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Ep23: Herman Brouwer and Joost Guijt on Power in Multi-stakeholder Partnerships

Episode summary

In this episode we explore the role of power in multistakeholder partnerships (MSPs) with two people who are no strangers to this topic - Herman Brouwer and Joost Guijt, both at Wageningen University and Research. In this conversation we ask: what are MSPs, do they actually work, and what are the different ways that power plays out in them? We learn how different food stakeholders perceive MSPs differently, whether the UN Food Systems Summit could be considered a successful MSP, and some tips and tricks for dealing with power in MSPs. 

[ Transcript available ]

About Herman Brouwer

Herman Brouwer is a senior advisor at the Wageningen Center for Development Innovation (WCDI) at Wageningen University and Research. He works on multistakeholder engagement in food, agriculture, and nature, and is a development policy and institutional change specialist focusing on capacity development and organisational learning. Herman has decades of experience in facilitation and research, and was the primary author of the WCDI report: the MSP Tool Guide, which is available in English, French and Spanish. Alongside co-authors, he has published the third edition of The MSP guide: how to design and facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships in 2019.


About Joost Guijt

Joost Guijt is a senior advisor on inclusive agrimarkets at Wageningen University and Research. He has 25 years of experience working with all facets of sustainable food systems, from farming to business to research, lobby and advocacy at the national and the EU level. Joost is also the knowledge manager at WCDI. His work focuses on developing more inclusive ways of doing agribusiness. He is driven by the question: how can we ensure that all those who work in the agrifood sector can benefit structurally and fairly from the creation of one of humanities' basic needs - tasty, healthy, ample food? To do that, Joost focuses on learning more effectively from inclusive agribusiness ventures to inspire, inform and influence new initiatives.

Recent work on food systems transformation includes working with IFAD on a food systems and poverty perspective as well as developing rapid analytical processes for understanding shocks to food systems.


Related resources on navigating power in MSPs

Are multi-stakeholder platforms effective approaches to agri-food sustainability? Towards better assessment (Thorpe, Sprenger, Guijt, & Stibbe, 2021)

“Let us be led by the residents”: Swedish dialogue experts’ stories about power, justification and ambivalence (Westin, Mutter, Calderon & Hellquist, 2021)

The framing of power in communicative planning theory: Analysing the work of John Forester, Patsy Healey and Judith Innes (Westin, 2021)

The MSP Guide - 3rd Edition (Brouwer & Woodhill, 2019)

Analysing stakeholder power dynamics in multi-stakeholder processes: insights of practice from Africa and Asia (Brouwer et al., 2013)

Power dynamics in multistakeholder processes: A balancing act (Hiemstra, Brouwer, & van Vugt, 2012)


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