Meetings between UN Member States and civil society organizations continue into their second week at the 2022 annual High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). At the center of discussions is how to restore, rebuild and re-establish progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) amid the aftershocks of COVID-19. Five SDGs are given particular focus this year, namely SDGs 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land), and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). 


In this second installment of a four-part special series by Access Accelerated on advancing the UN SDGs, we take a deeper dive into the last goalGoal 17: Partnerships for the Goalsand ask why working together is so critical, why it can be so challenging, and ultimately, how we can better collaborate if we are to achieve the SDGs by 2030. 


The role of the private sector in achieving sustainable development

In 2015, all 193 UN member states signed on to a global compact: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It represented a landmark agreement, providing a bold roadmap for how to achieve global peace, prosperity and progress. Notably, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development underscored the significant role of the private sector in helping to achieve the goals.  


A call for inclusive, multisectoral, revitalized partnerships


“A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society.” – United Nations


This statement was a universal call by the United Nations, articulating that which we can all agree on: no one person, organization, or sector can achieve these targets alone. 


Multi-sectoral partnerships help us to mobilize resourcesfrom information to expertise to financial resources—which are critical to the successful implementation of the Agenda, particularly in the most resource-constrained countries


“It’s not just a simple matter of crowd-sourcing resources,” explains Martin Bernhardt, Director of Access Accelerated. “Partnerships based on co-creation, collaboration, synergy, and trust towards a shared goal, are more likely to lead to better solutions, results and impact, which is key to addressing a complex, and multifaceted challenge such as NCDs.” 


Collaboration at the core of Access Accelerated 

Access Accelerated is a global collective of more than 20 leading biopharmaceutical companies committed to co-creating solutions to advance access to NCD services in developing economies. Achieving this ambitious goal means coordinating with government-led efforts, working closely with local stakeholders and partnering with organizations with specialist expertise in health systems strengthening and NCDs, including City Cancer Challenge, NCD Alliance, PATH, the World Bank and the World Heart Federation


The challenge of cooperation 

Multisectoral cooperation can be complicated, often addressing a layered and urgent issue involving diverse and multiple stakeholders. Partnerships don’t happen on their own; they require concerted effort to develop systems, processes and mechanisms that support alignment, build common understanding, facilitate coordination and manage relationships.* 


Case study: A win-win with the World Bank 

Access Accelerated provides an example that it is indeed not only possible for partners across sectors to come together collectively to address global health, but critical to achieve meaningful impact. 


Since partnering with Access Accelerated five years ago, the World Bank has scaled up funding for NCDs, with the World Bank now leading a USD$5.5 billion NCD portfolio that is driving sustainable solutions in 40 countries. For one of the most underfunded health issues relative to the number of people impacted, this is proof of the power of partnerships. In 2021, with Access Accelerated support, the World Bank created 42 new NCD projects and 105 new local engagements, renewing an urgent response to NCDs. 


On the ground partner projects with the World Bank have helped to support El Salvador’s Ministry of Health, regional authorities and people living with NCDs to pilot an integrated health care service delivery model for cervical cancer that has provided 14,000 doses of HPV vaccines to local communities. In Ghana,  the Ghanian Health System (GHS) engaged people living with NCDs to fill the gaps in the country’s NCD data, which helped to inform Ghana’s 2020-2025 national NCD policy and strategic plan.


“The World Bank recognizes the critical role of the private sector in addressing some of the most urgent health issues we face today,” explains Andreas Seiter at the World Bank.  “Our collaboration with Access Accelerated is helping to prioritize, support and rapidly scale up NCD projects at the country level.”  


Through facilitating a unified approach, Access Accelerated has reimagined a model of collaboration with the World Bank that is advancing and accelerating progress in strengthening access to life-saving NCD prevention, treatment and care.

Learn more about our work with the World Bank Group


* Hinton, R., Armstrong, C., Asri, E. et al. Specific considerations for research on the effectiveness of multisectoral collaboration: methods and lessons from 12 country case studies. Global Health 17, 18 (2021).