It was called the “Joint Thematic Debate/Forum on Partnerships”. And it was, indeed, a debate – spirited, but with good will — on how necessary, but difficult, multi-stakeholder partnerships may be when addressing the looming existential challenges for global society.
For two days, leading public and private sector experts from around the world focused on how only these partnerships can solve the need for food and national security, marine and other resources, and sustainable infrastructure. If successful, it was said, this would improve the quality of life and standard of living in developing countries — thereby diminishing the likelihood of brutal conflicts.
Listening to the many diverse points of view, it was nevertheless possible to come to this overriding conclusion: Governments, civil society and business must collaborate more effectively than ever before. Too, the framework for this needed cooperation is evolving in the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda, successor to the fast-maturing UN Millennium Development Goals. The objective: The mobilization and effective use of all resources — research, technology, innovation, finance and human capacity — in international development.
Among the reasons to hope for success: Companies applying their core competencies; new technologies; and increasing CSR commitment in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as supply chains.
However, representatives of Vietnam, Bangladesh and Nicaragua expressed concern, over the potential for misdirected flow of financial resources; high unemployment among young adults; the need for total transparency and accountability ; and the importance of alignment with individual developing country priorities.
Much said this week at the UN. Much to be done.