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It’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it – diverse partners coming together for impact

Nikki Feltham
Nikki Feltham

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At Wasafiri, it has been hugely exciting to support the World Economic Forum’s Georgie Passalaris and the Impact, Measurement and Management team in evaluating the progress of their new response to tackling some of the world’s most complex problems. The new grant-funded multistakeholder platforms are collaborations of diverse, cross-sector stakeholders with a shared ambition to deliver specific mission-driven outcomes.

Complex problems these platforms are tackling include mobilising climate action to reduce carbon emissions and striving for net-zero outcomes, strengthening nature-based solutions, improving water and ocean systems, and giving a focus to catalysing systems change. 

Using 13 of their multistakeholder platforms (including Global Plastic Action Partnership, Scale360 ̊, Sustainable Development Investment Partnership, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship among others), the joint team looked at the progress made and the key characteristics of the partnerships that enabled this.

For us at Wasafiri as we continue to develop our systems thinking approach Systemcraft, the following three insights have the loudest resonance:

  1. Topics have acted as door openers to more difficult conversations – By collaborating on a challenge that stakeholders can align on, such platforms can act as entry points into more complex and interconnected challenges, expanding scopes and evolving the collaboration further.
  2. Open and trusted dialogue is essential – Crucially, the production process can be as important as the products – joint development by public and private sector and civil society actors whose collective action is required to bring about change, builds trust for further action.
  3. The value of partnerships lies in their dynamic nature – They can adapt and respond to changing contexts and environments. Partnerships are helping to adapt to these changing conditions by launching innovations, fostering new partnerships, and mobilizing new sources of funding and financing. Ensuring that such partnerships have room to grow and evolve is fundamental to their success.

Making change happen needs unlikely bedfellows to work together. These platforms are leveraging the Forum’s global network to increase collaboration between diverse stakeholders. The insights tell us that it is not just the impact they have in the here and now, but the increase in real connections made that will make the difference.

Wasafiri supported the World Economic Forum in the production of this report detailing the contribution to SDGs and Paris Climate Agreement, and lessons learned. It was published as part of Day 1 of the Davos Agenda 2022.

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