International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

4.1 - Partnership Checklist

This checklist is intended to provide guidance in establishing public-private partnerships on GEF International Waters focal area projects. The following are key steps for GEF PMs to develop public-private partnerships:

Step 1: Identify key project outcomes and partnership rationale – Why collaborate?

When deciding whether or not to collaborate, start at the other end – the outcomes.  Is it performance goal oriented that private sector organizations can assist in meeting?  The following are a list of questions to guide your discussions regarding outcomes:

  • What is it that needs to be achieved?  Is it the provision of a facility, a service or a product?
  • Is there a statutory requirement to provide the outcome?  Can legal frameworks or multi-lateral cooperation offer support?
  • Is there an existing outcome that can be developed or is a new one required?
  • Who is the outcome aimed at – the existing users of the ministries or a wider public?  Who are the beneficiaries?
  • What organizations (private sector or otherwise) operate or have priorities in your geographies of interest?
  • Over what period is the outcome to be provided – short, medium or long-term – or is it just a ‘one-off’?   Will the outcome be sustainable and/or scalable?

Please see the drivers included in the case studies, which provide representative examples of the rationale for existing public-private partnerships.

Step 2: Identify resource requirements

Have clear objectives for the planning, development, implementation, running, maintenance, reviewing and reporting of the outcome.

Analyze in detail all the resources needed to develop, deliver, maintain and monitor the outcome.  These may include financial, political and managerial skills, technical knowledge, personnel, land, property, equipment, technology and information.

In particular, try to obtain a clear estimate of all costs over the life-cycle of the project.  The more complex the project, the greater the likelihood of overrunning the start-up phase.  The time resource is often greatly under-estimated, particularly when strategic decisions have to be made by the public sector partners or by other public agencies involved.

Where there are alternative approaches to the project structuring, carry out a life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of the alternatives.  In any case, it is good practice to carry out such an analysis for the ‘with/without’ alternative scenarios to clarify the exact costs and benefits of the project and how to engage to outside partners.

Please see the case study on the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) project for a representative example of how they identified resources.

Step 3: Assess the in-house capability

Compare in detail the total resources required with those available in-house.  Quantify in detail the differences between them.  Quantify in detail what resources a potential partner will be required to bring to the project.

Step 4: Develop the business case

Identify the value proposition to both the project and the private sector partner for engagement.  Business relevant outcomes are important to include in developing this case.

Please see the GEF/IMO GloBallast and GEF/UNIDO TEST case studies for example of how the partnership focuses on meeting business outcomes.

Step 5: Select the right partner

The size and complexity of the project will determine whether more than one partner is required (see Partnership Analysis Tool).  In some instances the choice of partner will be obvious.  In others it may be necessary to obtain as much information as possible about two or three possible partners.  Evidence of experience in similar projects would be helpful.

Whichever partner(s) is selected, they should be able to demonstrate that they can provide all the additional resources required for the partnership.

Please see the Yellow Sea LME case study regarding how various partners provided incentives for others to join.

Step 6: Determine the appropriate form of partnership

Determine the most appropriate form the collaboration should take – incorporated or unincorporated partnership, private limited company, consortium, charitable or informal.  The more complex the project, the greater need for a clear, legally defined structure, or at least some form of contract, agreement or understanding.

There should be a clear demarcation of the roles and responsibilities of each partner.  Will each have equal status?  Who will act as overall coordinator?

You can find examples of global public-private partnership models, including key legal structures at:

Step 7: Identify the strategic/cultural fit

To be successful, all partners need to work together closely together.  This may mean changing the ways they think, work and operate.

The public sector ethos is one of service; the private sector is based on an entrepreneurial culture.  There may need to be an adjustment of attitudes to accommodate each other’s point of view.

Management styles and practices may vary considerably and may have to be drawn closer together without loss of face.  Differences of opinion on strategic issues should be discussed openly.

Step 8: Consult with users and potential users

Many projects will take place within a private sector ‘best value’ framework or involve public sector bodies.  Both require extensive consultation with users and potential users to be provided by a public-private partnership.  Matters for consultation may include:

  • The standards of service and performance targets
  • Information about the service – who are the partners and the managers responsible and how they can be contacted
  • Seeking user views about the service and the people who deliver it
  • Complaints and remedial processes
  • Whether the service offers improved value for money or a better use of resources
  • Overall monitoring and evaluation of performance

Please use the Facilitator’s Guide for possible approaches regarding how to engage potential partners, users and other stakeholders.  This section offers key steps required to balance the need for continued dialogue with project and organizational interests.