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Unlocking a Sustainable Future: Exploring the Power of Global Partnerships

In today's increasingly troubled and constantly evolving world, international cooperation and partnerships are critical to address some of the most significant challenges facing us. From securing gender equality to combatting the climate change crisis, all sectors of society – private, public, and civic – must come together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is through partnerships and collaborations at the local to international levels that we can create a better, more equal, and more prosperous world for all people. In fact, time and again, it is through crucial partnerships that we have been able to overcome challenges. 


In 1950, over two million people across the globe died due to smallpox alone. This rapidly spreading and highly contagious disease took an immense toll on Africa and Asia. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that to eliminate the disease, 80% of the world’s population would need to be vaccinated. An international effort was taken, and the vaccine program was successful, and on May 8th, 1980, WHO officially declared the global eradication of smallpox. In 2016, a severe outbreak of yellow fever, a viral infection that spreads through mosquito bites, broke out in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a response, the WHO launched a program called EYE (Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics) to combat the epidemic. Partnering with WHO, Unicef provided vaccinations to at-risk populations in 40 countries around the world. It is because of these partnerships and international cooperation that there have been no new cases of yellow fever outbreaks. Beyond healthcare, partnerships can be leveraged for issues such as gender inequality. 


The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) is an example of international efforts towards gender equality. UN Women works to achieve gender equality by advocating for women's rights and promoting their leadership and participation in decision making processes. Additionally, UN Women works to end violence against women and girls, and it is because of international cooperation and the commitment of private and civic spheres towards gender equality that progress is made towards a more just and equal world for all people, no matter their background. Ultimately, it is partnerships that mobilize and accelerate action towards the SDGs, and that is the essence of SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals. 


The aforementioned global challenges are examples of SDG 17 in action, but the SDG also includes innovative work between and among researchers to develop new technologies and solutions to global issues, and partnerships between communities and local governments to promote sustainable development at the local level. Partnerships for the goals is fostering collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders – civic, public, and private society – to achieve a more sustainable and equitable world for all. 

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