Workshop on Making Multistakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) Work for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Workshop on Making Multistakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) Work for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

By Dr Minu Hemmati and Felix Dodds

On the 15 and the 16th of July, the MSP Institute and the Tellus Institute hosted a workshop at the Paper Factory Hotel during the High Level Political Forum on Making Multistakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) work for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Workshop participants included practitioners and coordinators of MSPs, researchers studying MSPs, trainers and coaches supporting them, advocates promoting MSPs, and a few newcomers to the dialogue.

The workshops had the following goals:
  • Helping to build a community of practice by providing space for sharing experiences and lessons learned;
  • Begin to collate a set of principles for multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) that advance sustainable development;
  • Articulate guidance for operationalizing these principles; and
  • Inform the UN debate about MSPs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The workshop included presentations, plenary discussions, small group conversations, and reflections.
For clarification in an ongoing dialogue on MSPs that has often been confusing using a variety of terms, we are sharing a few definitions of terms used in the workshop discussions:
Multi-stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) for sustainable development are specific commitments and contributions undertaken together by various partners/ stakeholders to support the implementation of transformation towards sustainable development and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Private Public Partnerships (PPPs) are contractual arrangements between single or several public agencies (federal, state or local) and single or several private sector entities to deliver a service or facility for the use of the general public. Other stakeholders might be sub-contractors in a PPP.
Voluntary initiatives are activities or contributions made by single governments or organizations, or groups of them, above and beyond legally binding or UN-agreed commitments.
Stakeholders are those who have an interest in a particular decision, either as individuals or representatives of a group. This includes people who influence a decision, or can influence it, as well as those affected by it.
Major Groups were defined in Agenda 21 (Rio, 1992) as sectors of society with significant roles in sustainable development: women, children and youth, indigenous people, NGOs/CSOs, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, scientific and technical community, and farmers. At Rio+20 (2012), “other stakeholders” were added, including local communities, volunteer groups and foundations, migrants and families, as well as older persons and persons with disabilities.
In the workshop report, we have included:
the above definitions of key terms;
a tabled summary of the history of MSPs and the UN;
  • experiences, lessons learned and recommendations with regard to the cross-cutting issues of governance; financing; building individual capacities; building institutional capacities; and evaluation, reporting and review;
  • a set of principles for successful MSPs for SDGs; and
  • a summary of the discussions on an MSP Charter.

The report can be read at workshop webpage (, along with the presentations, agenda, and background information.


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