SDG-17-Sustainable-development-through-global-partnershipsImplementing a transformative framework like the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires a paradigm shift in how governments at all levels, the UN System, and other entities enter into partnerships for development.  Successfully integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into national, regional and local development plans requires interested actors to think outside the box and move beyond what was done in the era of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs stress the importance of transparency and accountability and, as a result, partnerships for sustainable development must evolve. Governments at all levels must work with one another, as well as with all stakeholders, including civil society, to truly usher in an era of sustainable development. With the conclusion of the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in July 2015, the world must now operationalize the means of implementing the SDGs through mechanisms that ensure technology transfer to developing countries, debt relief, and other international efforts, as well as national and regional processes that ensure that important segments of society, not just the private sector, are seen as reliable partners for sustainable development.  The Communitas Coalition participated in these efforts at the international level and mobilized its partners, including those involved in the World Urban Campaign (WUC), to become involved in the work that is taking place at other levels as to ensure the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is truly a success.  

Since the aims of private capital owners are not always consistent with the urban sustainability aspirations of governments and other stakeholders, well-functioning national and subnational development banks can play an important intermediary role. Development banks can be instrumental in financing development projects in line with sustainable development plans, based on sound lending frameworks and compliance with appropriate social and environmental safeguards, particularly in credit market segments in which commercial banks are not fully engaged and where large financing gaps exist. Although the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development evokes the role of development banks some 30 times, there is still a lack of coordinated effort and attention to the potential role of subnational banks.

It is against this context that, in collaboration with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the UN Finance for Development Office, and the UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Communitas facilitated discussions about the role of development banks and municipal finance.

Public-Private Partnerships for Urban Infrastructure at Habitat III


Cities and sub-national governments are on the front lines for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda, but coming up with the resources to finance implementation – estimated at trillions of dollars per year globally – is a critical challenge facing all levels of government. Following up on previous events around this important question of finance and public-private partnerships (PPPs), Communitas hosted a session on this topic at the World Stage during the Habitat III Conference in Quito. This session presented a range of perspectives on PPPs for urban infrastructure and discussed a set of Draft Principles for PPPs aimed at enhancing local and regional governments’ understanding of and capacity for dealing with PPPs.

The session included: one or more speakers from local/regional governments that have engaged in PPPs, NGO/labor representative with a critical perspective on PPPs, and the Communitas Research Director who presented the Draft Principles for PPPs and initiate an active dialogue with participants.

More information available below:

Draft Principles for PPPs for Urban Infrastructure

Concept Note


PPPs for Urban Infrastructure: Draft Principles, Presentation by James Goldstein, Communitas Coalition

PPPs in the Planning and Management of Solid Waste, Presentation by Luana Temponi, Development Agency of Belo Horizante Metropolitan Region, Brazil

PPPs for Urban Infrastructure, Statement by Sandra Vermuyten, Head of Campaigns, Public Services International

National and Subnational Development Banks and the SDGs

On 16 September 2016, the Communitas Coalition, along with the Tellus Institute and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, organized an event at the Ford Foundation entitled “National and Sub-National Development Banks and the SDGs.” With the support of various partners, like UNCTAD, the UN Financing for Development Office, and the Ford Foundation, this workshop brought key agencies and organizations together to explore development banks as a mechanism that can provide long-term capital and advisory services for SDG implementation, particularly in areas like infrastructure projects, businesses, agriculture, and other sectors whose financial needs cannot be served solely by the public sector, commercial banks or capital markets. The goal of the workshop was to ultimately establish a partnership of various stakeholders around this topic and thus have an impact on policies around sustainable development.  

Below, you can access the outcome report of the workshop, as well as the presentations of the various speakers.

Outcomes Report

Presentation 1: Aniket Shah, SDSN

Presentation 2: Shari Spiegel, UN Financing for Development Office

Presentation 3: Jason Moore, NY Green Bank

Presentation 4: Robert Youngs, Coalition for Green Capital

Public-Private Partnerships: Workshop toward guiding principles

Public-Private Partnerships: Workshop toward guiding principles

In an effort to establish guiding principles for PPPs in implementing the SDGs, Communitas organized a convening of leading thinkers and practitioners with a broad range of views on PPPs for urban infrastructure. Presenters and participants included representatives from local government, the UN, NGOs, researchers, development institutions, and the private sector. The meeting provided a venue for an exchange of views on the potential benefits and risks of PPPs with the aim of identifying conditions under which such partnerships can be beneficial for cities and regions. Key documents and presentations can be viewed below.

Draft Principles for PPPs for Urban Infrastructure

Concept Note


Urban Infrastructure and PPPs, Presentation by Aniket Shah

PPPs for Urban Infrastructure – Benefits Risks, Presentation by Michael Replogle

PPPs in São Paulo State, Presentation by Martina Mueller

Facilitation of the Major Groups & Stakeholders Coordination Mechanism for the UN HLPF

The United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF), the apex body that is meant to govern the follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will require stakeholder participation if it is to be successful. In an effort to unite the UN Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) around this important work of follow-up and review, the Communitas Coalition directly engaged in the facilitating the establishment of an MGoS HLPF Coordination Mechanism, which can ensure a stronger voice for MGoS in the HLPF process. Communitas facilitated the elaboration of the terms of reference to govern this mechanism.