Hybrid governance instruments such as public-private partnerships are increasingly applied in so-called emerging countries, in particular Brazil, India and China (the ‘BRICs’). With a more diverse set of influential political actors involved in global governance, the question arises whether existing global governance institutions are effective and legitimate.
This paper focuses on partnerships in China’s sustainable development. China has witnessed rapid economic transition from a plan economy to a market economy. In the course of these developments, China faces increasing ecological stress and social inequity. Reform and intensification of China’s sustainable development governance seems necessary. Are partnerships the road to go? Does China successfully appropriate the partnership model and integrate it into its domestic governance? This paper discusses how Partnerships for Sustainable Development were brokered at the 2002 Worlds Summit for Sustainable Development, in spite of initial resistance by developing countries; and whether a prevalent partnership model is emerging in China.