17. Partnership for the Goals

How business leadership can advance Goal 17 on Partnership for the Goals

Partnership and cooperation are essential for achieving the Global Goals. The international community has encouraged the development of partnerships between stakeholders, including business, to achieve common goals. It is only by forging partnerships that leverage the core competencies of all partners that the ambition of the SDGs can be achieved.

Companies are major players among SDG stakeholders, offering expertise, experience, resources, access to knowledge, and capabilities to innovate. But, companies cannot create transformative change acting alone. Business may not fully take account of all voices and be aware of all areas of need; and they may not have access to the best available knowledge. To support the achievement of the SDGs in all countries, companies should work alongside national and regional Governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, the scientific community and academia, and their peers to participate in and establish multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources. At a minimum, all companies can seek to be aware of the key partnerships in the context of their end-to-end operations and become active participants wherever they might make a significant contribution

A leading company will create and promote stronger partnerships by galvanizing finance for sustainable development, fostering exchange of technology and knowledge with stakeholders in developing regions, engaging in capacity building activities, and taking a leading role in establishing coalitions to create innovative technologies and business models. A leading company will look across borders to find ways to increase partnerships for sustainable development, especially in least developed countries, and tackle systemic challenges through joint leverage. It will also ensure to include vulnerable communities that are at risk of being excluded from discussion. Such partnerships will be principles-based and needs-driven, build on local capacity, and reflect the undiluted values of the United Nations to ensure they are transparent, accountable, and inclusive.

Action on Goal 17. and thereby advancing all Global Goals, is essential for business success. There are significant revenue opportunities and costs savings from business practices that integrate respect and support for human rights and protection of the planet. These can be harnessed more fully in collaboration with other stakeholders. Partnerships facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge and technologies that allow for enhanced risk management, value protection, and identification of joint business opportunities.

Goal 17 is deeply interconnected with all other SDGs. Unlike the other Goals which deal with specific thematic areas, Goal 17 is cross-cutting and can help in the realization of the other 16 Goals. Care should be taken to ensure that action to further partnerships and collaboration is inclusive and does not reinforce existing inequalities by further excluding particular groups. Where partnerships spur new economic activity, any risk of negative impact on the environment, on human rights, for instance those of indigenous peoples, should be managed.

Do your actions satisfy the Leadership Qualities?

Guiding Questions to apply to the Leadership Qualities to your business






  • Is your company committed to supporting the achievement of Goal 17? Have you developed a holistic strategy that reflects this commitment, covering end-to-end operation and the wider community?
  • Are you committed to learn from your actions and do you have processes in place to improve them accordingly?
  • Is your strategy supported by the highest levels of management, including the Board of Directors?

Key Considerations

An intentional, top-level strategic commitment to advancing Goal 17 sends a signal that can build the trust of other stakeholders. Without real commitment, partnerships often fail to achieve the full potential impact.

  • Do your actions achieve long-term outcomes that greatly exceed those resulting from current industry practice?
  • Are your actions aligned with what is needed to achieve Goal 17?

Key Considerations

Participating in a partnership alone does not satisfy the ambition quality. The contribution to the partnership should go beyond this, for example through initiating the partnership, chairing it, or making a contribution that lifts its impact to a significantly higher level.

  • Is support for Goal 17 embedded across all organizational functions?
  • Are staff and board incentives aligned with achieving Goal 17?

Key Considerations

Leading companies ensure that partnerships can build on capabilities from all parts of the organization. Full alignment of the organization further ensures that no countervailing actions erode impact and trust between partners.

  • Do you proactively look for opportunities to partner with Governments, UN agencies, suppliers, civil society organizations, industry peers and other stakeholders to inform how to advance Goal 17?

Key Considerations

Partnerships should involve all relevant stakeholders, including those in potentially affected communities, to ensure there is a shared vision, joint ownership of the objectives, and mutual responsibility and accountability for achieving them.

  • Do you publicly express your commitment to advance Goal 17?
  • Do you identify, monitor, and report on impacts, including potentially adverse impacts?
  • Do you mitigate risks associated with your action?
  • Do you remediate negative impacts associated with this action?
  • Do you engage stakeholders in a meaningful way?

Key Considerations

Partnerships should articulate their intended positive impacts and identify risks of any negative impacts that may also result, in particular on human rights. They should integrate processes to mitigate these risks and to monitor their success in doing so.

Business Actions


Lead on responsible tax practices


Finance sustainable development


Partner to share knowledge


Build capacity


Lead partnerships

How taking action on Goal 17 is interconnected with other Goals

The Global Goals are inherently interconnected. Action taken toward one Goal can support or hinder the achievement of others. Identifying and addressing these interconnections will help business to build holistic and systemic solutions that amplify progress and minimize negative impacts. To help build a greater understanding, we have illustrated some of the ways in which the Goals connect. These are not exhaustive, and we encourage business to consider how they apply in their own operations.

Maximise likelihood of positive impact on:

Goal 17 is highly interconnected to all the other Goals. Goal 17 is cross-cutting, and its success undergirds the realization of the other 16 Goals.

Minimise risk of negative impact on:

Global partnerships to achieve the Goals should not reinforce inequalities. Funding, technology transfer and capacity building should be conducted in a way that promotes self-sufficiency and does not reinforce global inequalities (Goal 10). There are also may be bribery and corruption risks (Goal 16) associated with increasing financial flows and working with some Governments. Where partnerships lead to new economic activity, care should be taken that this does not negatively impact the environment, or the human rights of people involved in or affected by that activity.

Goal 17 Targets

Targets of Goal 17

  1. Strengthen domestic resource mobilization
  2. Mobilize additional financial resources for developing countries
  3. Adopt and implement investment promotion regimes for least developed countries
  4. Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation
  5. Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms
  6. Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
  7. Enhance international support for implementing effective and targeted capacity-building in developing countries
  8. Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development
  9. Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships
  10. Enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data