This blog post was cowritten by Sonja Patscheke and Kate Tallant, both Directors at FSG.
As we approach September 2015 when the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be adopted, questions around the how and who of implementation are increasingly dominating the discussion. It is clear that achieving the SDGs will require assets and action from a variety of actors across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Implementation, therefore, must leverage the power of multi-stakeholder partnerships as a key mechanism to deliver on the goals by pooling knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources. While ownership by national governments is essential for such success, the global social and environmental problems we are facing are too complex for any one sector to solve alone.
At the same time, companies are increasingly exploring new opportunities to simultaneously create shared value – often involving investments in their enabling environment that intersect with the SDGs in areas such as health systems, education and workforce development, agricultural supply chain/cluster development, enterprise development/local procurement, and infrastructure. Addressing such complex challenges requires building strong multi-stakeholder partnerships that can create systemic change. For companies, this represents a new approach to strategy development and implementation, including long-term commitment, the willingness to co-create, comfort with uncertainty and experimentation, shared measurement and shared accountability.
Partnering around complex social issues has never been easy, and collaborating at multiple levels is even more challenging – yet if we want to have a chance at building a better world post-2015, we have to embrace this complexity. The principles of collective impact provide important lessons on what it truly takes to take on complex problems. In FSG’s recent article Shaping Global Partnerships for a Post-2015 World, we share best practices from six diverse initiatives on how to apply these principles to set global cross-sector efforts up for success.
In support of the new Post-2015 Development Agenda, the UN Foundation, FSG and the Shared Value Initiative are bringing together more than 30 corporate and civil society leaders in an exclusive roundtable conversation at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, January 23rd. The event will explore how to optimize multi-stakeholder partnerships to create shared value and help achieve the SDGs. Participating organizations will include ABinBev, Barclays, BD, British Council, Caterpillar Foundation, IFRC, Mercy Corps, Microsoft, Nestle, Novo Nordisk, PATH, The Abraaj Group, and World Vision, among others.
UPDATE: See photos and commentary of the WEF convening on Twitter below:
Below is a photo of FSG's meeting at WEF 2014 in Davos: Roundtable on Shared Value in Education.