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Platforms for Partnership

The 2030 Agenda is built on a fundamental shift in approach to international development: engaging the unique roles and resources of all sectors of society and requiring extensive collaboration across sectors to achieve its ambitious goals. 

One essential mechanism for this is ‘platforms for partnership’ – multi-stakeholder hubs that catalyse partnerships by physically convening all sectors around particular development or business sustainability issues, facilitating an understanding of overlaps of interests and the creation of innovative ideas, and directly supporting the development of partnerships for the SDGs.   

The support to and development of these mechanisms are a key element of TPI’s strategic framework. As shown in the graphic below, TPI has been directly supporting, and drawing out the theory and practice in the domain of partnership platforms for a number of years.  This has included:

  • action research and the development of theoretical frameworks for understanding platforms
  • the publication of policy inputs and guidance on their role towards the SDGs
  • high level learning events and practitioner webinars supporting the global platform community
  • directly facilitating the development of several multiple country-level partnership platforms.

TPI’s first guidance on platforms for partnership, Partnership Platforms for the SDGs, identified the key building blocks that are needed for platforms to thrive and succeed in their aims. Our latest report, as part of the SDG platform accelerator (see below), offers a functional typology of platforms

Today TPI’s support to platforms continues through the 2030 Agenda Partnership Accelerator, a collaborative initiative with the UN, in particular the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), which aims to accelerate and scale up effective partnerships in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

A key aim of the accelerator is to support effective country-driven partnership platforms for SDGs: through research on good practice, and direct support of multi-stakeholder partnership platforms and mechanisms for engaging business and other stakeholders, and catalysing partnerships for the SDGs at national level. The Accelerator develops guidance and tools, as well as assisting governments and the UN system to create new platforms.

TPI is also working with GIZ on an ongoing project to strengthen national multi-stakeholder bodies that advise on SDG implementation. Our work has resulted in an in-depth research paper and support to the Global Forum on SDG Advisory Bodies – a network structure for these national bodies -undertaken in collaboration with GIZ.

TPI’s engagement with partnership platforms spans nearly a decade, and our contribution at multiple levels, both theoretical and practical, to their development, has given us a unique perspective and depth of knowledge. We can offer direct support to platforms, in the form of design ideas, mapping / categorisation, facilitation / brokering, troubleshooting, coaching, or evaluations.

For more in-depth understanding of platforms for the SDGs, and more generally on the partnering ecosystem of support, please refer to our library of reports and guidebooks on the topic:

This report has been produced for decision-makers and their advisors within governments and the UN system who are looking to more systematically drive partnerships for the SDGs, potentially through national-level, multi-stakeholder partnership platforms for the SDGs. It presents a platform typology to provide a basis for knowledge exchange, and a brief review of experience of different types of platforms. 

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In collaboration with Wageningen University and Research and the Institute of Development Studies, this guidance paper sets out how MSPs can better use existing and new evidence and processes to assess their system-change role. It comes from experiences with four agri-food MSPs. It offers four steps for assessing effectiveness, plus six tips or lessons for putting these steps into practice. 

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Co-authored with World Vision, this paper takes a view of the current status of platforms for partnership at the national level and makes concrete proposals on ways to accelerate their progress and contribution to Agenda 2030. This work is based on recent semi-structured interviews with key informants across the stakeholder spectrum, including government, business, civil society and the United Nations.

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A Partnering Support System is the set of actors of all kinds (whether organisations, initiatives, platforms, individuals etc.) that together makes accessible the necessary support, catalysis and capacity building at the appropriate level to drive widespread development of collaborative action. This report produced as part of Promoting Effective Partnering (PEP)creates a framework and a vision for an effectively function support system, and examines the current state of the art.


This report sets out emerging good practice on creating effective platforms that can systematically engage business as a partner in development through public private collaboration. While being academically well-grounded, it is a highly pragmatic report, based on the real, on-the-ground experiences of developing and running platforms.

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