Stakeholders Embrace Country-Level Frameworks & Resilient Partnerships: 2018 UN High-Level Political Forum

Today, in the margins of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, the governments of Bangladesh and the Republic of Korea co-hosted a Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation side event on Enhancing the global partnership for sustainable development: Country-level frameworks for resilient, multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Attended by over 100 participants, the event brought together stakeholders from various circles including government, civil society, the private sector, academia and UN agencies to discuss good practices and progress on institutionalising multi-stakeholder frameworks at the country level to increase the effectiveness of co-operation and support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In today’s evolving international landscape, development challenges are increasingly complex, persistent and interlinked. As such, achieving sustainable development for everyone, everywhere, calls for strong, equal partnerships between all stakeholders. Participation of civil society organisations, the private sector and other local development partners in all phases of development policy-making, planning and implementation helps ensure that resources are used effectively, capitalising on the comparative advantage of every stakeholder group and sharing resources, technology and knowledge.

However, the state of play from the last round of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) shows that many countries face challenges in consolidating effective multi-stakeholder engagement, particularly facilitating meaningful stakeholder participation and maintaining collaborative relationships. The GPEDC’s monitoring framework, which measures country-level progress in this domain, also underscores similar challenges.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Ambassador Cho Tae-yul, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN, emphasized that one of GPEDC’s unique features is its multi-stakeholder platform, calling the national-level monitoring framework “a demonstration of how stakeholders and partners engage in development co-operation in the era of SDGs by measuring their development impact at the national level.” Bangladesh’s Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, also recognised that to leave no one behind and meet global promises by 2030, we need to effectively engage all relevant stakeholders in development policy- making, planning and implementation, much like Bangladesh’s own local consultative processes and spaces for open dialogue and coordinated policies.

The side event generated evidence-based dialogue, with a wide array of panelists presenting including Ministers from the Dominican Republic and Egypt, representatives from the government of Honduras, civil society (CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness), private sector (Center for International Private Enterprise), and multi-lateral institutions (World Bank). The discussions led an honest debate around how country-level, multi-stakeholder partnerships can help implement the SDGs and how they might be reflected in VNRs.

Joining 46 other countries who have reported to this year’s VNR process and having also participated in the GPEDC’s 2016 monitoring round, Egypt spoke to the importance of aligning development partners’ programmes with country frameworks and national priorities. Dominican Republic also appreciated the GPEDC’s monitoring process in that it allows for countries and development partners to thoroughly assess their yearly progress in effective development co-operation. Honduras also announced its ongoing plans to participate in the GPEDC’s 2018 monitoring round.

During the event, practitioners from civil society, banks and private sector embraced multi-actor partnerships. Ms. Jaehyang So, a representative from the World Bank, stressed that sharing country best practices, like GPEDC aims to do with the Global Compendium and Knowledge-Sharing Platform, is important in identifying opportunities for collaboration. Additionally, Dr. Kim Bettcher, representing the private sector, mentioned that more progress can be made with promising initiatives, such as the GPEDC’s business leader caucus, and potential SDG funding opportunities amounting to around US $12 trillion.

In a recent blog, H.E. Ms. Hyunjoo Oh, Director-General of International Co-operation of the Republic of South Korea, supported such events, calling them ‘inclusive, unique and evidence-based’ as they explore context-specific opportunities for successful development partnerships – the key to achieving the global goals for everyone, everywhere.

For more information on the event, click here.

To read a summary of the event, click here.



Asia P3 Hub cleans up: Partnership approaches for social impact

Tarannum is a cheerful, bright-eyed 8-year old girl living in Topsia slum, a crowded neighbourhood of seemingly makeshift homes in Kolkata, India, with a wastewater canal running through it. Tarannum’s family and neighbours are amongst the 163 million people in India who do not have access to basic water services [i].

Hygiene practices are poor across India. An assessment conducted by World Vision in 15 schools in Kolkata, including Tarannum’s school, found that 83% of the students wash their hands before meals – but only with water. Tarannum used to be one of the many children with little awareness about the importance of hand washing with soap.

At World Vision, hope fuels our best efforts. We believe a world without poverty is not only possible, but is within reach. In order for Tarannum’s life to improve, the system in which she lives needs to be re-shaped. We are convinced that multi-sector partnerships – those involving government, civil society, business, UN agencies and / or other non-state actors, including academia – are a critical vehicle by which to drive this change. As innovative solutions are co-developed and linked by a shared goal, the promise of a better life for children like Tarannum can be achieved.

We need to see more intentionality in enabling these kinds of partnerships to flourish. In 2016, World Vision published a policy paper, Delivering on the Promise, developed with The Partnering Initiative, which outlines how this can happen. Based on fifty interviews with experts from different backgrounds and perspectives, the paper focuses on multi-stakeholder platforms for partnership – a key element of strengthening a supportive environment for collaboration at the country level. These platforms bring together organisations from all sectors of society around a particular issue; they seek to facilitate innovative, collaborative approaches and directly broker and support tangible action – they provide a systematic approach to getting partnerships to scale.

Among other key questions, this paper explores how platforms can ensure that they deliver for the most vulnerable. This question is critical for achieving Agenda 2030 – not only are we committed to leaving no-one behind, but all efforts will be made to first reach those left furthest behind. World Vision champions this approach to work for the most vulnerable children – children like Tarannum.

World Vision is not only performing research and writing papers on platforms for partnership, we are also turning our thinking into action and practice.

In July 2016, World Vision launched Asia P3 Hub, a multi-stakeholder platform for partnerships and innovations aimed at catalysing new solutions to development and humanitarian challenges in the Asia-Pacific region. Based in Singapore, which is host to more than 180 water companies, the initial thematic focus of the platform is water, sanitation and hygiene, directly supporting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 and 17.

For instance, Asia P3 Hub recently brokered a partnership between World Vision India and Clean the World [ii], in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. This year-long programme to implement handwashing education for approximately 4,000 elementary school children will help improve health and school attendance. The poor hygiene practices noted earlier contribute to the prevalence of diarrhoea, which is the third leading cause of childhood mortality in India.

One of the schools targeted by the partnership is attended by Tarannum. She observed that her friends often used to be absent due to stomach problems. However, after the handwashing campaign started, she noted, ‘I can see most of my friends are regular in school. This campaign has taught me how important it is to wash hands properly, and the changes it can bring to all of us. Now before our mid-day-meal, all of us gather to wash our hands with soap and we check one another whether we are washing the right way’.

Through catalysing partnerships like this one, Asia P3 Hub aims to improve the quality of life and inspire hope for millions of children across the Asia-Pacific – millions of children like Tarannum.

[i] WHO/UNICEF JMP Report 2017

[ii] A not-for-profit organisation with a twofold mission: to collect and recycle soap discarded every day by the hospitality industry; and through the distribution of these, prevent millions of hygiene-related deaths each year, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses and encourage vigorous childhood development.


About the Authors:

Christy Davis is the Executive Director of Asia P3 Hub. She brings 25 years’ Asia experience from the corporate, UN and NGO sectors to champion multi-sector partnerships for market-driven solutions to poverty issues. Christy can be contacted on twitter at @ChristyWVI

Phearak Svay is Asia P3 Hub’s Senior Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Partnership Advisor with over two decades of experience in international and community development.  Phearak can be contacted at

Mike Wisheart is World Vision International’s senior advisor for business sector engagement within the Advocacy and External engagement team. Mike can be contacted at and on twitter @MikeWisheart.

Utilizing Data and Partnerships to Realise the SDGs

One year ago, in September 2015, world leaders and citizens adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — a transformative plan of action based on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It seeks to end hunger and extreme poverty, make societies more equitable, and better protect the environment. Leaders and citizens are now tasked with making progress on urgent global problems as the world works together to meet these goals before the deadline on December 31, 2030.

This past year has given stakeholders additional insight as to what it will take to achieve the 2030 Agenda and how it differs from its predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) framework, which was the first-ever global effort to set and meet development goals. The SDG Agenda builds on the success of the MDGs, but is different in several ways.

The SDG Agenda is universal – it applies to all countries. This is significant for the United States, where one in five children lives in a food-insecure household. The SDGs set out to create a world in which, no matter where they live, no child goes to school hungry and no mother has to choose which child to feed. Reflecting the reality that every country has room for improvement, the SDGs are comprehensive, enabling countries of all incomes to set national targets.

The universality of the SDGs comes at an opportune time. The demographics of extreme poverty have changed considerably since 1990, when more than 90 percent of the world’s poor lived in low-income countries. Today, more than 70 percent of all poor people live in middle-income countries. This is potentially good news, because middle-income countries have better access to resources needed to meet the SDGs. However, the only way to achieve the SDGs’ key feature of leaving no one behind is for these countries to join together to identify ways to embed the SDG Agenda in their national policies and plans.

Significant progress has been made in achieving global goals such as food and nutrition security, gender equality and access to education. But there is a long way to go. Numerous threats — including climate change, humanitarian crises that have displaced millions of people and infectious diseases such as the Ebola and Zika viruses — threaten to reverse global, national and/or community gains. Political and financial resources are needed to respond to high unemployment rates, particularly among youth, rising inequality among countries and within them and a slowed global economy.

Unlike the MDG framework, the 2030 Agenda goes beyond listing individual goals. It calls for integrating three dimensions of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental — in a comprehensive global vision. It puts far more emphasis on how issues are connected with each other. Progress on one goal necessarily impacts progress on others.

The 2030 framework also introduces a detailed “how to get there” approach, with strong emphasis on means of implementation, technology and capacity building. As Bread for the World Institute has emphasized, strengthening the capacity of local institutions is the bedrock of sustainable development outcomes. It requires data and strong local capacity to provide an evidence base to support effective policymaking.

For example, climate change poses a threat to the goal of ending hunger. Minimizing this threat will require that all governments commit to fully implementing the Paris Agreement, and that national governments, the private sector and civil society forge accountable multi-stakeholder approaches to designing agricultural policies and programs.

One year after its adoption, it’s worth asking how the SDG Agenda is evolving. Preliminary evidence shows that there is immense need for better data to identify gaps and track progress. Most low-income countries have weak statistical systems, making it difficult to assess the well-being of vulnerable and often marginalized populations.

For example, the available evidence suggests that children from the poorest households and rural areas in a given country are more than twice as likely to be stunted as compared with their peers from the wealthiest families. However, the data needed to confirm the accuracy of this understanding and enable countries to track the progress of efforts to improve nutrition among their poorest families is rarely systematically collected. This is why the U.N. Statistical Commission has initiated a process for developing a framework to measure the success of the 17 SDGs and the 169 targets they contain.

Such data and methodological challenges can be overcome, but only if political leaders and communities are motivated to do so. The momentum generated by a truly global effort to bring “all hands on deck” to tackle these problems will help to build and sustain political will that is strong enough to carry the world through to 2030 with substantial progress toward, if not full achievement of, all 17 SDGs.

Note: This is adapted from an article originally published here.