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Open AccessArticle

A New Approach to Partnerships for SDG Transformations

by David Horan 1,2
1
School of Politics and International Relations, Centre for Sustainable Studies and the Geary Institute for Public Policy, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
2
Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), New York, NY 10115, USA
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4947; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184947
Received: 17 May 2019 / Revised: 5 September 2019 / Accepted: 5 September 2019 / Published: 10 September 2019
Recent scientific reports highlight the urgent need for transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and long-term sustainability. This paper presents a new approach to partnerships that focuses on their role in transformations, the types of partnerships that may be needed and their enabling environment. It introduces transformation effectiveness as a criterion to evaluate a portfolio of partnerships and pathways as a tool to frame discussion of required partnerships. Guided by energy decarbonization and using a simple model of partnership formation, I highlight a (potential) mismatch between the types of partnerships required for transformation and the partnership types arising under the currently dominant voluntary approach. The model suggests the bottom-up approach can deliver some, but not all, of the partnerships needed. Five specific problems are identified—compensation for losers, partnering capacity, short-time horizons, inadequate coordination mechanisms and misaligned incentives. The paper then outlines some policy tools—transfers, regulation, public investment—governments could use to strengthen the bottom-up framework and orchestrate missing partnerships. The conclusion addresses two problems specific to the transformation approach: how to identify more systematically the partnerships needed (identification problem) and how to implement them (implementation problem); and outlines some ways to deal with these—science, deliberation, international leadership coalitions and frameworks/monitoring systems for transition partnerships. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development; SDG transformations; means of implementation; partnerships; governance; governments sustainable development; SDG transformations; means of implementation; partnerships; governance; governments
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Horan, D. A New Approach to Partnerships for SDG Transformations. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4947.

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