United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Framework Partnership Agreement between Forus and the European Union


    In a context where progress remains too slow to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the robust operationalisation of SDGs 16 and 17 can unlock the potential to fully meet the 2030 objectives. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges to reach the SDG targets and put to the forefront the need for a multi-stakeholder effort to build back better. The inclusion of CSOs in these efforts and in the implementation of Agenda 2030 is essential. Through its FPA, Forus developed multilevel advocacy and supported its members’ work on the SDGs, with a focus on SDGs 16 & 17. Particular attention was put on strengthening the capacities of CSO platforms to represent a vibrant civil society voice.


    This practice illustrates a partnership around a multi-level initiative for the effective implementation of Agenda 2030, with a focus on SDGs 16 and 17. It recognises the interlinkages between SDG 16 (good governance, civic space, human rights) and SDG 17 (Means Of Implementation, capacity-building, financing for development, multi-stakeholder partnerships) and their potential to accelerate the successful implementation of the other 15 SDGs. The multi-sectoral approach promoted by the Agenda 2030 provides an opportunity to increase the involvement of civil society in policy and decision-making for sustainable development. The objective of this practice is for CSOs to be strengthened and able to effectively aggregate their voice, develop joint recommendations and engage in an impactful way in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    This initiative was implemented at various levels - from local to global – with both a common focus (SDGs 16 & 17). Thus, it has contributed to SDG implementation in different ways. Globally, it for instance targeted the UN HLPF process where the advocacy for an annual review of SDG 16 has reached some success. The campaign also raised awareness of the importance of SDGs 16 & 17. Since civil society is active in a range of thematic fields of activity, the initiative indirectly contributes to the pursuit of basically all SDGs.

    Implementation methodologies

    Forus and its national and regional members, signatories to the EU FPA, worked jointly to develop and implement the project. Advocacy and capacity-development activities were co-designed and mutually reinforcing throughout. This strengthened the capacity of CSO platforms to convene civil society, to develop and coordinate joint messages and activities at different levels for strong advocacy reflecting the diversity and joint values in civil society, and to enable collective learning and peer exchange. It allowed for contextualized approaches and pooling of resources and knowledge. Embedding national organisations into a global network, promoting solidarity and horizontality, were key in a context of shrinking space and to unlock potential for innovation. It allowed for a coordinated push for the accelerated implementation of SDGs 16 and 17 as catalyzers for the full realization of the Agenda 2030. The project was carried out in several languages: mainly English, Spanish and French, but also Portuguese; with M&E and Learning activities built in throughout. Examples of activities: • Support to projects (subgrants) by Forus members at national and regional levels, with high adaptability to respective contexts and needs. Read about the work on SDGs in Spain, Senegal, Peru, India, Paraguay and Slovenia • Engagement with VNR processes, including CSO shadow reports • Publication of reports based on case studies, eg on SDG 16 and SDG 17 (analysing progress on commitments about capacity-building of CSOs for SDG implementation) • Advocacy on SDGs 16, 17, on UN HLPF Review process and enhanced CSO inclusion • Capacity-development events and webinars • Development of campaigns including #Unmute civil society campaign, A Space For Us podcast, multimedia campaign on enabling environment


    The practice has shown significant impact in raising civil society’s voice on Agenda 2030 at global, regional and national level. Results include • Development and inclusion of policy asks (eg SDG 16 annual review) • Increased awareness about the importance of SDGs 16 & 17 for realizing Agenda 2030 • Increased inclusion of CSOs in SDG-related processes • Enhanced advocacy capacities of national and regional CSO platforms Output examples • Realizing the Potential of Goal 16 to promote and protect Civic Space • Are governments delivering on the Capacity Development of Civil Society to ensure a successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda? • The review of the HLPF as an opportunity to strengthen multi-stakeholder participation & improve SDG implementation • Progressing National SDGs Implementation • The Big Changes needed in Financing for Sustainable Development • Guidelines for CSO shadow reports monitoring the implementation of Agenda 2030 at national level • CSO Shadow Report from Nepal (2017)

    Factors and Constraints

    Key enabling factors • The support to Forus and partnership with the EU through the FPA. This has provided access not only to financial resources but also opportunities to open spaces and engage in policy dialogue with EU institutions and delegations, as well as other organizations linked to the implementation of the SDGs. • The breadth of the Forus network spanning over 60 countries where members developed key messages and initiatives and engaged with decision-makers at various levels Key constraints • The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and interlinked crises • Shrinking civic space • Shifts in political landscape • Heavy administrative workload

    Sustainability and replicability

    The Forus initiative on SDGs 16 & 17 was largely possible because it is a global network of members and partners from civil society and other sectors. The efforts need to be sustained over the coming years to full meet the initiative’s potential. The campaign itself was resource-intensive and was only made possible by the support of the EU Commission to Forus through its EU Framework Partnership Agreement. The sustainability of this initiative will depend on the availability of resources in the future. However, many lessons learned can be drawn from this initiative, which have the potential to be replicated in different contexts. For example, capacity has been significantly strengthened within various CSO platforms to enable further collaboration and engagement in SDG processes. Peer-exchanges have been very fruitful to disseminate learning, and alliances have been built which will sustain the collaborative work initiated through this practice.

    COVID-19 Impact

    COVID 19 had significant impacts and led to delays and redesigning of activities. The EC granted a No-Cost Extension to Forus, extending the timeline for implementation of activities at various levels. Forus innovated (podcasts, videos, online multi-lingual meetings) and adapted activities to digital formats or to respond to urgent needs arising due to the pandemic. Forus provided structural support to its members to support their adaption to the digital environment and other restrictions brought by the crisis. The focus on SDGs 16 and 17 resonate with Building Back Better efforts, which Forus is promoting. Forus created a “Covid-19 task force” to exchange experiences in crises responses, including in ensuring an enabling environment for CSOs and monitoring the effects on civic space.

    Contact Name
    European Commission
    Geographical coverage

    All countries

    01 March 2016 (start date)
    30 June 2021 (date of completion)
    Contact Information