The deadline to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is fast approaching. With less than eight years to go, UN member nations are working toward the 17 global goals aimed at improving lives through peace and prosperity, protecting the planet, and ending poverty. 


Headway is being made on the UN SDGs. Yet, it remains inconsistent and insufficient to realistically achieve the goals by 2030, with the climate crisis, violent conflicts, rising inequity and a global pandemic all threatening to undermine progress.  


This month, UN Member States as well as civil society organizations will convene to review and follow up on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a particular consideration of the impact of COVID-19 on attaining the Agenda’s vision. 


The 10th annual session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development—a key UN platform on sustainable development—takes place from 5-15 July. To coincide with the Forum, Access Accelerated kicks off a special four-part series, exploring how the initiative is working with our network of international partners and local implementers to reflect on and rethink solutions and approaches to ensure continued and accelerated progress towards the UN SDGs.  


Access Accelerated commits to supporting the SDGs

Underlying our work, Access Accelerated is committed to supporting the UN SDGs. In particular, the target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030 (3.4), achieving Universal Health Coverage (3.8) and the target to strengthen the means of implementation and global partnership (17). 


Tackling a complex health challenge 

Addressing a complex and broad health challenge such as NCDs is no small—nor solo undertaking: it requires strong collaboration and cross-sector solutions. Multi-sectoral partnerships require a catalyst, as well as a structure and a system to ensure their success and sustainability. Holding in place these partnerships to drive collective impact is the so-called “connective tissue”. 


What is Connective Tissue? 

Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International defines connective tissue as “the social capital, knowledge creation and trust that—in the best case—arises when multiple efforts pulling in the same direction create unified progress”. 


While less easily visible and quantifiable, the supportive elements and qualities of connective tissue can be pivotal to the sustainability and scalability of collaborative projects. That is, shared systems, information, language, goals and trust, all encourage and facilitate alignment, collaboration and coordinated action. 


How Access Accelerated is building connective tissue

Over the past five years, Access Accelerated has been focused on building this “connective tissue” through consistent interactions among public and private partners across time and space that result in knowledge-sharing, strengthened relationships based on a common goal and ultimately, trust.


Activities undertaken through the initiative are all working toward improvements through a common environmental, social and governance lens. For example, partner projects are developing environmental policies to align with wider social goals, and analyses are being conducted on how to invest funding for capacity-building and accountability. Similarly, partners are emphasizing equity in their engagements and striving for sustainability in their partnering.


Where we go from here: Strengthening the Connective Tissue  

To fully realize our goal of sustained and improved access to NCD prevention and care, we need to intentionally strengthen this connective tissue. At Access Accelerated, our focus includes:  


  1. Developing stronger coordination to identify mutually reinforcing activities where multiple partners operate in the same geographies; and
  2. Where different partners engage with the same stakeholders, establishing shared agendas, and ensuring that roles and responsibilities are better defined, such that partners complement one another with their unique know-how. 


Meaningful engagement across partners and concerted action for NCDs are well within reach. Building and strengthening the connective tissue to hold together system-level partnerships is one clear way to support and accelerate progress towards this and ultimately, the UN SDGs. 


Learn more about the collective action and impact of our partner projects in the 2021 Access Accelerated Measurement Framework Report.