2015/Internal/Public-Private Partnership of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Below is the Executive Summary. Click here for the full report (PDF).
Public-private partnerships (or P3s) are medium to long-term agreements between the public and private sectors (including nonprofits) whereby public service obligations are provided by the private sector, with clear agreement on shared objectives and risk for delivering public services.1
The Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP), established in 2009, is tasked with leveraging U.S. government resources to establish a new generation of public-private partnerships in the service of U.S. foreign policy objectives, to maximize foreign aid impact, and to enhance collaboration among the public sector, private sector, and civil society to solve global challenges. Among the flagship initiatives of S/GP is the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (hereafter, GACC or the Alliance), which has proven to be an unusually innovative, globally-scaled, public-private partnership to support a global market for clean and efficient household cooking methods and technologies.
This report evaluates the success of S/GP, and its predecessor, the Secretary’s Global Partnership Initiative (GPI), in nurturing, launching, and sustaining the GACC initiative from its inception as an informal working group in the early 2000s to its formal launch as a fully independent entity housed within the United Nations Foundation (UNF). The evaluation study will examine how S/GP helped to build the partnership base with private and other-country partners, how S/GP contributed to this specific collaborative partnership, and the ways that S/GP has identified and sought to overcome barriers to this and other partnerships. In addition to providing a historical overview of key milestones in S/GP’s efforts involving clean cookstoves, this report also provides insights into definitions of success in using P3s in the development and foreign policy domain, and the critical facilitating conditions that account for both positive and negative movement in S/GP partnership efforts in supporting the GACC. The report concludes with a set of recommendations for P3 development in the future. Ultimately this evaluation can serve as a ‘road map’ for what works and what doesn’t with respect to P3 conceptualization, development, and sustainable collaboration and partnerships.
The study is based on four sources of information gleaned from a review of archival data, interviews with key stakeholders from multiple sectors, participation in a number of S/GP and GACC events, and a review of the research literature on P3s and collaboration. We structured our research as a rich, revelatory case study using GACC-specific insights to abstract P3 lessons and best practices for S/GP in the foreign policy and development domains. Our findings and recommendations focus on conditions that can be controlled to enable successful P3s in the foreign policy domain and conditions that are more difficult to control. Moreover, we have designed this document to be practical by providing a digest of relevant insights, findings, and recommendations. We also make available an Appendix at the document’s end comprised of primary source materials and references.
In short, we have approached this evaluation study as an opportunity to provide S/GP with maximum analytical resources to understand—not only the success of the GACC—but the unique and ongoing opportunities to leverage public private partnerships (P3s) available to the S/GP, the State Department, and the U.S. Government (USG) and its agencies.
This report examines the U.S. State Department’s Secretary’s Office of Global Partnership’s (S/GP) role in ‘standing up’ the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (hereafter GACC or the Alliance) as an exemplar of the State Department’s public-private partnership strategy. To do this, this study is framed by three research questions:
- What role did S/GP play in the establishment and success of the GACC? Is that process replicable and under what conditions?
- What generalizable lessons does this “rich case” hold for the S/GP, its P3 model, and for future collaborative partnership development in the USG foreign policy domain?
- Beyond “best practices” and “actionable insights,” what other lessons and concerns—positive and negative—are critical for the S/GP Office to understand, given its own organizational trajectory and “disrupter” identity?
In keeping with our commitment to provide ample and applicable analytical resources for State and USG in P3 development going forward, we have tried where possible to provide readers with “take-aways,” practical insights and recommendations in each section of the study. Such a “toolkit” approach provides readers with applied findings from our data-collection relevant to other P3s beyond GACC; specific thematic clusters relevant for “thinking through” P3 selection and development; and relevant flashpoints and key concepts gleaned from insightful comments by interviewees, the P3 interdisciplinary scholarly literature, pertinent policy documents, and examples to enhance the knowledge base of S/GP professionals and improve their ability to help establish effective P3s in the future.
Key Working Definitions
We began with the definition of partnership established for the State Department by the S/GP Office. According to S/GP, partnerships are defined as:
a collaborative working relationship with non-governmental partners in which the goals, structure, and governance as well as roles and responsibilities, are mutually determined and decision making is shared. Partnerships are characterized by: complimentary equities; openness and transparency; mutual benefit; shared risks and rewards; and accountability.2
This definition of P3 emphasizes collaboration—our own key emphasis—and is consonant with discussions from the academic literature.
About the Contribution
This report evaluates the S/GP as it was involved in incubating, launching, and sustaining the clean cookstoves initiative in its transformation from an EPA P3 to a fully independent, formal Alliance hosted by the United Nations Foundation (UNF).
The evaluation examines how S/GP helped to build the GACC’s partnership base with attention to the private sector; how S/GP helped to advance this collaborative partnership structure given challenges to it; and the ways that S/GP has identified and sought to overcome barriers to the Alliance’s success. In addition to providing a historical overview of key milestones in S/GP’s efforts for clean cookstoves, this report also provides insights into definitions of success in using P3s in international diplomacy and development in the foreign policy domain and the critical facilitating conditions that account for both positive and negative movement in S/GP efforts to stand-up partnerships.
The report concludes with a set of recommendations for P3 development in the future. Ultimately, this evaluation may serve as a ‘road map’ for what works and what does not with respect to the conceptualization, development, and sustainable launch of P3s in the future.
1. See, International Bank for Reconstruction & Development, The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, Public-Private Partnerships, Version 2.0 (The World Bank Group, Washington, DC 20433, 2014): 17-18 for the definition of a P3; Roberto Ridolfi, European Commission, Directorate, General Regional Policy, Resource Book on PPP Case Studies (June 2004): http://ec.europa.eu/ regional_policy/sources/docgener/guides/pppresourcebook.pdf
2. U.S. Department of State, State of Global Partnerships Report (March 28, 2014): 4, //2009-2017.state.gov/documents/organization/224308.pdf.