The COVID-19 pandemic has shown opportunities for strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships, especially among development partners, as they mitigate the economic, environmental and social impacts for the most vulnerable. Pandemic response efforts have often left women and children, farmers, fisherfolk, Indigenous Peoples, and urban poor, among other sectors, behind. Despite the trend of shrinking civic spaces and the threats they face, civil society organizations (CSOs) have served as ‘first responders’ to the threats of the pandemic, as they were able to urgently respond to the needs of their communities and sectors. Throughout the pandemic, CSOs have proven their commitment to ensuring a rights-based, people-centered and climate-resilient development for all. 

As the Asia-Pacific region continues to ‘build back better’, countries’ progress on SDG 17 in addressing the pandemic must be evaluated. SDG 17 provides the means to advance other SDGs, facilitating poverty reduction, zero hunger, good health, gender equality, quality education, and climate action, among other goals. 

As CSOs integrate a social, economic and environmental approach to the pandemic, civil society partnerships must be further promoted for immediate relief, recovery and even long-term development. Multi-stakeholder partnerships, meanwhile, entail monitoring the initiatives of other development actors, and seeking accountability for their pandemic response. There is a need for concerted and collaborative efforts from various development actors in order to ensure that the marginalized and vulnerable, who face the brunt of the health, socio-economic and climate crisis, are not left behind.  

Therefore, the Reality of Aid-Asia Pacific, CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness-Asia, and Council for People’s Development and Governance, will be holding a side event, “Building Back Better, Together: How can SDG 17 and civil society partnerships ensure genuine development in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic?” during the UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum for Sustainable Development 2022, to unpack the following points: 

    1. After two years of facing the pandemic, what are the best practices of CSOs in urgently responding to people’s needs? How have CSOs promoted sustainable development despite increasing threats of COVID-19 infection and shrinking civic spaces?
    2. For CSOs, what does COVID-19 recovery and building back better entail? How can these visions be achieved through the promotion of SDG 17 and multi-stakeholder partnerships?
    3. How should we measure progress in SDG 17, especially in terms of multi-stakeholder partnerships? How can CSOs demand accountability from development partners? 
    4. What are the barriers CSOs face in working with development partners? How can development partners elevate and advance the role of CSOs in addressing the pandemic and its consequences? 

“Building Back Better, Together” will be held on March 29, 2022, Tuesday, at 17:45-19:00 BKK. The webinar is open to all. Register here:


The Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development is an annual and inclusive intergovernmental forum and a regional platform for supporting countries, in particular those with special needs, in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development while serving as a regional preparatory meeting to the high-level political forum.


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