Why do partnerships matter to create a sustainable future?

Updated: Sep 18

SDG 17 and the power of collaboration to support post-COVID recovery.

Even before the Covid-19 global pandemic, the scale of funding required for us to achieve Agenda 2030 seemed daunting. Even the most conservative estimates put the figure at around US$2.5 trillion each and every year to 2030.

COVID and its unequal impact has already raised this to US$3.7million a year according to the OECD.

With shrinking resources and greater need, we need to make sure that every pound, or dollar, or Euro, or yuan delivers the most impact possible.

Achieving that to steer back on course for Agenda 2030 will require us to think creatively about cross-sector collaborations and alignment across geo-political divides.

"Now, more than ever, the world requires the robust and scalable power of finance to address its most pressing global problems – problems such as climate change and inequality that, just like COVID-19, transcend our international borders. We must be working alongside world governments and non-profits. " Amit Bouri, CEO, Global Impact Investors Network, GIIN, 2020

We know the theory, and the urgent need to get this right. So how can we put the theory of partnerships for sustainable development into practice?

We can break this huge global challenge down into two key areas: Where to target our efforts and how we can pull our resources together from the largest investor to the ordinary individual.

Zoning In: Knowing Where to Focus On

The foundations of any good and effective partnership start with a collective vision. For the full value of that partnership to be realised, that vision needs clearly outlined shared goals and a plan.

The SDGs themselves are of course the first starting point for that shared vision and roadmap (for more on this see our previous Blog here).

Even with the impact of COVID, the world does have enough resources to deliver on all the SDGs.

The Global Gross Domestic Product (the summary of the GDP of all the countries in the world) (Growth of the global gross domestic product (GDP) 2026 | Statista) fell by 3.7% in 2020 but is already predicted to bounce back by over 6% in 2021 to a figure of around US$90 trillion.

Investing in the SDGs makes economic sense for us all, but there is a lack of capital movement at scale into these priorities.

In part, this is driven by understandable concerns over domestic recovery plans in some of the largest economies and the desire to hold back resources for those. In part, this is also driven by a lack of shared global agreement on the short medium and longer term investments needed.

One way of unlocking this is to identify the most urgent and transformative priorities to achieve the baseline SDG-targets in the least developed economies.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (unsdsn.org) has done precisely that. Its plan is precise and based on creative financial partnerships and targets across all sectors. It also outlines a much lower figure for the SDG-aligned investments that will make the most difference now and to reduce financing required in the future.