Comparative Studies of Multi-stakeholder Initiatives


Two academic research articles have been developed on the basis of the MSI studies.

The “Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives for Sustainable Development Goals: The Importance of Interlocutors” was published in 2017 in the Public Administration and Development Journal.

The second article “Ownership dynamics in local multi-stakeholder initiatives” has been published in the Third World Quarterly journal and is now available online.


Policy Summary was developed that presents some of the key findings and recommendations, with a particular focus on inclusion and ownership in country-level MSIs.


The Task Team sees value in studies that could guide it in its work and commissioned a study on what contributes to good performance of multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs).

With an emphasis on in-country initiatives, three questions guided the research:
(i) What country conditions work for and against the effectiveness of MSIs?
(ii) What attributes do interlocutors require and apply to make MSIs successful?
(iii) What do stakeholders’ experiences say about improving MSI performance?

Research was conducted by a team of local consultants in four countries – Costa Rica, Indonesia, Kenya and Kyrgyzstan – under the leadership of Prof. Alan Fowler and Dr. Kees Biekart (Associate Professor at ISS).

This study is relevant considering the emphasis placed on partnerships as an instrument of international development cooperation, including within the framework of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The research resulted in an Extended Summary and four Volumes of work.

Extended Summary – provides a brief overview of the major features and results of the studies to be found in the four volumes that make up the total of reports.

Volume I – Synthesis Report | Country Ownership – Building from Within – combines information about the studies in terms of: concepts, country and case selection, practical issues of field work and analysis of the data gathered.  With a Technical Note (Annex II) that informed the work, this volume draws on the others to summarise results in terms of the three principle research questions and the broad aims of the studies established by the Task Team.

Volume II – Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) as a Multi-stakeholder Initiative | Making Local Ownership Real – describes the one International MSI which was included for comparative purposes – the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.  Written as a standalone, this draws on the Technical Note to guide analysis of the competencies and interactions between an international secretariat and national focal points that are critical for the in-country thrust of the SUN approach.

Volume III – Country Comparison and Reports | Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives and Contextual Conditions – contains  the four country reports and starts with an exercise to see if and how a country context can be understood in terms of its ‘pre-disposition’ to collaborate in MSIs.  The idea is to explore if country level data and Indices – such as a national measure of an Enabling Environment and many others– can be combined and used to assist in strategizing MSIs towards (dis)enabling conditions.  This novel approach to country comparisons is at an early stage of a ‘work in progress’.

Volume IV – Case Studies
is made up of the seventeen case studies grouped by country.  It is the primary empirical source of information gathered by the research teams. Volume IV is only available upon request via our contact form.


The following consultants were involved:

Costa Rica: Ariana Araujo Resenterra and Alonso Ramírez Cover
Indonesia: Vinny Flaviana Hyunanda
Kenya: Peter Biwott and Symphorosa Oundo
Kyrgyzstan: Charles Buxton, Anara Moldosheva and Medet Tiulegenov