Charity fund-raisers shock us with images of suffering children; news programmes show idyllic shorelines littered with plastic and rubbish. From the convenience of a TV or phone screen it’s easy to forget these aren’t fictions — they reflect reality. They are signs of bigger issues in the world that many projects and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are addressing.
But are these projects just putting out isolated fires? What if we could take a step back from issues that break hearts or take our breath away? Are goals, however diverse — whether promoting economic growth or tackling climate change, connected in some way?
That’s where SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) comes in. Fruitful collaborations will be better equipped to achieve the global goals.
Collaboration sounds all well and good but can hardly compare with the feeling when donating at the sight of a distressed child. Perhaps we can better identify with such an abstract concept using the goal’s five themes: finance, technology, capacity building, trade, and systemic issues. These can generate action when underpinned with targets and indicators.
Finance is perhaps the most tangible of the themes. In 1970, countries agreed to donate 0.7 percent of their Gross National Income in aid to developing nations. One challenge is that only six complied in 2016.
Another issue is consistency in the measurement and implementation of projects. A 2018 Stockholm Environment Institute research review identifies the need for more research, including:
- understanding how civil society and local government can cooperate
- how existing institutional arrangements (including World Trade Organisation and the Paris Agreement on climate change) link to the global goals
- how technology transfers from developed economies are most effective.
In short, many scratch their heads when it comes to understanding how to collaborate. In the UK, despite some progress, SDG 17 (rated at 48.9 out of 100) lags far behind goals on for example Good Health & Wellbeing (94.5) and Decent Work & Economic Growth (82.9).
Private sector action
In the light of these challenges Gesu Antonio Baez had a vision for how to foster real and sustainable collaborations. In 2014, he worked with the United Nations in creating global goals. In 2018, with years of experience in humanitarian and development programme delivery, he founded Pax Tecum Global Consultancy whose social purpose is using diplomacy to establish international development partnerships. Pax Tecum carried out a mapping exercise inspired by UN Guidance and the Principles of Social Value, to understand the touch points between the seventeen goals and decide what to measure.
The steps were:
- Step 1: Stakeholder and risk mapping
- Step 2: Mapping the organisation’s goals and targets
- Step 3: Deciding actions & Key Performance Indicators
- Step 4: Reporting and communication.
What can you do?
The main point is a simple one: stakeholder mapping. Find out who are your partners — in governments, business, NGOs and beyond. It is likely that someone out there is already working to achieve something similar, so why not partner?
There are various actors working to foster partnerships and a plethora of initiatives. Pax Tecum Global navigates this jungle, but in the end only you will be able to distinguish who’ll be your best partner for achieving the shared aspiration. Gather your allies, and Act. Pax Tecum Global Consultancy is in no way limited to the private sector. Any organisation, or individual for that sake, should understand where their passions, influences and potential collaborations lie. Harvest these. When we jointly start planning future years’ actions is when we’ll see new solutions take seed.