Putting Partnerships to Work is based on the work of the Secretariat of the Natural Resources Cluster (NRC) of Business Partners for Development (BPD). This major research programme, which ran from 1998 to 2002, aimed to enhance the role of oil, gas and mining corporations in international development. The programme objective was to produce practical guidance, based on the experience of specific natural resource operations around the world, on how partnerships involving companies, government authorities and civil-society organisations can be an effective means of reducing investment risks and of promoting community and regional development. The programme encompassed partnerships in Colombia, Nigeria, India, Venezuela, Bolivia, Zambia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Tanzania. The specific projects that were implemented included not only `traditional' development projects such as the provision of water, healthcare or infrastructure but also themes as diverse as conflict prevention, regional development, micro-enterprise development and managing oil spill compensation. Based on the experience of establishing and implementing effective partnerships, the NRC identified good practice, and developed replicable guidelines, tools and training materials.
This book is not only about good practice; it presents both the positive outcomes and lessons from the programme, as well as the risks and costs, and where things went wrong. It also provides evidence not only of the viability of partnerships (i.e. that partnerships `can work') but also evidence that partnership approaches can provide substantially better outcomes for all parties than can more traditional approaches to development or corporate social responsibility. For example, a road in India was constructed at 25% of the cost to government; it took just 11 months for a community health centre in Venezuela to become operational and with its long-term financial future assured; and primary education enrolment rates in the vicinity of a gold mine in Tanzania have jumped from a historic level of 60-80% to almost 100% (as a consequence of improved infrastructure and community awareness of the importance of education).