Multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs) are touted as a vehicle to address complex global prob-lems. One of these MSPs is the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), which includes states and non-state actors in its membership and leadership. Why and how MSPs such as GPEDC receive support, especially from the relatively new actors in global governance, is yet to be fully explored. Thus, using the legitimacy lens, this study examines the CSOs' perspectives towards GPEDC to understand why and how CSOs engage in GPEDC. The argument is that it is inaccurate and insufficient to equate a stake-holder's participation in MSPs, such as the GPEDC, as a proxy of the partnership's legiti-macy. Engagement is deemed more complex and cannot be reduced to acceptance or sup-port to authority or norms. Key informant interviews and documents review were employed to gather data. Further, the sociological and normative concepts of legitimacy are used to develop criteria in assessing legitimacy. The interactions of these reveal relations and political choices by CSOs. CSOs consider GPEDC legitimate but this should be nuanced since findings demonstrate that for CSOs, legitimacy has instrumental value and is content-dependent and conditioned on interest. While the study cannot represent the entirety of CSOs engaging in development cooperation, most of those who participated in the study are driven by the CSOs' agenda and their perceived roles in development. CSOs emphasized that their support on the claim to authority of the GPEDC is defined by the inclusiveness of its structure and processes and how these structures and processes can forward their agenda.

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Biekart, Kees
Governance and Development Policy (GDP)
International Institute of Social Studies

Dulay, Reileen Joy. (2021, December 17). Multistakeholder partnerships and legitimacy: the CSOs’ perception of the global partnership for effective development co-operation. Governance and Development Policy (GDP). Retrieved from