each partner are aligned in terms of scale, project objectives and impacts.
  • PPPs are critical to maximizing future funding and impact of GEF projects.
  • The right approach to facilitation is important to bringing all potential partners to “the table” and framing expectations from the beginning (see Section 6 - Facilitators Guide).
  • The key steps to establish a public-private partnership include:
  • Why collaborate?  Establish business need for the project and the partnership.
  • Identify resource requirements and appraise the options.
  • Assess in-house capabilities.
  • Business case – identify the value proposition to both the project and the private sector partner.
  • Select the right partner – developing the team – what skills does each party bring?
  • Determine the partnership form.
  • Cultural fit/decide tactics.
  • Engage users – be open to discussion and approaches.