UN partnerships in the public interest? Not yet.

Global Policy Watch Briefing #18

By Barbara Adams and Sarah Dayringer 

The World Bank, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the development banks, have been proclaiming since 2015 that “to meet the investment needs of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the global community needs to move the discussion from ‘billions to trillions’” — that is from billions in official development assistance (ODA) to trillions in investments of all kinds: public and private, national and global, in both capital and capacity.

Further, many Member States have promoted and the UN has been exploring so-called ‘blended financing’ as a major vehicle to “leverage” or ‘crowding in’, corporate funds. Deputy Secretary-General (D S-G) Amina Mohammed declared in her first remarks as D S-G: “Bringing partnerships and agencies together in a coherent and more coordinated manner will further leverage resources and different partnerships in a mobile [development] agenda, this is becoming more complex but it is bringing in more returns.”

The UN General Assembly partnership resolution is the main intergovernmental framework in place to govern non-State partnerships and hold them to account yet it lacks robust reporting and implementation. Its latest iteration is “Towards global partnerships: a principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners” (A/RES/70/224) which references the UN Global Compact’s 10 principles and also the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).