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‘Partnerships are key to delivering the SDGs and driving business and social development’, was the clear message coming out of the first ever symposium dedicated to strengthening collaboration for development in Kosovo.

Hosted by the United Nations Kosovo Team (UNKT) and The Partnering Initiative, the workshop brought together sixty participants from across the Kosovan public sector, civil society organisations, the UN system and business. Its purpose was to build understanding of the concept of collaboration as a key international development mechanism, to explore its potential in Kosovo, and to gain endorsement from key actors across Kosovan society towards taking a partnering approach.

From the level of engagement and reaction of the participants, the event more than achieved its objectives, and could potentially become a watershed moment towards the adoption of multi-sector approaches in Kosovo.

TPI’s Executive Director, Darian Stibbe, introduced the day with a 30,000 ft overview of the changing landscape of development, transitioning from the Millennium Development Goals, typified by linear and often quite siloed approaches, ‘owned’ by government and the development community, to the complexity of the SDGs in which all societal sectors are essential development actors and a much more systemic, holistic, collaborative and bottom-up approach is essential.

He reviewed the rich tapestry of partnerships which bring together the unique resources and competencies of each of the societal sectors to deliver more effective, more innovative, more efficient and/or more sustainable development. He called special attention to the importance of the private sector, as the engine of growth, in collaborating in ways that support their business ambitions while ensuring commensurate positive social and sustainable impact for Kosovo.

TPI Senior Advisor, Todd Kirkbride, continued on to give some insights from his years of experience of partnering around the nature of cross-sector collaborations and the key factors that make them a success.

The second half of the workshop put the participants into action, with the challenge to come up with an idea for a partnership that creates significant value towards Kosovan development, while creating real value for all of the partners involved.

Participants took on the challenge with great interest and vigour to develop ideas for four partnerships – all genuinely viable: two around employment and youth engagement, one on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and one on the environmental impact on health.

The partnership ideas included named organisations from all societal sectors along with clarity over the resources each was bringing and how combining those resources would deliver the activities and actions to achieve the goals of the partnership.

Co-creation labs to take forward some of the ideas, and a business leaders symposium are planned for later in the year.

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