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Aerial view of Amazon rainforest, near Muaná city in Marajó Island, Brazil

also available in Spanish and Portuguese

A “decay of action” within the Decade of Action? Understanding inertia and unlocking SDG implementation barriers

Is more collaboration always a good thing? When – and with whom – does it make sense to collaborate in sustainability work?

Active project


The Decade of Action for the 2030 Agenda calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to address the world’s biggest challenges—ranging from poverty to climate change, gender inequality and closing the finance gap. Yet, progress is slow—only a small share of global development and environmental goals are being achieved or seeing progress.

This research project focuses on why there is such an inertia in sustainability action—and, crucially, what is needed in terms of organizational setups to unlock barriers to SDG implementation. Its aim is to critically inquire the common assumption that “more collaboration” is per se always desirable by openly exploring factors that affect collaborative initiatives’ action on sustainability. The project addresses the questions of when and how the organizational setup of an initiative can explain inertia or speed of action. Moreover, it explores and suggests possible factors (for instance, diversity of goals, or actor types in an initiative, number of participants and members, dependency to a financier) that facilitate delivery or help unlock barriers in SDG implementation.

We deep-dive into two cases: global-level SDG partnership structures, such as the UN’s SDG Actions Platform, and meta-organizations created to foster sustainability in the Amazon, which has been the subject of a growing number of collaborations.

Project partner

Our project partner is SCORE (Stockholm Center for Organizational Research) at Stockholm University.


This project is funded by the Stockholm Environment Institute Global Research Committee (GRC).

Janet Vähämäki
Janet Vähämäki

Team Leader: Development Policy and Finance

SEI Headquarters

Mairon G. Bastos Lima
Mairon G. Bastos Lima

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Headquarters

Cláudia Coleoni

Research Associate

SEI Latin America

Annika Hilgert

Research Associate

SEI Headquarters

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