SCIENCE NEWS: Partnerships for Sustainable Development Goals may perpetuate inequalities among countries

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Partnerships between organizations that support the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may perpetuate inequalities in resources between high and low-income countries according to new research. The findings are published in Scientific Reports.

The SDGs promote social and economic development and environmental sustainability. Public and private sector partnerships can facilitate the sharing of expertise and resources by supporting SDG implementation. It was not clear which countries were involved in these partnerships or which goals they supported before this study.

Malgorzata Blicharska and colleagues analyzed data on 2,876 partnerships, involving organizations from 195 countries, registered on the UN’s SDG Partnerships Platform–a global database of partnerships and the SDGs they support–in July 2019. The researchers found that 60% of the countries involved in SDG partnerships were high or upper-middle-income countries, while 24% were lower-middle-income countries and 16% were low-income countries. On average, each low-income country was involved in 18 partnerships, while each high income country was involved in 34 partnerships and each upper-middle and lower-middle income country was involved in 30 partnerships. Of partnerships involving organizations from more than one country, 55% were between organizations from low or middle-income countries,10% involved only organizations from high-income countries, and 35% were between organizations from high and low or middle-income countries.

The researchers also discovered that partnerships were influenced by the income of the countries involved. As the income of the countries concerned increased, the percentage of partnerships that focused on SDGs to improve health and wellbeing and gender equality fell. These countries might not be able to benefit from the expertise and resources of countries with higher incomes when they implement these goals.

The authors suggest that the unequal distribution of SDG partnerships globally may perpetuate existing inequalities in resources between higher and lower-income countries and that inequalities in partnership establishment and implementation need to be addressed for the SDGs to be achieved. They recommend that funders should support organizations in low-income countries and encourage partnerships between organizations in high and low-income countries in order to promote sustainable development worldwide.

More information:
Malgorzata Blicharska, SDG partnerships may perpetuate the global North-South divide, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-01534-6.

Sustainable Development Goals partnerships may perpetuate inequalities between countries (2021, November 25)
retrieved 25 November 2021

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