Promoting multi-stakeholder ownership in a changing world: is Swedish development cooperation fit for purpose?

Ownership is a key principle in development assistance. In short it deals with the issue that the partner country should lead and implement development programmes – that is, that the country owns its own development. At the same time, ownership is difficult to put to practice for many donors, particularly in countries with limited institutional capacity or where political power is far from representative for the country at large. The idea of ownership in development assistance has also changed over time, from donorship to ownership and partnership. The Paris agenda, the Accra agenda and the agenda for financing for development are all different political processes trying to translate the principle of ownership to practice.  Agenda 2030 is latest in line where ownership is described as key to sustainable development, but which also raises the importance of ‘multi-stakeholderism’. The challenges that the sustainable development goals respond to are transnational and complex, requiring a combined approach from states, civil society actors and the private sector. Moreover, it is no longer possible to just talk about national ownership, regional and local perspectives must also be included.

This study examines the ownership concept in development assistance, and Sweden’s capability to deliver development assistance in light of the Agenda 2030 and multi-stakeholderism.

Authors: The German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, Stephan Klingebiel

Chairperson of the reference group: Gun-Britt Andersson

Project manager: Richard Sannerholm

Expected publication date: First quarter 2019