Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development
Following three years of intense negotiations, world leaders adopted on September 25th the new Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This universal agenda is a call to action for low, middle and high-income countries alike. It lays out a set of comprehensive goals that focus on people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership for the next 15 years. It integrates the vision of “leaving no one behind” which can likely be accomplished through expanded partnerships for both traditional and nontraditional actors such as Governments, Civil Society, private sector, and the United Nations system.
SDG-F approach to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goal Fund (SDG-F) is proactive and groundbreaking as it was one of the first mechanisms to implement joint programmes in the field, working alongside UN agencies, national governments, civil society, business, academia and communities.
The SDG Fund already has joint programmes in 21 countries all of which incorporate the overarching themes of this new agenda. These programmes were created through the collaboration of the UN, National Governments, civil society and consultations with the private sector. The activities and results generated by these programs will feed into not only local polices, but also in establishing national policies and generating resources for all stakeholders. With our unique joint programs and matching fund system, the SDG Fund is not only pioneering pilot initiatives in a variety of regions, but contributing knowledge to the achievement of the SDGs.
The SDG-Fund is working in 4 regions (Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Arab States) exploring three thematic areas to tackle some of the most important gaps in achieving sustainable development (Inclusive Economic Growth, Food Security & Nutrition and Water & Sanitation). Each joint programme was designed to incorporate cross cutting issues to include: Gender equality, Sustainability and Public-Private Partnerships. This unique collaboration has led to broad and more inclusive programs that combine inputs and expertise from non-traditional actors including the private sector, civil society and academia to maximize results and increase impact of the programmes.
Matching funds and partnerships
The notion of building viable partnerships and promoting national ownership are reflected in the financing of our programmes through matching funds. Each Joint Programme must match the Fund’s financial contribution through outside sources. Support can include National and international partners, including the private sector and to date, an estimated 55% of resources which now come in the form of matching funds). This type of co-financing model helps boost national ownership and sustainability as both National and local government can play a central role in building effective programs. The SDG-F has established an open platform that is designed to engage partners from all sectors to work together towards the achievement of the SDGs.
The Fund recently created a Private Sector Advisory Group consisting of global companies from key industry sectors to collaborate and discuss practical solutions pertaining to the common challenges of contemporary sustainable development. The Advisory Group is committed to identifying areas of common interest and incorporating best methods of UN-Private Sector engagement as well as suggestions of how to work more effectively at the country level. In addition, the group will support the SDG Fund with guidance and strategic insight to help achieve better development results in-line with needs of the private sector. Towards the end of the year, the Advisory Group will release a report with clear and practical perspectives on how the private sector can help support the SDGs and partner more effectively with the UN.
Examples of Integrating the SDG goals in the SDG-F’s Joint Programmes
In Bolivia, statistics show that one out of three children suffer chronic malnutrition. The SDG- Fund will support four municipalities with their efforts to create more sustainable agricultural production systems, and diversified and of a high nutritional value, which will increase the incomes of the most disadvantaged families and improve the nutritional state of boys, girls and mothers. The government of Bolivia has committed to scale-up the initiative to provide additional resources ensure families are included in the long term sustainability of the program. In Ecuador, the SDG Fund is also working to tackle three of the most pressing challenges linked to food security in the country: building income opportunities for small farmers, overhauling local food production to provide better access to nutritious and affordable food and reducing malnutrition.
The SDG Fund has made gender equality and women’s empowerment a top priority in its efforts to accelerate progress towards the SDGs. The private sector, NGOs and governments are key actors in addressing the variable causes of gender inequality. With the understanding that achieving equality and empowerment for women is a challenge that requires the synergistic intervention of multiple actors, the fund works to mainstream gender in the design of all programs. For example, the occupied Palestinian territory is facing a significant gender challenge, reflected by enormous disparity in employment and asset ownership among women and men. This situation reinforces the need to better economically empower women and support them to overcome existing barriers and societal constraints. The programme is designed to enhance the competitiveness of women owned and run enterprises, including cooperatives and female-led business focused on food production and processing, of locally sourced products. In Ethiopia, the need is also great, as rural women lag behind in access to land rights, economic opportunities, and financial assets. Increasingly, women farmers perform up to 75 percent of farm labor but hold only 18.7 percent of agricultural land in the country. The SDG Fund and its partners will focus on the Oromo and Afar regions to generate gender-sensitive agricultural extension services to increase women’s participation in rural associations, and financial cooperatives.
The SDG Fund adopts a multi-sectoral approach to the problem of water as reflected in the Philippines joint programme. In the Philippines, the SDG Fund will work towards improving governance and access of safe water, sanitation and hygiene at all levels through improved solutions that will benefit most, especially women and girls in households, schools, health center and public spaces; and generate knowledge utilized to aid policy advocacy, planning and capacity building.
The SDG Fund supports initiatives that tackle inclusive growth by creating opportunities for good and decent jobs and secure livelihoods. In Mozambique, the programme will work with extractive industries and large projects to generate more inclusive growth and economic opportunities for the whole population. A UN analysis indicates that the five largest mega-projects in the country with an investment of 3.4 billion dollars will generate only 33,000 direct jobs. In Sierra Leone, a joint programme in Kono, one of the countries least developed areas which is paradoxically gifted with the most productive mineral sectors (diamonds and gold) is working to promote public-private partnerships to ensure more sustainable governance of natural resources. At the same time, the program is devised to create economic opportunities for young people and women around agriculture, trade, and production activities.
In Bangladesh, the SDG Fund is creating employment and income generating opportunities for women and enhancing women’s access to social protection to help reduce gender inequality and women’s poverty and vulnerability. In Peru, the SDG Fund will contribute to establishing an inclusive value chain in the production of quinoa and other Andean grains, so that the increase in global demand can be translated into economic and social improvements for local farm producers.
From the onset, the SDG Fund is working to ensure that public-private partnerships are cultivated among all of its joint programmes. In Honduras, the SDG Fund in partnership with UN Agencies and the private sector are working together to support the generation of income through the revitalization of the Lenca culture and the development of sustainable tourism micro-businesses in the area, led by youth and women through training, business articulation, tourism promotion and international investment in of the most culturally and naturally vibrant regions of the country. In the Tanzania joint programme, the SDG Fund is also working with partners from the World Bank towards the construction of a social protection system to better address some of the most difficult challenges facing the country.