SDG #17: Strengthen implementation and revitalize global partnerships
Sustainable Development Goals Blog Series
On January 1st, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force. Over the next 15 years, with these 17 goals, countries will combine efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. In this article we aim to familiarize you with SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
By Linda van den Breul | 26-04-2018
The last SDG of this series is the most comprehensive one that can enable the other goals. SDG 17, Partnership for goals, is all about collaboration on a global scale. The only way for the SDGs to be realized is when people, governments, companies and other organizations cooperate rather than compete. This SDG focuses on cooperation in the areas of finance, technology, trade, policy, and partnerships.
SDG 17 could kill many birds with one stone
We all benefit when the world delivers on the 17 SDGs. It can, for example, create market opportunities of up to USD 12 trillion on an annual basis, and adds 380 million new jobs by 20301. Partnerships are a way to achieve these goals. When governments, people, companies and NGOs collaborate, these goals can be reached in a more efficient and effective way. At the same time, multiple goals can be reached as well, which kills many birds with one stone.
Partnerships benefit the partners involved
Many people think that the SDGs are a form of philanthropy. This could be, but in many instances there is a solid business case for companies to sustain development through global partnerships.
Let’s take a look at Unilever; a Dutch consumer goods giant. When this multinational partnered up with local governments and health organizations to find a solution for SDG 6, they improved the laundry washing habits of a billion people. The effect for Unilever was a boost in their soap sales, while the effect for society was a 44% reduction of child deaths due to bad sanitation2.
Another example is from Kenyan telco-provider Safaricom, who partnered with political parties and content service providers for the 2012 elections to make sure that inflammatory messages were not broadcasted3. This did not only contribute to SDG 16 by preventing large scale violence as was seen with the aftermath of the previous elections in the country in 2007, but also ensured that the telecom company could operate in a more stable country. This increased revenue potential and reduced operational costs. In addition, the company’s brand recognition was significantly enhanced due to its willingness to take up issues of national importance.
Complex problems are almost impossible to solve without partnerships between both private and public entities. For example, within Deloitte we see an increasing amount of public-private partnerships that focus on smart cities. Whether the goal is to improve public healthcare or to expand free Wi-Fi-access, municipalities are increasingly looking to partner up with other private and public organizations to accomplish their goals. These partnerships can help overcome funding barriers and often rely on technology in order to reduce costs and increase value. An interesting example comes from the City of New York. They were in search for a solution regarding its 8.400 pay phones, of which the usage decreases every day due to the rise of smartphones. The city of New York formed a partnership with Qualcomm, Titan and Control Group to replace the obsolete payphones for smart kiosks, offering free WiFi, maps, transportation updates, video calls, smartphone charging and more. Due to an advertising model, the partnership could fund the project without public funds and even increased the USD 17 million income from payphones to USD 500 million in advertising income. In addition, the project created 100-150 direct jobs and 650 supporting jobs4. From examples like these, we learned the success factors of a public-private partnership, which includes setting objectives, assessing available assets, having a thorough understanding of the business case and -model, and building (local) support.
Partner with local communities
When companies partner with local communities, the chances are higher that the SDGs will be achieved. In fact, our experience is that projects with local support can easier attract private partners and funding. An example is the Women Solar Engineer initiativ, which has contributed to SDG 1, SDG 4, SDG 5, and SDG 7 due to a solid partnership between local communities and different international organizations5. Women from Honduras were educated to be solar engineers by the Barefoot College from India, which is financed by Government of India and the Small Grants Programme (SGP). These women were able to set-up solar power stations in their country, which empowered them and made them economically independent. At the same time, it provided their community with clean energy. The programme has expanded to 17 other countries; educating over 70 women and delivering electricity to 4.000 homes. Although a single NGO could possibly be able to build the solar panels and thereby contribute to SDG 7, partnering with the local community and different organizations allowed them to make a bigger impact for which they contributed to the other SDGs as well.
Sustainable Development Goals Blog Series
This blog is part of the Sustainable Development Blog Series: a blog series that highlights the 17 SDGs one by one on a biweekly basis. In these blogs you will find more information about each SDG, why it is important for your organisation to contribute to the achievement of it, and specific examples of how you can do that.
For more information about the Sustainable Development Goals and what your organisation can do to contribute, please contact Anne Huibrechtse-Truijens via firstname.lastname@example.org / +31882882071