New Partnerships for Sustainability (NEPSUS)

Project summary

New and more complex partnerships are emerging to address the sustainability of natural resource use in developing countries. These partnerships variously link donors, governments, community-based organizations, NGOs, business, certification agencies and other intermediaries. High expectations and many resources have been invested in these initiatives. Yet, we still do not know whether more complexity, including more sophisticated organizational structures and inclusive processes, has delivered better sustainability outcomes, and if so, in what sectors and under which circumstances. In particular, we need a greater understanding of: the role played by facilitators in forging these initiatives; how partnerships obtain and manage legitimacy in different arenas; and how these factors may result in different outcomes. To fill this knowledge gap and build capacity in this area, NEPSUS assembles a multidisciplinary team to analyze partnerships with different degrees of complexity through structured comparisons in three key natural resource sectors in Tanzania: wildlife, coastal resources and forestry. These sectors have established traditions for co-management and partnerships, but have also experienced recent innovations, and constitute important elements of rural livelihood strategies. Tanzania provides an ideal case for researching the impact of new partnerships on sustainability outcomes because policy and program implementation in these three sectors are heavily dependent on their success.

Outputs

Extra midterm report:
The project has progressed very well -- in 2018 the last phase of fieldwork was carried out, followed by regular data analysis and writing workshops. The first articles in international peer-reviewed journals have now been published, while others are in progress. The edited book has now been completed and awaits a second review from the publisher (the first review is quite positive). Two out of the three PhDs have successfully defended their theses, with the third defending in the next few weeks. One more PhD was recruited. Due to Covid restrictions, the final writing workshop was carried out only by the Tanzanian members of the team, with the Northern team participating online. The final conference, originally scheduled for March 2021, has been postponed to November 2021 because of uncertainty regarding the safety of carrying out an in-person 2-day meeting, which is something the Tanzanian team places a lot of value on. All members of the NEPSUS team have been active in data analysis and writing, both individually, in small groups and through joint workshops. The only other deliverable currently being worked on is the policy briefs that will be presented and discussed at the final conference. One of the challenges in the past year or so has been to maintain group cohesion given that the whole team has not been able to meet since late 2019, but this has been partially addressed by digital communication -- including the digital broadcasting of the two PhD defences.

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