The United Nations (UN) is embarking on a new era of selective multilateralism, shaped by intergovernmental policy impasses and a growing reliance on corporate-led solutions to global problems. Multiple partnerships between corporations, philanthropic foundations and the UN have been established in recent years. Private funding from corporations and philanthropic foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for UN activities has increased steadily. The changes in funding practices have deep implications for global governance. Private funding runs the risk of turning UN agencies, funds and programmes into contractors for bilateral or public-private projects, eroding the multilateral character of the system and undermining democratic global governance.