Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in times of COVID-19 will require, now more than ever, scaling up effective co-operation and partnerships across public, private, national and international stakeholders. The COVID-19 crisis is impacting economic systems and financing for development, including some of the effectiveness challenges noted in the Global Partnership’s 2019 Progress Report on Making Development Co-operation More Effective. These effectiveness challenges pertain to, for example, development partners’ declining alignment to partner country priorities and country-owned results frameworks; a deteriorating enabling environment for civil society organisations; the changing role of private sector actors in development; and mixed progress in making development co-operation more transparent. Mutual accountability mechanisms, while they remain strong in some countries, have not adequately adapted to reflect the whole-of-society efforts needed to deliver the SDGs. 

How can these challenges be concretely addressed? The country-led Action Dialogues 2021 will seek to spark policy, system, and behavioural change toward better partnerships for development, drawing upon the evidence and data from the Global Partnership’s monitoring of effective development co-operation (where available) and the four effectiveness principles – country ownership, inclusive partnerships, focus on results, and transparency and mutual accountability. They will bring country level experiences and partnerships to center stage and help partner country governments and their partners leverage the full potential of development co-operation and partnerships to build back better and beyond, towards meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

This document provides guidance, as well as tools and technical resources, to partner country governments to undertake an Action Dialogue in 2021, in collaboration with their partners (including development partners, civil society, the private sector, parliamentarians, trade unions, foundations and academia). It can help countries and their partners reflect on the most pressing issues and challenges related to the effectiveness of development co-operation as they develop a plan of action to improve the quality of partnerships and their results. Finally, it suggests how partner country governments and stakeholders can use the Global Partnership platform to share the outcomes of their Action Dialogues 2021 and shape the global discourse on effective development co-operation and partnerships in the run-up to and at the next High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership in 2022.