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Leverage key partner competencies to ensure a successful project outcome


Leverage key partner competencies to ensure a successful project outcome

Leverage key partner competencies to ensure a successful project outcome

Posted on August 31, 2021 by Lillian Holmes

Authoring Organizations: CEO Water Mandate
Consulting Organizations: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Universal: No
Applicable Phases: Commit
Last Updated Jul 12, 2024


Partnerships that span multiple actors and sectors will necessarily span a variety of organizational competencies. As the partnership determines its goals and structure, assess both the skills needed to achieve those goals and the skills of the existing partners. Ensure that the structure of the partnership caters to each partner’s strengths.


  • Designing project structure and goals around existing partners’ competencies will ensure that the partnership is able to succeed in a cost-effective manner.
  • Assessing existing partners’ competencies will also allow outside assistance to be brought in as needed.


  • Use Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework (NRAF) Tool 17: Identify Skills Needed to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your partnerships’ competencies and external help needed.
  • Formalize partners’ contributions using NRAF Tool 20: Letter of commitment or Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Ensure that project tasks correspond to each partners’ strengths.


The Coalición Agua para Colombia is an initiative to improve climate change resilience and water security in Colombia by inspiring collective action, promoting better corporate water sustainability practices, and strengthening the water funds to protect the water security of cities. The initiative has many partners spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. It is divided into several work areas composed of multiple partners. Each work area benefits from the respective partners’ strengths.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a global nonprofit conservation organization, serves as technical secretariat due to the organization’s expertise in nature-based solutions. The promoting group includes many partners from different sectors who speak to the need to act collectively to improve Colombia’s water security, publicizing the initiative and carrying out its work under four work tables.

The initiative has also identified several champion organizations and agencies to broaden its visibility, including the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development and Andesco, a non-profit guild association of companies in the utilities and communications sector. Within this partner ecosystem, the UN Global Compact Local Network Colombia (UNGC Colombia) was able to make a key intervention by leveraging its network of businesses to assess circular water management best practice in Colombia and share their findings with the partnership.

UNGC Colombia’s contribution was enabled by the partnership’s choice to base each partner’s contributions on their unique strength, with UNGC Colombia bringing its business knowledge, TNC contributing technical knowledge and governance, the champions expanding the Coalición’s reach, and the members of the promoting group contributing work under the partnership’s four work tables.

Projects that have validated this Lesson

None found.

This lesson learned reflects the beliefs and experiences of the author, not necessarily the Pacific Institute, CEO Water Mandate, or UN Global Compact.