GNF - E-Learning Tool Partnership

Partnership - E-Learning Tool

in the Frame of the Project "Learning for Lakes"




There is a great deal of literature that explains and discusses the roots and development of ‘sustainability’ which dates from the 1960’s to the present day, but it was not until the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, known as the ‘Earth Summit’, that emphasis was placed on the importance of partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society in order to achieve global sustainable development.


Since then partnership working has been a tool for addressing many environmental issues and the problems with lakes is one of them. There are many international, national and local partnerships working to improve our lake environments.


The benefit of a partnership approach is that it allows the combined strengths and actions of organisations to deliver results more effectively and innovatively than organisations working on their own. Particularly now, when funding and resources are hard to find, joining together to achieve a shared goal is an efficient and effective way to address a multitude of issues.


There are of course challenges with working in partnership. There is a greater need for transparency which can be uncomfortable, especially between different sectors, and often the environmental world view is not shared between organisations which can cause difficulties when trying to align objectives. But even though compromise may be necessary to align vision and goals, the results are usually worth it.

Requirements of an effective partnership


In an attempt to identify success factors for effective partnership working Brinkerhoff (2002) cites Whipple and Frankel (2000).  They generated a list of 18 factors from an extensive literature review and found general consensus around five. ‘The five factors were; trust, senior management support, ability to meet performance expectations, clear goals and partner compatibility’ (Brinkerhoff, 2002 p223).


None of these factors can be pulled off the shelf.  Each one needs to be developed and given time in order to ensure a successful partnership.


There are many good examples of how organisations come together to achieve a shared vision to improve our lake environments.  The case studies here are just a few examples of this.



Brinkerhoff, J.M. (2002) Assessing and improving partnership relationships and outcomes: a proposed framework Evaluation and Program Planning Vol. 25 pp215-231.


Donoghue, M.A. (2008) Reflecting in the Lakes; a study into the perceived effectiveness of partnerships and their contribution to sustainability. Unpublished MSc dissertation, London South Bank University