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Unleashing the Power of Business

A practical ‘Roadmap’ to systematically engage business as a partner in national development

While the role of the private sector and public private collaboration is core to delivering the SDGs, progress is still slow. At country level, some development actors are still sceptical about the role of business, and business in general still finds it difficult to engage in the development agenda. There are some excellent examples of partnerships, but collaborative approaches need to be scaled up and mainstreamed if they are to drive development and help deliver the 2030 Agenda.

This ‘Roadmap’ sets out a systematic approach to engaging with business as a partner in development. It recommends five essential areas for action within which government, development agencies, business organisations and civil society each have their roles to play. Taken together and tailored to a particular country’s context, these actions have the potential to create a sea-change to achieve the goal of partnerships between governments, business and civil society delivering their full potential in the global fight against poverty through sustainable development.

The Roadmap was an input into the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC). Its specific contribution to an already rich and rapidly developing field is to focus on the ‘how’: providing a systematic, integrated and, most importantly, actionable approach to scaling up development partnerships with business at the country level.

The Roadmap aligns with and supports the emerging findings of the UN’s ‘Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda’, as well as related work from the UN Global Compact / WBCSD / GRI, the Donor Committee on Enterprise Development, Harvard CSRI and GIZ among others.

The report builds on many years of practice and experience making partnerships happen on the ground, including that of The Partnering Initiative and the Business Partnership Action initiative. It draws on interviews with 40 partnership experts from across sectors around the world; 65 responses to an online survey; a live online consultation with 90 participants; in-person meetings in Nigeria, Indonesia, Zambia and Germany; detailed written feedback on a working draft from 14 organisations; and a desk review of the huge amount of partnership literature already available.

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