Partnerships are neither rigid nor static, but fluid and dynamic relationships which develop with time. North-South partnerships in particular need to evolve, building capacity and structures that ensure partners are accountable to each other while addressing the needs of their respective stakeholder groups. In practice, there are two main barriers to effective partnerships: (1) inequality/power imbalances between partners and (2) the partners’ internal management systems. These can be overcome by transferring responsibility and ownership to the less powerful partner and by investing in the necessary internal systems to provide effective support to the partnership.
This working paper builds on work done on accountability by the One World Trust offers a brief summary of current thinking on issues of partnerships and accountability. It provides some guidelines that must be considered for a genuine partnership to take place and concludes that partnership accountability, a process which involves addressing a complex set of asymmetries, enables partner organisations and their respective stakeholders to maximise capacity and move beyond meeting (contractual) proposed objectives.