Public–Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development
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Public–Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Emergence, Influence and Legitimacy

Edited by Philipp Pattberg, Frank Biermann, Sander Chan and Ayşem Mert

The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg is remembered mainly for the promotion of a novel form of global governance: the so-called ‘partnerships for sustainable development’. This book provides a first authoritative assessment of partnerships for sustainable development, ten years after the Johannesburg Summit.
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Chapter 4: The Overall Effects of Partnerships for Sustainable Development: More Smoke than Fire?

Frank Biermann, Sander Chan, Ayşem Mert and Philipp Pattberg


Frank Biermann, Sander Chan, Ayşem Mert and Philipp Pattberg As the previous chapters have shown, transnational public–private partnerships have become a highly visible and highly discussed element of global sustainability governance. Especially since the 2002 Johannesburg WSSD, transnational public–private partnerships have multiplied, now counting well above 300 partnerships in the register maintained by the United Nations. In policy and academic debates alike, partnerships are promoted as solution to deadlocked intergovernmental negotiations, to ineffective treaties and overly bureaucratic international organizations, to power-based state policies, corrupt elites and many other real or perceived current problems of global governance. The previous chapter explained in detail the emergence of partnerships as a key element of the ‘post-Johannesburg process’. Yet despite the creation of hundreds of partnerships since 2002, the role and relevance of this new type of global governance remains contested. The systematic assessment of the influence of partnerships in global sustainability governance is hence one of the core tasks that we undertake in this book. We do this at different levels and by different methods. Chapters 5 and 9 look in detail at the effects that partnerships have in specific sectors, notably energy governance and water governance. Chapters 6 and 7 analyse the effects of partnerships in specific regions, that is, Asia and Africa. Chapters 8, 9 and 10 study specific elements of partnerships that might help explain, among other things, their effectiveness in resolving pressing problems of global governance, looking in particular at the legitimacy of partnerships. This chapter...

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