Partnerships to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals. The case of El Día Después (The Day After)

Collaboration, cooperation and partnerships are terms that have generated growing expectations as strategies to accelerate the necessary changes, that will in turn lead to attaining the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Moreover, SDG 17 specifically states that “The SDGs can only be realized with strong global partnerships and cooperation”.

However, there are many ways that people and organizations can collaborate or interact, but few that lead to real, systemic change.

In December 2019, the four finalists for the internationally recognized Tate Turner Prize requested that the jury award the prize to all of them to be shared equally, appealing to the values of common interests, diversity and solidarity. In addition, they imagined it as a way to question existing structures and renegotiate hierarchies.

With this example, Leda Stott, of itdUPM, and David F. Murphy, of the Initiative for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS), analyze the partnerships in the article “An Inclusive Approach to Partnerships for the SDGs”.

The article addresses the need to understand these partnerships in a more inclusive way, and to be aware of the importance of interpersonal connections.

Both authors propose a specific model through which to explore the relationships formed within partnerships between various organizations or people, as well as how to distance ourselves from those partnerships that are merely functional or transactional, and how to adopt the approach of those that are more inclusive and which have the potential for real transformation.

The case of El Día Después (The Day After)

Nevertheless, the key to truly understanding these approaches are the examples and references from which we can draw inspiration to develop such partnerships and, above all, to achieve the necessary transformation.

In March 2020, four entities that had previously worked together to promote the SDGs launched El Día Después, in immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis, with the ambitious goal of designing the infrastructure for SDG17: Partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the article “Catalyzing Transformational Partnerships for the SDGs”, Jaime Moreno, Teresa Sánchez, Miguel Soberón, Julio Lumbreras and Carlos Mataix, all promoters of El Día Después, together with Wendy Purcell from Harvard University, analyze how this partnership was created and how it was able to generate social impact in a matter of months, with an advanced approach through transformational relationships.

During this time, el Día Después (The Day After) has taken another step towards becoming a partnership incubator, where public administrations interact with interest groups on equal terms, whether they be companies, social or academic entities, experts, citizens, etc.

Thus, these interactions are leading to a series of initiatives that are connected by a shared vision, and with the aim of achieving systemic change in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The aim of this article is to show how the evolution of El Día Después can serve as a reference for similar transformational partnership initiatives that have begun to emerge elsewhere.

Austin&Seitanidi, 2012

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