Hundreds of partnerships have been formed worldwide during the past two decades. Some of them lasted only a short period; others have been operating a long time. Some concentrate on narrow local targets while others ambitiously try to co-ordinate broad policy areas in large regions where millions of people live and work.
There are partnerships primarily oriented towards business circles and others focused on labour market or social issues. “Bottom up” can be seen as a key principle here, but it is good to remember that a good number of partnerships have been created as part of a central government strategy to support the delivery of programmes at the local level.
Many studies have been carried out on the subject, which demonstrate that a partnership is a valuable instrument or “organisational” model to overcome weaknesses of the policy and governance framework. Nonetheless, partnerships face several obstacles: they are difficult to set up and maintain, they require political will and resources, and results are not likely to come overnight.