Managing risks in partnerships
The risks contained in a partnership framework for decentralized local development are located at several levels, notably during the constitution and/or during the animation of the partnership dynamic.
The drivers of these risks and pitfalls are the socio-political and institutional context of the country, the system of territorial public management of the area of intervention and the will of the actors.
The major risks and pitfalls identified in the framework of the UNCDF projects are the following:
Wrong preparation of the partnership
The partnership is not a forced marriage, it is a demanding process. In the areas with strong concentrations of development partners and civil society organisations, it is not easy to build partnerships mobilizing all the institutional actors. It is necessary, at the start, to proceed to a selection to place the partnership with credible and respected actors in the area of intervention. A mapping analysing the different actors of the intervention area through the SWAT approach (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) is crucial.
A lack of flexibility
Engaging in a partnership is to submit to a group discipline whatever the importance of the means of each stakeholder. The partnership can limit some freedom from the stakeholders through the control exercised by each partner. The procedures of each partner can constitute a limiting factor, despite the will to cooperate, simply because the project document did not provide the necessary opening to allow the project teams to fully engage into the dynamics of partnership.
Insufficient involvement of the devolved services of the State
Even though the services are durable and enable to ensure the succession of the support-counselling brought by the projects, the involvement of the partners in the implementation of the activities of the decentralized local development projects is crucial. Indeed, the achievements of the projects are sometimes weakly capitalized and not very valued after their end. It is to avoid this situation that the practical modalities of the partnership with the public administrations must be clarified from the formulation of each project.
Cumbersome payment procedures
The non-payment in time of the bills to the providers and recipients by the Public Treasury or the issues with the issuance of pay checks by the financial services of the city hall weaken the partnership. In this situation, the economic operators hesitate to continue the worksites or prefunding them, which has a consequence on the programming of the activities and creates tensions with the treasury with certain partners.