SDG Focus February – SDG #17: Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals

Relatively few would pick Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #17 as their “favourite” out of the 17 goals. However, it is a very important goal, which all the other SDGs are reliant upon. sdg 17 Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals 

In 2015, the Global Compact Network Canada conducted a SDGs Survey asking Canadian businesses to rank the top 5 SDGs according to their importance within Canada and in the world, in terms of the company’s existing initiatives and the importance for own business. The results of this survey were very interesting, and it was striking to see that SDG 17 was consistently ranked among the lowest of the priorities in each of the four questions.

In reality, goal #17 is a very important goal and deserves a lot more attention as the success of the SDGs as a whole largely relies on successful partnerships. The aim of SDG #17 is to “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development”. In fact, with 19 targets, SDG 17 includes a more comprehensive number of sub-targets than any other goal. These include targets related to finance, technology, capacity-building, trade, policy and institutional coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships and data, monitoring and accountability. Admittedly, those key words might sound less appealing than other goals with titles such as “Zero Hunger” or “Climate Action” but they are crucial for a successful sustainable development framework. How can long-term and accessible “Quality Education” be achieved without financial means, capacity and innovative technological tools? How can we guarantee “to leave no one behind” without timely reliable data that tells us who and where the most vulnerable groups are that we need to focus on?

Let’s have a closer look at what some of the targets of SDG 17 entail and how it applies to Canada and the world: sdg 17 Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals 


Target 17.02 – Developed countries to implement fully their official development assistance commitments, including the commitment by many developed countries to achieve the target of 0.7 per cent of ODA/GNI to developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries ODA providers are encouraged to consider setting a target to provide at least 0.20 per cent of ODA/GNI to least developed countries.

In 2014, Canada provided USD 4.2 billion in net Official Development Assistance (ODA) This represented 0.24% of gross national income (GNI) and a fall of 10.7% in real terms from 2013, partially due to national budget saving measures. Canada’s ODA has fallen since 2012, both in volume and as a percentage of GNI, despite SDG target 17.2 of allocating 0.7% of GNI in ODA to developing countries.


Target 17.06: Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism. sdg 17 Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals 

Despite the number of Internet users in in the world having doubled in the past five years, four billion people worldwide still do not have access to the Internet, and 90% of them are from developing countries. While 87% of Canadian households (data, 2013) are connected to the internet, a great deal of digital divide exists within the country, with only 27% of communities in Nunavut being connected virtually. Technology, science and innovation are key drivers of goals such as health, infrastructure or clean energy. Access to innovative and environmentally sound technologies will play a key role in achieving many of the SDGs. With the adoption of the SDGs UN member countries have also agreed on the establishment of a global technology facilitation mechanism as well as a Technology Bank that will enhance knowledge sharing and access to existing tools.


17.10: Promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, including through the conclusion of negotiations under its Doha Development Agenda.

A total of 79% of imports from developing countries enter developed countries duty-free. However, the share of imports from least developed countries (LDCs) – a group of countries that have been classified by the UN as “least developed” in terms of their low GNI, their weak human assets and their high degree of economic vulnerability – is relatively low. This is why Targets 17.11 and 17.12 are focused on significantly increasing the exports from developing countries, in particular with a view of doubling the LDC share of global exports by 2020. sdg 17 Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals 

Multi stakeholder partnerships

Target 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries

One of the targets of SDG 17 is to encourage and promote effective public, public-private, and civil society partnerships. These inclusive partnerships need to be built upon a shared vision and place people and the planet at the centre. Through working in partnerships the expertise, knowledge and strengths of each stakeholder can be leveraged and combined towards taking more efficient and effective joint action. In order to help achieve this, the Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC) is facilitating multi stakeholder partnerships within Canada through various channels. On February 8th 2016, the GCNC, in partnership with Global Affairs Canada organized a “National Roundtable on the Role of the Canadian Private Sector in Meeting the SDGs” which attracted hundreds of Canadians across various stakeholder groups from around the world. This event planted the seeds for future initiatives and proved that there is high interest among Canadian businesses and civil society to engage and advance the SDGs collectively through Public Private Partnerships.

Data, Monitoring and Accountability Target

17.18: By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts. sdg 17 Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals 

The overarching catch phrase for the SDGs is “to leave no one behind”. However, in order to identify and reach the most vulnerable groups, an emphasis needs to be put on high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts. Canada has put a lot of effort into gathering data on communities in remote places such as indigenous areas. However, support is needed for developing countries to enhance capacity building and build data as a reliable base for initiatives and projects advancing the SDGs.

These are only some aspects of the very comprehensive SDG 17 – “Partnerships for the goals”, on which all of the other 16 goals are dependent upon. Organized, streamlined, collective efforts are needed to ensure the success of the SDG framework and to mobilize, redirect and unlock the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources to deliver on sustainable development objectives. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are important vehicles for mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources to support the achievement of the SDGs in all countries, particularly developing countries.

To learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals and participate in future events and opportunities for engagement please contact