17 January, 2019

Making Private Sector Partnerships Work for the SDGs: Towards Principles and Guidelines

By Global Partnership

On 16-17 January, the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) hosted a two-day Specialised Policy Dialogue in Paris, bringing together members of the business community, investors, and senior policy-makers and practitioners from government, civil society, trade unions, parliaments and international organisations from all regions.

Hosted as part of the OECD Week on Private Finance for Sustainable Development, the Specialised Policy Dialogue was the start of a new and vital process that will culminate in the launch of principles and guidelines for effective private sector engagement (PSE) through development co-operation at the Senior-Level Meeting (July 2019 at United Nations Headquarters in New York).

Opening the dialogue, Jorge Moreira da Silva, Director of OECD’s Development Co-operation Directorate, highlighted that the GPEDC is uniquely placed to join forces with the private sector to strengthen a common understanding of how to improve project and programme implementation at the country level.

The newly-appointed GPEDC consultative Co-Chair, Vitalice Meja from the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness, added that ‘the challenge of leaving no one behind presents an opportunity to partner with the private sector’ to deliver on the ground, emphasising the need to review and adapt tools for engagement with the private sector, including better supply chain management, delivery mechanisms and accountability frameworks. More specifically, key takeaways related to increasing trust, accountability and alignment were discussed at length throughout the day.

Throughout the sessions, participants stressed that building trust and respect, while a step-by-step process, is the backbone of effective private sector partnerships at the country level. A call to ‘think globally, but act and deliver locally’, was shared by many. The great appetite for collaboration among the development co-operation and business community was greatly welcomed by all participants at the dialogue.

The Business Leaders Caucus, GPEDC’s private sector advisory group, echoed this sentiment, and issued a statement informing the upcoming work on developing principles and guidelines for effective PSE through development co-operation.

The meeting concluded with strong support for the following principles as a draft for consultations:

  1. Strive for integrated business models that deliver development impact and promote innovation
  2. Foster trust through ongoing inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders
  3. Ensure country ownership and recognise local values and expertise
  4. Provide data and information for measuring sustainable development results
  5. Recognise and mitigate risks for all stakeholders
  6. Establish realistic expectations for targeting populations underserved by markets

The GPEDC Dialogue also hosted a very productive side event on ‘Learning from Private Sector Engagement in South-South and Triangular Co-operation’. The dynamic discussion and strong interest from partner countries pointed to a need for more multi-stakeholder dialogue on this important topic, including on impact of the PSE initiatives on the ground and a better understanding of different institutional arrangements and PSE frameworks.

Click here to watch the GPEDC Specialised Policy Dialogue.

Read related blog, Getting Private Sector Engagement on the Right Track: Four Essential Ingredients.

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