April 6, 2016

On Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships at the UN ECOSOC Partnership Forum

Melissa ThaxtonEcoAgriculture Partners

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative raises its voice at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Partnership Forum, 31 March 2016.

Last week I attended the UN ECOSOC Partnership Forum — organized around the theme “From commitments to results: Leveraging partnerships for the 2030 Agenda” — on behalf of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative. I had the opportunity to make a statement during the afternoon dialogue session. Member States, business, academia, and civil society all have a stake in the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. To achieve the Goals will require unprecedented cooperation and action from multi-stakeholder partnerships. My statement reflects the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative’s commitment to ensure that UN member states and agencies take seriously the effort and support required to create lasting and effective multi-stakeholder partnerships that can achieve the sustainable development goals on the ground.

Thank you and good afternoon.

I represent EcoAgriculture Partners, an NGO based in Washington DC. EcoAgriculture Partners serves as the Secretariat for the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative – an example of a multi-stakeholder partnership now in its 5th year. The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative is a global partnership of over 70 organizations who are working together, with sub-national and national governments, to advance integrated landscape management as the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“As a first step, the UN can identify and empower a high-level SDG integration advocate with the explicit mandate, and budget, to link agendas and information among institutions, promote inter-agency cooperation, and monitor progress toward a coherent effort to achieve all SDGs.”

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative is led by a core group of organizations and institutions – including the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, World Resources Institute, World Agroforestry Centre, the World Bank, the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, and EcoAgriculture Partners.

Integrated landscape management is, by definition, a collaborative, multi-sector approach to development, and can take different names in different contexts, such as forest landscape restoration and climate-smart agriculture – both of which are used at FAO – ecosystem management – the name preferred by UNEP ­– participatory watershed management, integrated territorial development, and many others.

The Landscapes for People, Food and Nature global partnership places emphasis on building strong institutions and governance structures at landscape, sub-national, and national levels; building capacity of landscape leaders and policymakers to sustainably manage landscapes to achieve multiple outcomes across environment, agriculture, health, energy, and livelihoods sectors; and facilitating the sharing of knowledge and experiences across landscapes and countries to catalyze innovative solutions to common challenges – including developing integrated financing strategies, engaging the private sector, and adopting improved technical practices.

In a white paper published by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative, called “Landscape Partnerships for Sustainable Development: Achieving the SDGs through Integrated Landscape Management,” it was recommended to improve coordination, integration and multi-sector representation within the UN system itself.

For example, as a first step, the UN can identify and empower a high-level SDG integration advocate with the explicit mandate, and budget, to link agendas and information among institutions, promote inter-agency cooperation, and monitor progress toward a coherent effort to achieve all SDGs.

My question is, “What else can the UN do to improve coordination and cooperation across agencies, and ensure system-wide integration?” Perhaps implementing the recommendations made by Dr. Nils Simon in his presentation on “New Frontiers on Accountability of Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships” is a good start.

Thank you.

Read More

Visit the SDGs platform on peoplefoodandnature.org for more on how we can transform our world together.
Download Dr. Simon’s presentation at the Partnership Forum’s website by clicking “Special Presentation” under “Resources.”

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2 Comments

  • Tim Gieseke
    April 10, 2016 at 10:59am

    The challenging topic of governance does hold some fruit. I see governance shifts occurring in my work in agricultural landscape mainly due to the interconnectedness afforded by technology. It allows ‘shared governance’ ;where partnerships, accountability, ownership and equity occur at the point of services. In my work, that is the field and landscape. But this is a great enough social shift to enable shared governance in human health, life-long education and other social issues. With these insights, I have been able to ‘measure’ governance of multi-sector projects and then manage this often unwieldy issue.

  • EDDY
    June 26, 2016 at 9:48am

    Rwanda Institute for conflict transformation and peace building is seeking to know it can partner and for a membership with your organization as well representing you in great lakes region.

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