The project ”Partnerships and participation in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and in global sustainability governance” (PRIO 2030) is based at the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University. The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS). Karin Bäckstrand, Aysem Mert, Faradj Koliev and Hugo Faber are project members.

The SDGs and Agenda 2030 aim to achieve fifteen sustainable development goals, through global and multi-stakeholder partnerships (Goal 17), and inclusive governance mechanisms at all levels (Goal 16). Research in environmental social science shows that the specific ways in which partnership and inclusion are practised, have major consequences for the achievement of policy goals. Therefore, the successful implementation of the Agenda 2030 depends on effective and legitimate partnerships. It also depends on responsive, representative and participatory models of inclusion of its stakeholders.

The aim of this project is thus to understand how the two process-oriented goals of partnerships and inclusion:

  • are being taken up in existing SDG initiatives;
  • how they are perceived and interpreted by key stakeholders;
  • and how this influences the perceived legitimacy and success of SDG initiatives.

To do this, we will examine and compare how the partnership model (Goal 17) and inclusive decision-making (Goal 16) is implemented in a select number of substantive SDGs. These are:

  • Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy)
  • Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities)
  • and Goal 13 (Climate Action)

The study will provide preliminary results, based on fieldwork and interviews at the 2019 session of the UN’s High Level Political Forum. The long term aim is to build a larger research proposal on the political effects of the partnerships discourse, effectiveness and inclusion in global sustainability governance.