Shared responsibility of all actors

Responsibility for implementing the 2030 Agenda and achieving the SDGs is not merely a matter for the governments of the nation states but is a task that concerns everyone: civil society, the private sector, the academic and research community and governments. The approach based on equal partnerships calls for stronger cooperation between the different actors at local, regional, national and international level and for the use of the Agenda’s goals and principles as a shared strategic vision of all stakeholders for promoting peaceful and sustainable development. Governments continue to be responsible for putting in place the required policy frameworks and ensure that appropriate priorities are set in light of the global ambitions.

This is a particularly challenging task in contexts of fragility and violence because priority might be given to less politically sensitive themes that were not inclusively negotiated. In the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, several fragile pilot countries joined donor countries, multilateral organisations and civil society in the participatory implementation of the New Deal, which also takes account of the 2030 Agenda

New partnerships are intended to help overcome existing static donor-recipient patterns. They unite governments, civil society, the private sector, the UN system and other actors, for example within multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs). SDG 17, Partnerships for the goals, clearly highlights the importance of MSPs. Targets 17.16 and 17.17 also specify the role of MSPs as regards mobilising and sharing knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources. States are called on to work together more effectively with civil-society and private sector actors. The Agenda does not, however, define MSPs any further. The number of actors these include and the degree to which they focus on specific themes and formalise their arrangements may differ widely.

Designing MSPs in the context of violent conflict is a highly sensitive matter, given that polarised societies and the experience of violence and discrimination make it more difficult to bring different actors together. Building trust may be a long, protracted process.

You will find the criteria that apply to GIZ on IDA.

Partnerships provide added value for all stakeholders. Cooperation between governmental and non-governmental actors promotes constructive relationships between state and society as well as social inclusion (as demanded in target 16.7). Multi-stakeholder partnerships are not a fundamentally new approach in German DC. Many projects collaborate with a range of different actors, and partnerships are consciously fostered, for example in the form of NGO alliances, partnerships between individual NGOs and ministries, public-private partnerships, specific mechanisms designed to steer compliance with the requirements of commissioning parties and clients, etc. In contexts marked by violence and conflict, or post-war contexts, the fact of bringing together potential partners may be a success in itself, given that the mutual trust that is an essential prerequisite for a successful partnership takes time to grow.

Joint responsibility also means that each partner accepts responsibility for development. This principle also presupposes the provision of development funding by the country’s government and the provision of additional funds by the private sector. Transformation as understood by the 2030 Agenda cannot be realised with government funding alone. The crucial factor for acquiring private funding is for government incentives and regulations to be correctly put in place so that private investments can be redirected towards activities that promote sustainability

The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) provides the framework in this connection and is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda. The UN member states reached an agreement concerning how funds must be mobilised, and which funds are required, to achieve sustainable development. They also addressed the issue of how structural reforms should be designed to promote sustainable development in the fields of trade, financial systems, taxes and state debt.

Global partnerships

A number of different governance alliances are in the process of being formed at global level, in some cases with local groups. Some of our partner countries have already joined such alliances:

  • The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international initiative whose member states are making efforts to promote open governmental and administrative action. By implementing national action plans, a wide variety of projects are being supported and regularly evaluated in the areas of transparency, civic participation and the use of new technologies to enable more efficient government action. By working closely with civil society and through international exchanges, the OGP supports the voluntary commitments defined in the various national action plans.
  • The UNDP-led Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Promoting Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies has a clear focus on sharing information related to monitoring and reporting, giving priority to SDG 16 and governance in general.
  • The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies initiative is an informal group of states, international organisations, global partnerships, civil society and the private sector. It was initiated by New York University’s Center on International Cooperation and the Governments of Brazil, Sierra Leone and Switzerland. Its aim is to achieve a consensus on strategic priorities and to draw up a roadmap for the implementation of SDG 16 and the related targets, and to support the application of this roadmap. The initiative focuses on networking and on sharing experience gained with implementation.
  • The World Federation of United Nations Associations set up the 16+ Forum in April 2016. The 16+ Forum offers members of multi-stakeholder partnerships the opportunity to share information on activities designed to implement and monitor SDG 16 and thereby to strengthen the engagement of the UN stakeholders for implementing SDG 16. The main aim is to identify and discuss the linkages with other SDGs in order to establish how the integrative character of the 2030 Agenda can be leveraged within the UN system in relation to SDG 16.
What has to be borne in mind? Key questions:
  • Which goal is of interest for each individual actor within the partner structure, or which goals can be better pursued within a partnership?
  • Are there actors who would like the partnership to fail?
  • Which cooperation culture and structures can the partnership link up with? What cooperation options are there over and beyond existing alliances and cooperation arrangements in which actors from academia and research, the private sector, civil society, etc. could participate?
  • What are the framework conditions that encourage or obstruct an equal partnership between the various actors (politics, private sector, civil society, academia and the research community)? What is/was the relationship between the various actors? What other stakeholders could have a positive or negative impact?
  • What specific interest do the different actors have in learning and development?
  • How can processes and outcomes be shared and reflected on with local stakeholders? How can meaningful contributions be ensured by stakeholder groups who are not involved?
  • Will an MSP make the project more sustainable?
  • Will it have greater impact?
  • Are the necessary resources for cooperation management (e.g. negotiation, consultation and agreement, conflict management, time) reasonable in relation to the expected impact to be achieved?
  • Is the partner country already a member of an international alliance? Are there linkages with the work of the project? Would it make sense to join the partnership?
Helpful tools and approaches

At GIZ, the methodological TOPIC multi-stakeholder partnershipsoffers guidance on initiating and fleshing out cooperation arrangements.

With its Partnerships 2030 platform, BMZ promotes a space in which stakeholders can engage in dialogue in order to develop innovative partnership concepts. The Working Group on Peace and Development (german) discusses the special opportunities and risks related to MSPs in fragile contexts (German only).

The Sector and Global Programmes Department (GloBe) has looked into the complexity of MSPs and created a typology (German only) that is very useful for appraisals of sector and global programmes.

The (conflict-sensitive) stakeholder analysis (see PCA handbook) using the map of actors is particularly suitable for identifying partners who are relevant for a given sector and who pursue shared sustainability goals.

At this point we would also like to mention the TOPIC „political & social participation“.

Example from the field

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an international initiative that involves numerous NGOs, companies and countries that are dedicated to achieving financial transparency and accountability in the extractives sector. EITI has become an internationally established transparency standard for disclosing financial flows in this sector. More than fifty countries are now members and it is supported at international level by many donor countries, non-governmental organisations, companies in the extractives industry and institutional investors. The initiative is implemented on the ground by local multi-stakeholder groups with the participation of state, governmental and civil-society representatives. In many countries, EITI implementation kick-starts debates on mineral resources and development that go far beyond financial transparency and transcend individual stakeholder groups. GIZ advises partner countries in preparing for and making successful use of EITI membership. Among other things, projects support stakeholder dialogues and outreach measures, the production of EITI reports to compare the tax payments made in the sector, or to strengthen civil-society groups in performing their oversight function within the EITI process. In addition, GIZ supports the implementation of EITI in Germany (D-EITI) and thereby promotes dialogue and transparency in the German extractives sector.

The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO) is joint initiative of the German Federal Government, represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), the cocoa industry, food traders and non-governmental organisations. The aim of the multi-stakeholder initiative is to improve the living conditions of cocoa farmers, conserve natural resources and increase the share of sustainably produced cocoa on the German market. By involving all key stakeholders - governments, businesses, civil society groups and academia - the Sustainable Cocoa Forum implements the "shared responsibility" principle of the 2030 Agenda. This approach, which sees global cooperation for sustainable development as the task of all actors, creates new forms of cooperation and collaboration at eye level. The initiative currently consists of more than 70 members.

You will find more examples in the methodological TOPIC and on the Partnerships 2030 website.

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