Partnerships in Response to COVID-19



UN Partner

Offered by

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Author Xiaolan Fu

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Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are multi-stakeholder initiatives voluntarily undertaken by governments, intergovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders, and whose efforts are contributing to the implementation the 2030 Agenda. Addressing complex global challenges requires collective efforts from stakeholders across different sectors, supported by science, technology, and innovation from multiple disciplines. Partnerships can serve as an effective vehicle to bring together resources and knowledge from a wide range of societal actors to form a powerful force to tackle global challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of our highly interconnected societies, posing an unprecedented challenge to all countries and all peoples, and in particular putting those farthest behind at even greater risk. Slowing the pace of COVID-19 and mitigating its impact cannot be the work of governments alone, instead it requires an all-of-society response.

COVID-19 has underscored the importance of enhancing global collaboration and effective partnerships among all sectors and stakeholders – not only in facing the immense challenges posed by the pandemic, but also to build back better. Multi-stakeholder collaboration is thus an important mechanism to tackle the challenges of COVID-19 and will be essential as societies begin to recover and look to build more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community has made significant efforts to mobilize partnerships to accelerate the global response – providing urgent health and socio-economic responses and supporting communities to live with the pandemic, as well as working towards post-pandemic recovery and ensuring we “build back better”.

Most remarkably, while it usually takes considerable time to develop and form a partnership, during COVID-19, partnerships were built up rapidly in just a few weeks or months.

This study looks at 36 partnerships for leveraging and exchanging resources, combining and integrating partners’ resources, and collaborative work to generate system transformations.

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