SDG 17 – Sustainable development through global partnerships

Leaders across the world have a monumental opportunity to reduce inequality, end poverty, protect the environment and promote justice and peace in implementing Sustainable Development Goals.

Unmatched in their ambition and scope, the SDGs are poised to test the determination of the global community over the following fifteen years in regards to the global endeavor to improve livelihoods for all. Any success or even failure will largely depend on SDG number 17, which aims to revitalise the universal partnerships for development.

Introducing SDG 17 on global partnership

One important aspect of SDG 17 is that it binds the other goals together. For one, it is quite content heavy as compared to other goals and subdivided into five crucial components; finance, capacity building, systemic issues, technology, and trade.

The finance issue is very important since most developed nations are not living up to their agreement to apportion 0.7% of their GNI as development aid to developing nations, by a 1970 UN resolution. These development financing allocations are very important since lack of development and social cohesion, and also extreme poverty in one nation can have adverse spill-over impacts in other nations, including economic downturns and refugee crises.

Main targets of SDG 17


  • Reinforce resource mobilisation through ensuring global support for developing nations, to enhance domestic tax capacity.
  • Developed nations to fully implement their ODA or Official Development Assistance commitments.
  • Mobilise extra financial resources from numerous sources to assist developing nations.
  • Assist developing nations in achieving debt sustainability over the long term through harmonised policies targeted at enabling debt restricting, debt financing and debt relief, as appropriate, as well as addressing the external debts of developing nations to lessen debt distress.
  • Implement investment promotion administrations for the least developed nations.


  • Improve global access to and cooperation on science, innovation, and technology, as well as enhancing knowledge sharing across counts on mutual terms.
  • Promote the creation, transfer and distribution of ecologically sound technologies for developing nations on mutually agreed terms.
  • Enhance the utilisation of enabling innovation and technology, particularly ICT.

Capacity building

  • Improve global support for the implementation of targeted and effective capacity-building work in developing nations to support nationwide plans aimed at implementing all the SDGs.


  • Promote global, open, rule-based, equitable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading under the WTO, including through concluding the Doha Development Agenda.
  • Considerably enhance the export sector in developing nations, particularly with a target of doubling the exports of least developed nations.
  • Realise timely adoption of quota-free and duty-free market access on a permanent basis for all developing countries, in line with WTO agreements.

Systemic issues

  • Improving the universal partnership to achieve sustainable development, complemented by stakeholder partnerships to share and mobilise expertise, financial resources, knowledge and technology for supporting SDGs in every country.
  • Promote and encourage effective public-private, civil society and public partnerships based on the resourcing strategies and experience of partnerships.
  • Improve policy coherence to support sustainable development.
  • Improve universal macroeconomic stability, particularly through policy coherence and policy coordination.
  • Respect every nation’s leadership and policy space to create and adopt policies for eradicating poverty and also sustainable development.
  • Improve capacity-building in developing countries to improve the access of timely, reliable and high-quality data divided into various categories like income, race, age, gender, disability, ethnicity and geographic location among other relevant factors in nationwide contexts significantly.
  • Building on any existing initiatives to setup progress measurements on sustainable development.

If the reference to accountability and monitoring of data is taken seriously in SDG 17, this aspect could help in unlocking the full potential of all the SDGs to be a great influence for good. Creating people-centred strategies for gathering data, accompanied by strong citizen performance monitoring will be crucial to holding decision makers accountable.

Nevertheless, fostering the gathering of citizen-generated, independent data will need the implementation of certain key conditions. These conditions include respecting the basic freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression. So far, the situation is not good as CIVICUS reported that in 2014, 96 countries violated these rights substantially.

Private sector

The private sector has a very crucial role in the realisation of SDG 17, provided it does not pursue narrow-minded agendas. For instance, private philanthropy offers a great force in supporting a wide range of civil society projects for achieving social justice. Even the Ford Foundation has started shifting its whole agenda towards dealing with several kinds of inequality. More importantly, private companies and businesses can help in supporting women’s empowerment and transformative programs in education.

Also, companies have ways of evaluating their broader effect on environmental and human issues of great importance and creating a benchmark for judging their overall contribution towards universal development. In effect, they can lead the way in developing certain SDG aspirations into actual progress for the people on the ground. Even though companies can do so much on their own, they will require partners as well, which presents a great opportunity for taking the global partnership agenda further than high hopes to actual reality.

Nevertheless, it is better that private companies avoid taking over functions traditionally done by the civil society like disaster relief as well as supporting the government in providing public services. CSOs or civil society organisations with their lack of profit and roots in the local communities enjoy great trust from the local people than media, business, and governments.Thus, supporting the civil society will be important to SDG 17.

Final Note

CSOs contribute to development programs in various ways and assist intergovernmental and state organisations in finding creative solutions to tough issues. In many cases, they even take the responsibility of delivering essential services as well as helping to make sure that every voice of the populace is heard by decision makers when formulating development policies, particularly the marginalised and disadvantaged.

Essentially, they function as watchdogs and ensure that the development benefits are reaching the intended people. To fulfil these important functions, CSOs too must do some level of introspection to look for better strategies of ensuring their important activist spirit stays alive and ensuring they always base their work on the people’s voices.

There is a lot that must be done by all concerned parties to create the practical partnerships that will ensure the realisation of SDG 17 and broader accomplishment of all SDGs.

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