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CHAPTER 1: The Meaning of Partnership


It is important to understand the exact role that funders can and should have in furthering a partnership approach. Capacity building for high quality process management needs to be incorporated from program design to the starting phase and from the implementation to the scaling phase. The inclusion of SDG 17 partnerships for the Goals in this goal set identifies critical actors for the implementation of the sustainable and just future for all that the SDGs aim to achieve. Partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaboration between business, NGOs, government, donors and communities at all levels are essential for achieving the SDGs, and that partnering activities will be needed at scale.

SDG 17 aims to revitalize global partnerships for sustainable development.

Collaborate with Your Partners

A successful sustainable development agenda should enhance multi-stakeholder collaboration, bringing funders together with governments, civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and a multitude of other actors, in an effort to leverage the potential of collaboration and mobilize all available resources. Moreover, these partnerships are needed at global, regional, national and local levels.

Multi-stakeholder partnerships are therefore crucial in order to enhance the delivery of the Global Goals. Actors have begun to work collaboratively in their efforts to address SDG challenges, with examples including the Geneva Ecosystem , the German support platform for Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships , as well as partnership capacity building institutions such as the Collective Leadership Institute , the Partnering Initiative , the Partnerships Resource Centre , Partnerships in Practice , and the Partnership Brokers Association.

Collaboration in Action, 1st Edition

But what is required to ensure that multi-stakeholder partnerships are able to meet the complex and interlinked challenges of sustainability? And how can funders contribute to making the collaboration journey a success? At present, a growing number of bilateral and multilateral donors have started to not only collaborate with NGOs, but also the private sector as part of their development strategies.

Concurrently, such funders expect funded institutions and civil society organizations to collaborate and form partnerships with different sectors within society. But what is greatly underestimated is that partnership projects follow a different planning and implementation logic than the more traditional project management approach. Moreover, it is important to understand the exact role that funders can and should have in furthering a partnership approach.

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How can they enable all involved institutions to successfully engage in multi-actor partnerships? Because of the different planning and implementation logic described above, effective multi-stakeholder partnerships around the 17 SDGs require not only innovative ways of thinking, but also different skills to implement projects and programs differently.

However, many donor organizations are still unaware that partnering can only become effective with increased competencies and skills for effective stakeholder collaboration. This step can take the form of tailored capacity building matching the needs of the partnerships, or can take place as exchanges of experience, provision of guidance or handbooks or establishing learning communities that help actors to accelerate good practices in partnering.

In order to ensure the best possible results for multi-stakeholder partnerships, it is important that funders invest in these forms of capacity building and implementation support. Building well-functioning cooperation systems is what makes partnerships successful. For the innovative mindset of collaboration to succeed against historical habits of working in silos and competition, donors and implementation agencies should approach project implementation and societal change learning requirements with an open mind.

Building competence for partnering — from the local to international levels — is paramount for achieving not only SDG 17, but all of the other Sustainable Development Goals as well. The Collective Leadership Institute as an international not-for-profit organisation has built collaboration competencies for SDG implementation of more than change agents around the globe.

By Cheeying Ho cho[at]whistlercentre.

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Facebook Twitter Google. From the Business Network for Sustainability NBS report, the key reasons and benefits for building partnerships are to: Innovate — learn from each other; collectively create new solutions Achieve sustainability goals — work together to tackle social, environmental and economic issues in an integrated way, not dealing with one set of issues without consideration, or at the expense of, others Gain access to skills and resources — bring different skillsets, resources and individual networks together Increase legitimacy — a partnership comprising different sectors e.

Here are some tips from NBS to ensure effective, collaborative partnerships work: Be inclusive share power, find consensus, clarify decision-making authority Set expectations agree on ground rules, handle conflict, create accountability, be patient! Build understanding explore differences, create a shared vision, encourage continuous learning Develop relationships build trust, develop leadership Furthermore, Peter Senge , from the MIT Sloan School of Management, also includes these conditions to ensure traction: Focus on pressing practical problems.

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Focus on transforming relationships. Create spaces for reflection and deeper conversation. Recognize the role of the partners in the problem and consequently be open to changes within.

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Is your community ready? Search for:. Albert sustainable vision Walking Tour World Cafe. Build a stronger shared-value based local economy through mentorship, support and collaborative action.