On 17-20 March, the Global Partnership conducted a virtual workshop with over 80 partners, bringing new energy and different perspectives to the development of the work programme, due to be adopted by the Steering Committee in May.
The spread and risks of COVID-19 meant partners were not able to travel to Brussels, at the kind invitation of the European Commission, as planned. But the virtual workshop provided a practical, and safe alternative for partners to convene and discuss issues (and even allowed us to include a few more partners than were due to travel to Brussels).
‘Action area’ leads – driving work on thematic areas under each of the proposed priorities (i. supporting 2030 Agenda implementation, ii. building better partnerships, and iii. leveraging monitoring for action) presented brief ‘pitches’ of proposals, inviting partners to provide feedback, and express their interest in areas of work.
Discussions also touched on how the Global Partnership can support partners at country level, how to best adapt the monitoring exercise, and how we articulate a narrative that brings together the different areas of work into a coherent development offer for the ‘Decade of Action’ toward 2030.
Key conclusions from the workshop included looking ahead to the next high-level meeting on effectiveness in 2022, and what the Partnership wants to deliver at the 2030 Agenda ‘mid-point’:
- A robust demonstration of how the effectiveness principles deliver SDG impact, building the stronger and more inclusive multi-stakeholder partnerships needed to meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda.
- Positioning the Partnership as an important ‘vehicle for change’, with a growing and inclusive community of development stakeholders putting the effectiveness principles into practice.
- A revised framework and process for the Global Partnership’s monitoring exercise, that helps drive behaviour change among partners, focused on accountability at country and global levels.
Partners’ development efforts responding to the fallout, and recovery, from COVID-19 will take centre stage for the immediate period to come. The rest must take the proper precautions to protect themselves and their communities, by travelling less, and continuing their work, where possible, virtually.
At the same time, the Global Partnership, and the many dozens of partners who responded to the invitation of the Co-chairs remain committed to the principles and ethos of effectiveness: working together on the basis of inclusive partnerships, mutual accountability, a focus on results, and country ownership of interventions.
Because principle-based international collaboration is always at the heart of addressing global challenges; even when part of the solution, at this particular moment, is learning to be together a little less – for now.