Emergence, Influence and Legitimacy
Edited by Philipp Pattberg, Frank Biermann, Sander Chan and Ayşem Mert
Chapter 5: Partnerships for Sustainable Development in the Energy Sector: Explaining Variation in their Problem-Solving Effectiveness
Kacper Szulecki, Philipp Pattberg and Frank Biermann While previous assessments have highlighted that UNCSD partnerships vary in function, size, goals and organizational structure (Andonova and Levy 2003; Hale and Mauzerall 2004; Biermann et al. 2007b; Appendix), relatively little is known about why partnerships for sustainable development vary in their problem-solving effectiveness. Many partnerships seem to be ineffective and, at times, not even traceable in empirical research, while others are well known and achieve the organizational goals that they have set for themselves. The key question is then what explains differences in effectiveness between the most effective and the least effective partnerships. This chapter scrutinizes this question with regard to the sub-set of partnerships for sustainable development that focus on energy. Out of the total set of around 340 UNCSD partnerships, 46 are dedicated to sustainable energy, which is primarily understood as the provision of energy from renewable sources or the popularization of means to economize the use of renewable energy. With regard to their primary function, most partnerships in this area seek to contribute to sustainable development through knowledge dissemination and technology transfer (33 per cent), building of institutional capacity and training (22 per cent), technical implementation (17 per cent), knowledge production and innovation (13 per cent), and some other planned functions (15 per cent). Only 8 out of 46 energy partnerships have been established to create new energy infrastructure on the ground, while the majority is engaged in disseminating information and knowledge related to sustainable energy. This chapter assesses...