Invitation to comment on a Charter for Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

Dear Friends,

We are inviting you to make comments on a Charter for Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs).
The agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 has moved the focus away from negotiations to implementation.
One of the aspects of implementing the SDGs has already been the development of MSPs. There are over 5000 MSPs on different UN platforms committed to implementing this agenda.
Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships have the potential to create positive impacts by creating synergies, building capacity, filling gaps and scaling-up development efforts. They also are a concrete way to work across the Goals and addressing the interconnected character sustainable development.
In engaging with MSPs it is important to learn from the past. The experience of the partnerships created for implementing the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) agreements in 2002 was not entirely good. Many were created but few survived and made significant impacts.
In preparation for WSSD governments could not agree guidance for these new partnerships what was prepared, but not agreed, was the Bali Principles (June 2002). After WSSD governments revisited partnerships at the 11th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and agreed what have been the only guidance notes on partnerships produced.
For the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda we need a more robust system of transparency and accountability on partnerships.
There is considerable diversity among partnerships established under the UN’s 2030 sustainable development framework. While partnerships can add value they are not a replacement for what governments are expected to deliver. Also, MSPs are not the same as PPPs which also need more guidance and accountability but in a different mechanism.
The UN Secretary General’s recent two reports on reforming the development system also see MSPs as playing an important role at the national and international levels. It would be a mistake to move forward without clear guidance and an accountability system.
In the wake of none being agreed by Member States then this Stakeholder Charter on MSPs offers the best chance to move forward with an agreed set of Principles.
The Stakeholder Charter on MSPs is an attempt by stakeholders to take the lead. The Charter can:
  • help define more clearly what MSPs and what they are not;
  • act as a quality mark to judge if a particular partnership is abiding by a set of agreed principles or not; and
  • help build a community of practice and knowledge sharing with those who work in active and impactful MSPs. 
We again invite you to join us in developing the Stakeholder Charter on MSPs - your comments would be very welcome by May 31st.
We have created a first draft of the Stakeholder Charter on MSPs, and provide further background information, references and links at
If you have any questions, please let us know.

Minu Hemmati and Felix Dodds


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