First published in Sustainability Science (2022)
The sustainable development goals (SDGs) offer a broad, holistic framework of interdependent economic, social, and environmental objectives to enable integrated and collaborative approaches to their implementation. A key obstacle for operationalizing such an approach is knowing the right actors to engage on specific challenges.
It is acknowledged that linkages across sectors, scales, and actors could provide an evidence base to assess and forge participation in multistakeholder partnerships for implementation.
However, technical tools that could help to identify relevant actors and discussions of institutional arrangements to bring these actors on board are notably lacking in the extant literature. To support an evidence-based and systematic approach to coalition-building that accounts for synergies and trade-offs across goals and targets, this paper proposes broad-based partnerships and a framework that lead actors can use to help harness collaborative SDG implementation:
- define the partnership’s scope,
- identify the main interlinkages,
- assign responsibilities,
- select the best available indicators,
- assess the challenges, and
- forge a broad-based partnership.
After describing key decisions at each step, the article discusses applications of the proposed analytic partnership-building framework to problems that warrant the approach at global, regional, and national levels covering issues such as policy coordination across line ministries, global partnerships for SDG13 implementation in SIDS, energy compacts for SDG7 implementation, and integrated multilateral responses to crises.
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