National partnership training workshops
  • Kenya, 9-11 December 2019
  • Thailand, February 2020
  • Maldives, date tbc
  • Samoa, date tbc

Live recording from event on Designing and managing SDG partnerships for greatest impact (15 July 2019)

Mr. Ola Goransson, Sustainable Development Officer, Project Coordinator 2030 Agenda Partnership Accelerator, UN DESA project office for Sustainable Development (
The 2030 Agenda Partnership Accelerator, a project by the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) of United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), in collaboration with United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP), and The Partnering Initiative, aims to significantly help accelerate and scale up effective partnerships in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The objectives of the Partnership Accelerator include:
  • Support effective country driven partnership platforms for SDGs - Research and direct support of effective multi-stakeholder partnership platforms and mechanisms for engaging business and other stakeholders, and catalyzing partnerships for the SDGs at national and global level, drawing out best practices and guidance, to assist optimizing emerging platforms, and supporting new generation of UN Resident Coordinators and country teams.

    Direct training support will be offered to member States, UN entities/Resident Coordinators/country teams and other stakeholders wishing to develop new partnership platforms and partnership engagements.

  • Building partnership skills and competencies - Build capacity of relevant stakeholders to develop and implement partnerships for the SDGs, and to support organizations to develop their policy and strategy, systems and processes, legal agreements and culture to support collaboration.

Activities and approach
The project is currently in the phase of research and training content development. The first national partnership training workshop will be held in Nairobi, Kenya on 9 to 11 December 2019. Planning for Thailand, Samoa and Maldives are currently underway. Open webinars will be held Q1/Q2 of 2020.

The outputs from the project will form the 2030 Agenda Partnership Accelerator Resource Library - an online, openly accessible, library of learning modules, case studies on partnerships and platforms, curated case studies, and best practices around the design and implementation of partnerships for the SDGs.

The scope and complexity of the transformations required for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that are at is core are unprecedented. As a result, no government or stakeholder will be able to address the multi-sectoral, cross-pillar global challenges of today alone, instead, the 2030 Agenda can only be achieved if different sectors and actors work together in an integrated manner by pooling financial resources, knowledge and expertise.

SDG 17 on “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”, through its targets 17.16 and 17.17, recognizes the critical importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share the finance, knowledge, expertise and technology to support the achievement of SDGs in all countries. The targets also highlight the need to promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships.

Over the recent years, the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships in supporting the implementation of sustainable development has also been increasingly recognized by member States and different stakeholders, including leading institutions in international development and the private sector. This is evident in the many UN Conferences that have resulted in the launch of new multi-stakeholder partnerships and voluntary commitments.

At the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS Conference) in 2014, 300 multi-stakeholder partnerships devoted to the sustainable development of SIDS were announced, covering areas such as oceans and seas, climate change, biodiversity, resilience-building, sustainable economic growth, renewable energy and disaster risk reduction. In 2017, at the UN Ocean Conference, over 1,400 voluntary commitments for concrete action to advance implementation of SDG 14 targets were made by all stakeholders, including governments, the United Nations system, civil society organizations, academia, the scientific community, and the private sector. Collectively, these partnerships and commitments make considerable contributions to supporting the implementation of the SDGs.

Despite the strong rhetoric for the engagement of multi-stakeholder partnerships for supporting implementation of the SDGs – the reality is that we are still only scratching the surface in terms of the number, and quality, of partnerships required to deliver the SDGs. The 2018 Partnership Exchange, held in the margins of the 2018 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) explored and identified, among other issues, a key building blocks to build an enabling environment for partnerships to systemically scale up collaboration among a range of stakeholders for driving the implementation of the SDGs, and to run effective partnership action platforms which convene societal sectors around SDG priorities, and catalyze implementation of innovative initiatives. These included:

  • Developing the competencies of actors from all societal sectors need to effectively partner, including building an understanding of other sectors, relationship and partnership-building skills, and a technical knowledge of the building blocks of value-creating partnerships;
  • Institutions and organizations need to be set up to be fit for partnering: i.e. to have in place the strategies, systems and processes, staff capacities and support, and culture that are optimized to incentivize and support working collaboratively with others;
  • Setting up mechanisms or platforms that can physically convene government, business, UN, donors and civil society around SDG priorities to catalyze and support partnership development.

Within many countries, there has been considerable progress made with respect to country driven partnership platforms for dialogue and consultation on development priorities. Dialogue alone, however, is not sufficient to catalyze the necessary collaborative action. There exists a modest but growing number of partnership platforms which are designed to convene stakeholders and development actors around the SDGs, and then help to build the innovative partnerships needed to deliver on the SDGs. There is however currently very limited research or guidance around effective models for such SDG platforms.

With respect to institutional partnership-readiness, some UN entities, international NGOs and donors have made an analysis of the degree to which they are fit for partnering and begun the process of reducing obstacles to partnering, increasing incentives and improving their systems and capacities. They are, however, among the exception and most organizations are far from partnership-optimized.

United Nations