A sustainable future for all is possible – but only if we work together

How to foster successful partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? What makes a lasting partnership? Where to get funding for all the new initiatives? Nearly 1,000 government and UN officials, civil society representatives and partnership experts tried to answer these questions at the second Partnership Exchange this week.

Held on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the event took a detailed look at partnerships, which are working to eradicate poverty and hunger, ensure quality healthcare and gender equality, boost innovation and infrastructure, and protect our oceans.

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a pathway towards a sustainable future for all, leaving no one behind, with a peaceful and inclusive society, and a healthy planet,” said UN DESA’s Under‑Secretary‑General Wu Hongbo.  “We can only get there by working together.

“SDG 17 recognizes that multi-stakeholder partnerships are important vehicles to mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technologies, and financial resources to support the implementation of the SDGs,” said Mr. Wu.

“Human-induced problems have human-devised solutions,” said Peter Thomson, President of the 71st session ofthe UN General Assembly. “And, more than ever in human history, we have the tools to get the job done.”

“To activate those tools, the essential ingredient is partnership. Throughout the 71st session, we have been focused on strengthening momentum for SDG implementation and time and again, we have witnessed the fact that no SDG can be solved by individual actors alone. Partnerships are and will be the primary movers.”

Experts, policy makers and activists analyzed the challenges that every SDGs partnership, whether global or local, faces in its daily work. The latest Sustainable Development Goals Report published by UN DESA’s Statistics Division warned that a stronger commitment to partnership, particularly in the area of resource mobilization, is needed to achieve the SDGs.

UN DESA is helping to overcome many of these challenges through its online Partnerships for SDGs platform. With over 3,600 registered initiatives involving governments, UN agencies, the private sector and the civil society, the platform is the largest matchmaking tool of its kind.

Not only does it provide a space for networking, but it also establishes a common framework for reporting on progress achieved by partnerships. Each registered initiative submits an annual progress report, which is reviewed and commented on by other users, strengthening accountability and promoting the exchange of experiences.

For all the technological advancement, bringing stakeholders together in one place seems to be the most effective way of fostering new partnerships. The recent Ocean Conference held in New York last month resulted in over 1,400 voluntary commitments by various actors and initiatives to act on Sustainable Development Goal 14 to protect life below water.

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