Public private partnerships for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

WASD 16th International Annual Conference and 5th Diaspora International Conference
co-organized and hosted by the

United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU)

Geneva, Palais de Nations, 10-13 April 2018


For the first time since its inception the Annual Conference of the World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD) will be co-organized with, and hosted by a United Nations body, namely the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system (JIU) in the Palais des Nations – Geneva, as an expression of participatory, open and multi-stakeholder approach that underlies the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The thematic focus of the 2018 Conference will be “Public private partnerships for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Both JIU and WASD are inspired by the conviction that the 2030 Agenda and its 17 goals provides momentum for a renewed UN engagement with the private sector.

Paragraph 67 of United Nations General Assembly resolution 70/1 recognizes the role of the private sector in development and calls upon its contribution: “Private business activity, investment and innovation are major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth and job creation. We acknowledge the diversity of the private sector, ranging from micro-enterprises to cooperatives to multinationals. We call upon all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges. We will foster a dynamic and well-functioning business sector, while protecting labour rights and environmental and health standards in accordance with relevant international standards and agreements and other ongoing initiatives in this regard […]”.

The need for partnerships is recognized in Sustainable Development Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. This implies more qualitative and quantitative engagement of the private sector in the implementation  of the 2030 Agenda, an enhanced impact of the United Nations values and objectives, in particular related to sustainability, on the business models of private companies, advances in the engagement of businesses from corporate social responsibility to direct contributions to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, or expansion of for-profit actors’ activities in areas which were usually addressed by public entities.

From that perspective, JIU undertakes in 2017 a review of “United Nations – private sector partnership in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” which will explore ways and means to improve the contribution of the private sector to the implementation of the Agenda, and stimulate its interest to engage in partnership with the United Nations system organizations as well as to improve efficiency in the use of resources.

The expected results of the Conference  include:

  • a better understanding of the evolving nature of existing and emerging partnerships and provide the United Nations system and its Member States with valuable information regarding good practices innovative approaches, lessons learned in engaging private sector;
  • an assessment of the fitness for purpose of existing models of multi-stakeholders partnerships arrangements involving the private sector, as means to leverage resources and concerted efforts towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • a critical examination of current policies, administrative set ups, frameworks and structures and of their potential to stimulate and valorise the partnerships with the private sector;
  • the identification of good practices and opportunities to enhance coherence, synergies and coordination in building United Nations/ public partnerships with the private sector and to build bridges of common interest, values and mutual understanding;
  • an exploration of new ways to enhance the inter-operability between the United Nations organizations and the enterprises and to improve conceptual, operational and administrative elements of the partnership framework, based on knowledge common platform;
  • the stimulation of new forms of interaction dialogue and partnership between the UN system, the private companies and the academia in service of the Sustainable Development Goals.