Draft MSP Charter

Thank you to everyone who provided comments, suggestions, and questions on the zero (first) draft! 

The MSP Charter: Principles of Multi-stakeholder Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Zero (First) Draft, April 2018

We declare that we strive to adhere to the following principles when designing and implementing multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) for sustainable development:



Objectives of MSPs

MSPs for sustainable development are specific commitments and contributions, undertaken together by various partners intended to support the implementation of transformation towards sustainable development and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Link With Globally Agreed Outcomes

MSPs for sustainable development are meant to complement governmental and intergovernmental activities and initiatives towards implementation of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. They serve to mobilize the capacities of stakeholders and citizens for achieving the transformative agenda on the ground.

Tangible Results

Each MSP should define its intended outcome and benefits. MSPs should have clear objectives and set specific measurable targets and timeframes for their achievement. All partners should explicitly commit to their role in achieving the aims and objectives of the respective MSP.

Review & Follow-up Processes

MSPs for sustainable development commit to keeping the United Nations’ relevant bodies, and governments at national, sub-national and/or local levels where they work, informed about their activities and progress in achieving their targets.

They aim to actively take part in review processes at all levels, sharing lessons learned about factors of success and failure, and developing and implementing strategies for scaling up and out.



Voluntary Nature

Organisations and individuals can serve to ‘broker’ MSPs by reaching out to potential partners and bringing them together to explore collaboration. However, MSPs will always need to be of a voluntary nature, set up by the partners working together.

Form Follows Function

MSPs are the strategy of choice when they seem to promise the best, or the only way to achieve desired results. Ideally, MSPs are part of an overall transformation strategy that may include regulation, capacity development, financial investments, technological innovation, and many more.

MSP designs and set-ups are unique, and shall depend on their specific objectives and conditions under which they operate.

Integrated Approach To Sustainable Development

MSPs for sustainable development strive to integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in their design and implementation. They should be consistent with relevant strategies and policies of the countries, regions and communities where their implementation takes place.

Multi-stakeholder Approach

MSPs for sustainable development follow a multi-stakeholder approach. They are inclusive in nature, involving all relevant actors in their area of work. MSPs can be arranged among any combination of partners, including governments, regional groups, local authorities, non-governmental actors, international institutions and private sector partners. All partners should be involved in the development of the MSP from an early stage, so that it is genuinely participatory in approach. Yet as partnerships evolve, there should also be opportunities for additional partners to join on an equal basis.

Respect for Fundamental Principles and Values

MSPs for sustainable development are based on mutual respect and shared responsibility of the partners involved, taking into account the Rio Declaration Principles and the values expressed in Agenda 2030.

Transparency and Accountability

MSPs for sustainable development should be developed and implemented in an open and transparent manner and in good faith, so that ownership of the MSP process and its outcomes is shared among all partners, and all partners are equally accountable. They should specify arrangements to monitor and review their performance against the objectives and targets they set and report in regular intervals. These reports should be made accessible to the public. Financial information should be made public as part of regular reporting. Available and /or expected sources of funding and/or investment should be identified.

Systemic Approach

MSPs take a systemic approach to addressing complex challenges when defining their goals and strategies, and building a shared understanding of the whole system context. This includes looking at all factors, institutions, rules and assumptions and aiming to transform all elements that need change and development in order to achieve the MSP’s goals.

Communicating Effectively, Working With Power and Dealing with Conflict

Effective communication is a key success factor for MSPs, supported by high quality facilitation and joint reflection of how partners communicate within the partnership. MSPs for sustainable development strive to address potential power differences among themselves in a constructive manner so as to ensure fairness in the management of risks and reaping of benefits. This may include investing in building partners’ capacities. MSPs aim to deal with potential conflict in just and open ways, harnessing lessons learned and ensuring overcoming conflicts respectfully and creatively.

Promoting Collaborative Leadership and Fostering Learning

In successful MSPs, leadership is a shared effort where partners’ formal and informal leading roles with regard to political, economic, cultural and other aspects work together to support and enable the cross-sector approach. Participatory, collective learning is at the heart of MSPs. In the process of learning, different partners’ perspectives become clear and mutual understanding among partners can grow so that diversity can indeed foster creativity and innovation.