This policy brief discusses the challenges that could arise in building international partnerships to achieve the sustainable development goals in the specific context of external debt impacts. External, or sovereign, loans are a double-edged sword. When sustainable, they could help states with desperately needed funding for social and economic infrastructure. When unsustainable, such loans could be detrimental to sustainable socio-economic development. Sovereign debts are often associated with one crucial fact: they are owed mostly by developing countries to more advanced states and their financial institutions. In some cases, some states viewed as developed could also face the negative impacts of huge external debts.