Transformative Partnerships 2030 at the ECOSOC Partnership Forum

The 2022 ECOSOC Partnership Forum was held on February 2, 2022 with the theme Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Forum brought together an array of different stakeholders to debate solutions and policies to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic guided by the Sustainable Development Goals.

Transformative Partnerships 2030 was well represented at the ECOSOC Partnership Forum, with most of the team observing and participating through the online platform. The project was also included in a presentation at one of the official Forum sessions.

In the Partnership Exchange session "Experiences from partnering during the COVID-19 pandemic", Drs. Emily Clough and Graham Long of Newcastle University presented the results of a survey they conducted to help understand how voluntary initiatives and multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) are supporting the implementation of the SDGs, the challenges they face, and the kinds of support that would prove most effective. The survey included questions submitted by the Transformative Partnerships 2030 team, whose project was introduced in the scholars' presentation.

The survey findings presented at the session revealed several interesting trends with important consequences for research on MSPs for sustainable development. Key findings include the following (results from the Transformative Partnerships 2030 team's questions are in bold):

  • 83% of respondents said their partnerships pursued synergies between the SDGs with poverty, education, and climate action ranking the highest.
  • Only 26% of respondents saw tradeoffs between SDGs in their work, but SDG13 - climate change action - was the goal most frequently identified as involving tradeoffs.
  • According to respondents, growth in MSPs is overwhelmingly in the area of health. MSPs claimed to work on 4 goals on average.
  • MSPs were most active in Sub-Saharan Africa and globally, and least active in Oceania and Central Asia.
  • MSPs work closely with certain groups - including youth, women, and NGOs - but they remain mostly unengaged with LGBTQI+ people and ethnic minorities.
  • Finance is the most significant challenge for MSPs.
  • The most serious challenge that respondents identified within MSPs was insufficient commitments from partners.
  • Learning and innovation were the most commonly identified elements of "added value" from partnerships; there is limited evidence that partnerships produce transformative, integrated, or synergistic effects.
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