Logo of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
To the main menuTo the main content

Addressing the Sustainable Development Goals through partnerships: opportunities and conditions for successful partnerships

Infographic | 06-07-2017

The use of partnerships in international cooperation is increasing. In a globalised world, national governments lack the influence, capacity and mechanisms to coordinate actions across different levels and therefore cannot effectively stimulate sustainable development. Partnerships have the potential to combine the efficiency of the market, the regulatory capacity of the public sector and the social representation of civil society organisations. In fact, revitalising global partnerships is itself one of the sustainable development goals.Stronger civic and private sector engagement should not be understood as the public sector withdrawing from these policy areas. Neither the private sector nor civil society has the capacity, or incentives, to tackle the market and governance failures that constrain the attainment of the sustainable development goals. For example, without infrastructure development, initiatives to enhance agricultural productivity are not sustainable. Similarly, if water use is unregulated, initiatives to promote sustainable use of water resources fall short. And if marginalised stakeholders are not represented through local institutions, efforts to stimulate inclusive growth are doomed to be short-lived.

Partnerships are generally expected to deliver on development challenges, but there is mixed evidence about whether they will succeed. For global partnerships to effectively contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, issues on a local level must be linked to the global level, and public and private interests must be aligned. Thus, effective partnerships start with a clear diagnosis of the market and governance failures that need to be tackled, and follow a design that clearly assigns risks, responsibilities and tasks. Further requirements are that partnership activities are strongly embedded in the local situation, which ensures that context-specific knowledge is available and that outcomes are evaluated, including the contribution of the partnership to the sustainable development goals.

Source data

Bouma J and Berkhout E. (2015). Public– private partnerships in development cooperation. Potential and pitfalls for Inclusive Green Growth. PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague.

Berkhout, E., Bouma, J., Terzidis, N., Voors, M., Supporting Local Institutions for Inclusive Green Growth: Developing an Evidence Gap Map, forthcoming in special issue of NJAS - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences

Hospes, O., Dewulf, A., Faling, M. (2016). Inclusiveness in Public-Private Partnerships: NGO Views and Strategies, Wageningen University

Related publications

Use of infographics

Unless stated otherwise, the Creative Commons (BY) licence applies to this infographic. For more information on this licence or the use of this infographic, please contact our graphics department (beeldredactie@pbl.nl).