The stakeholder interaction model29 analyses the relations between MIs and various levels of stakeholders, including state agencies, NGOs, businesses, commercial banks and the general public. Not least, this model concerns itself with the interactions among MIs, which are characterized by competition versus cooperation as well as by complementarity versus overlap. Traditionally, the interaction among stakeholders has been inadequate, not only in the field of sustainable energy, but in all sectors. For example, in the above-mentioned country evaluation the World Bank acknowledged that in the past, '(...) strategy has not been developed through extensive collaboration with stakeholders'.30 Also governments have contributed to the fragmentation of efforts and the low level of coordination.
29 Mostashari and Sussman 2003.
30 World Bank 2002a, 8.
The stakeholder interaction model requires inclusion both of NGOs as well as the private sector. The relative neglect of the private sector goes against rhetoric to increase private participation in infrastructure, to mobilize the private sector for the environment and development and to build partnerships with private actors. The reliance on state institutions also highlights the fact that the energy sector in transition economies is only partially privatized and that the most powerful actor in the sector is still the state.
There are at least three reasons why cooperation and coordination among stakeholders is often limited in practice:
• The first is a difficult operational environment such as long distances and lack of communication infrastructure.
• The second concerns efficiency. Many enterprises with the highest wastage of energy are in state ownership, and hence it makes sense to target them first. Moreover, focusing on the government rather than a broader selection of partners can ensure easier implementation of projects. Collaboration and coordination involve transaction costs. The inclusion of additional players can cause delays and disagreements, and in some cases disagreements can be a source of project failure.
• The third concerns psychology. Improved cooperation among MIs and stakeholders depends on attitudes and perceptions of individuals in charge of projects. When MI management considers civil society actors immature or otherwise unprepared for projects, it prefers not to involve them. However, the success of the GEF Small Grants Programme shows that collaboration with NGOs and similar organizations can be fruitful and worthwhile.
Most efforts of MIs are relatively fragmented and un-coordinated, and there is little medium- to long-term planning which enables projects to build on each other. Organizations and individuals tend to pursue their idiosyncratic objectives and agendas, and there is little systematic collaboration with other organizations. Although there are cases of coordination and collaboration, these efforts appear to be improvized rather than strategic, and they tend to depend on the initiative of individuals working within international organizations. To make MIs work as a system requires political will and funding. A sufficient number of governments would have to agree to establish and authorize organs of coordination and collaboration.
As the case of the CSD shows, efforts to establish such institutions can fail to lead to synergies and multiplier effects. The CSD was designed to assume a coordinating function, bringing together fragmented UN efforts to promote sustainable development.31 In reality, sustainable development is promoted by numerous agencies within the UN system. Every organization establishes its own strategy and procedures, and there is limited central control and coordination. In the future, organs of collaboration could be established in specific areas where there is a clear need for collaboration; for example, in the area of climate change, where an international emissions market may be established that would require new mechanisms of monitoring and verification.
All share the view that increased collaboration is a desirable target in light of the increasing complexity and cost of global problems. On the other hand, collaboration and coordination is not a guarantee for project success, and stakeholder interaction per se is not a panacea for improving the performance of MIs. The operational environment, efficiency imperatives and human psychology create barriers, which are hard to remove. This has given rise to calls for a more fundamental restructuring of international collaboration—for example, the idea to establish issue networks consisting of people within governments, the private sector, civil society and MIs who work long term on problems such as climate change, thus avoiding the problem of frequent personnel changes and political cycles that diminish the problem-solving effectiveness.
Was this article helpful?
Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.