Leveraging innovative partnerships with higher education institutions towards sustainable and resilient societies

Partnerships are increasingly being valued when it comes to realizing SDGs across the globe. By leveraging partnerships networks, not only can it capture the benefits resulted from synergy effects, but it can also provide more opportunities for different parties to interact with each other. Thus, this meeting focused on case studies on partnerships, especially programs with higher education institutions.

Ms Carpentier first introduced the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) as a recent program jointly launched by various UN agencies to synergize with higher education institutions for advocating SDGs from an educational perspective with students as key players. The representative of Harvard University shared the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure that offers indicators and tools for sustainable infrastructure. An envision rating system, including measurement for leadership, resource allocation and quality of life, is incorporated to reflect the effectiveness of infrastructures as enablers to achieve SDGs.

Ms Thoresen presented an overview on projects of the organization, Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living. She highlighted the importance of addressing pedagogical learning process, government education policies as well as interdisciplinary research when it comes to connecting teaching and learning with SDGs. Mr Howard, representing the University of Oxford, illustrated a lifelong learning programme offered by the University, the Sustainable Urban Development Programme, as an example of partnerships with NGOs, professionals and the academia to empower more individuals on understanding SDGs.

The meeting was concluded by a discussion on the current extent of students’ engagement in formal education setting, such as schools, regarding SDGs implementation at local level. Ms Thoresen pointed out that a revamp of school curriculum is possibly needed to better equip students to face upcoming challenges as future generations. Professor Iglecias suggested that a bottom-up approach should be promoted to facilitate students to initiate ideas for realizing SDGs more effectively.

Meeting: HLPF 2018 – Leveraging innovative partnerships with higher education institutions towards sustainable and resilient societies

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 10:00-11:45; July 11th 2018

Speakers: Ms. Chantal line Carpentier (Chief of UNCTAD New York Office), Ms. Cristina Contreras, (Representative of Harvard University), Ms. Victoria W. Thoresen (Representative of Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living [PERL]), Mr. Jakob Grandin (Representative of University of Bergen, Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation), Mr. David Howard (Representative of University of Oxford), Professor Patrícia Iglecias (Head of Environmental Affairs, University of Sao Paulo)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Effective tools employed by Major Groups and other Stakeholders in the 2030 Agenda implementation, follow-up and review

The meeting focused on discussing and reviewing various tools employed by organisations to implement the 2030 agenda. An array of strategies was exemplified by panellists when it comes to awareness-raising and capacity building across sectors in society.

Ms Luthra, representative of the Women’s Health and Education Center, introduced an online platform, named WHEC Global Health Line. It is an E-Platform aiming to serve health providers across the globe by providing health resources, especially for women. Mr Luthra emphasized the importance of securing inclusive societies and ensuring health well-being of individuals. She highlighted a number of features of the platform, including subject-specific gateway, internet-search-strategy and impact factor analysis.

Ms Weber, leading a few organizations from the State of Parana in Brazil, shared experiences from different aspects to implement SDG at a local level. The Institute of Social and Economic Development, for example, evaluates public policies of the state and offers feedbacks in terms of SDG alignment. However, it is challenging to obtain comprehensive datasets due to unavailability of disaggregated data by location. The Bureau of Information technology of the State of Parana showed a mobile application on SDG as a tool to make the concept of 2030 agenda available to all localities. The Parana State Urban Development mentioned the need of strengthening partnerships while the department has been financing cities through providing loans on investments of social infrastructures.

Dr. Harrington, representing CISDL, presented innovations particularly on SDG 6 and SDG 15. On achieving clean water and sanitation for all people, trans-boundary environmental impact assessments were introduced by the “Espoo Convention”. Regarding SDG 15, “Life on Land”, it is observed that there is an increase of state effort to restrict or ban poaching and related products, especially in United Kingdom and China where new laws were enacted.

Meeting: High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 – Effective tools employed by Major Groups and other Stakeholders in the 2030 Agenda implementation, follow-up and review

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 10:00-13:00; July 10th 2018

Speakers: Ms. Rosemary Olive Mbone (Abibimman Foundation), Ms. Rita Luthra (Women’s Health and Education Center), Ms. Deisi Noeli Weber (World Family Organization and UNAPMIF), Mr. William E. Kelly (World Federation of Engineering Organizations), Dr. Alexandra Harrington (Centre for International Sustainable Development Law [CISDL))

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Monitoring peace, evaluating institutions, building capacity: A data-driven conversation on SDG 16 and its upcoming 2019 review

The meeting aimed to explore current capacity building progress in achieving SDG 16, “Peace, justice and strong institutions”, from a data-driven perspective. It is commenced by an opening remark delivered by Mr Seth who highlighted that not only it is pivotal to preserve the essence of SDG, but it is also critical to leverage on partnerships to analyse integration between various issues so as to foster people’s engagement towards SDGs.

The representative from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Mr Tommasoli, described SDG 16 as the “enabler, or accelerator” to realize all other SDGs. The use of data is indispensable in an evidence-based analysis as well as complementing national databases. Ms Knuden-Latta then shared her experience on tracking progress towards SDG 16 through global comparable data in order to map a holistic view of the goal. She believed that it is important to identify gaps among official key performance indicators in countries. Moreover, she stated that the understanding of justice and inclusive societies are insufficient in general for nations to conduct appropriate analysis.

Followed by Ms Knuden-Latta’s presentation, Mr Murgatroyd explained the role of trust, partnerships and linkages in capturing progress by data analysis. He mentioned that data should be utilized to a larger extent when it comes to formulating policy or legal frameworks. The senior advisor of the Asia Development Alliance pointed out that little attention has been given to SDG 16 and this goal should be linked with other SDGs at a local, national and global level. Ms Lamarre illustrated a few projects underpinned by the principle of SDG 16 and financed by the UN Development Fund to empower civil societies, promote human rights, and encourage all groups to participate in democratic progress.

Meeting: High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2018 – Monitoring peace, evaluating institutions, building capacity: A data-driven conversation on SDG 16 and its upcoming 2019 review

Date/Location: Conference Room 5, UNHQ NYC; 0930-11:30; July 9th 2018

Speakers: Mr. Nikhil Seth (United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director, UNITAR), Mr. Massimo Tommasoli (Permanent Observer to the UN, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance), Ms. Ursala Knuden-Latta (Research and Policy Officer, Saferworld), Mr. Chris Murgatroyd (Policy Advisor, BPPS/ UNDP), Mr. Anselmo Lee (Senior Advisor, Asia Development Alliance), Ms Christian Lamarre (Senior Programme Officer, United Nations Democracy Fund)

Written By: WIT representative, Rosalind Cheung

Partnerships for Sustainable Action

 

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In the December 20th session Professor Jan W. Dash discussed climate action as a matter of justice, ethics, and human survival. He emphasized that all SDGs are tied to climate change and that humanity has the power to reduce dangerous effects that climate change had on our planet’s health and biodiversity. H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer spoke on behalf of Small Island Developing States. He discussed the 300 partnership listings and the Samoa pathway. He reinforced the Maldives’ commitment to these partnerships and the necessity of the participation of all stakeholders. H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi reiterated the need for more efficient work to ensure that the SDGs are implemented and stay relevant. He also expressed the need to ensure oceans’ health and that countries enforce nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Dr. Christine K. Durbak shared the relevant work that she and World Information Transfer have provided over the last few decades. The Conference of NGOs began the committee on SDGs in the late 1980s, when WIT was invited to join. WIT focused on connecting the global community’s resources on human health and the environment.

Dr. Judy Buster-Otto discussed mental health and quality of life resolutions in the 2030 Agenda. She explained the work of the WHO and shared how the NGO-SDG forum can work through shared input and ideas, linkages to stakeholders, and advocacy with missions. Ms. Hawa Diallo noted the 66th DPI/NGO conference held in 2016 in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. She shared the goals of the conference and the action plan for a youth program/agenda. She briefly explained the next conference and the TOGETHER initiative. Ms. Emilie McGlone briefly introduced Peace Boat organization and a few related upcoming youth initiatives and summer programs. Mr. Marc Jourdan expressed his aim to promote SDGs in Dominican Republic. He shared projects in schools and towns based in recycling and sustainable agriculture. Mr. Daniel Perell explained the importance of engagement with the larger NGO body and creating platforms for NGOs to target relevant goals. The election of the of the NGOCSD-NY Executive Board for 2017 ended the session.

Meeting: “Partnerships for Sustainable Actions in 2017 & Beyond”

Date/Location: Tuesday, 20 December 2016; 13:00 to 15:00; Boss Room, Church Center for the United Nations, 777 UN Plaza

Speakers: Professor Jan W. Dash (NGOCSD-NY Lead Adviser on Climate Change; Managing Editor of the Climate Portal website); H.E. Dr. Caleb Otto Ambassador of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Ahmed Sareer Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations; H.E. Mr. Odo Tevi Ambassador and of the Republic of Vanuatu to the United Nations; Dr. Judy Buster-Otto (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Palau to the United Nations); Dr. Christine K. Durbak (Adviser to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations; Founder and Chair of World Information Transfer; President of the K. Kovshevych Foundation); Ms. Hawa Diallo (Public Information Officer; NGO Relations, Advocacy and Special Events Section Department of Public Information); Ms. Emilie McGlone (Director of Peace Boat US, New York Office); Mr. Marc Jourdan (UN Programs & Outreach Manager; Global Foundation for Democracy and Development); Mr. Daniel Perell (Global Organizing Partner of the NGO Major Group; Representative for Bahá’í International Community to the UN, New York; Chair of the NGO Committee for Social Development)

Written By: Renée S. Landzberg, WIT Representative

 

Goals to Reality: Implementation of the SDGs

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The meeting consisted of a panel discussion on ethics and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The first speaker of the panel was Mr. Jan Eliasson, who gave an overview of the SDGs and discussed the methods of achieving these goals in the new year. He stated the three pillars of the United Nations are peace, security, and human rights. He explained that the 2030 agenda is a 21st century declaration of interdependence, intended to promote human well being, advance gender equality, and support construction of stronger institutions that are inclusive of all societies.

The second speaker of the panel was Mr. Rapil Zhoshybayev, who stated that sustainability and ethics have now become a concern of every sector of human society, and that to achieve social justice, we must all abide by our own moral compass. He also declared that in the 21st century, successful countries would not be distinguished by their arsenals and weapons, but by their ability to form partnerships and work in coalition.

Another notable speaker was Ms. Lisa Kingo, who discussed her organization UN Global Compact, an initiative that began 15 years ago with a challenge for business leaders to act on the SDGs. It has grown to be the largest corporate sustainability initiative with over 8,000 corporate participants, coming equally from developed and developing countries. She explained that global challenges, such as those regarding food or crises, are in need of the private sector. She stated that UN Global Compact is beneficial to the companies as well; SDGs are a major driver of the markets of tomorrow, unleashing waves of innovative sustainable products, and companies can leverage the SDGs for growth. After the keynote address and the panelist speakers, the floor was open to questions from the delegates and audience.

Meeting: Panel discussion on “Ethics and the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” (organized by the Permanent Mission of Panama, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Costa Rica, Finland, Germany, Kazakhstan, Palau and Qatar)

Date/Location: Wednesday January 13, 2015, 10:00 – 13:00; Trusteeship Council Chamber

Speakers: Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN; Mr. Rapil Zhoshybayev, first Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan; Ms. Lisa Kingo, executive director of Global Compact; Ambassador Oh Joon, president of ECOSOC; Mr. Cobus De Swardt, managing director of Transparency International

Written By: WIT Representative Kangho (Paul) Jung

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

Photo Credit: Coverage of Live Stories and Press

Private and Public Sector Collaboration for Renewable Energy Solutions

During the Sustainable Energy For All Forum a side event was held on forming partnerships between the private and public sector in order to find renewable energy solutions. Beginning the discussion, Ms. Eibs-Singer spoke about opportunities for the public and private sector to collaborate using public sector instruments at the policy level and private sector investment at the market level in order to invest in renewable energy.

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A more direct integration of the public and private sector is necessary for successful renewable energy projects to take off. However, Ms. Eibs-Singer pointed out that a potential problem in working together is how much slower progress can occur in the public sphere than in the private , and that the two need to reconcile this problem in order to effectively work together.

Mr. Ford, the Managing Director of Accenture (one of the world’s largest consulting and technology companies), then spoke about Accenture’s nexus with civil society, corporations, and donors, and how these partnerships can be used to find renewable energy solutions. Mr. Ford also mentioned Accenture’s work in renewable energy, and how this relates to education, health, and capacity building for development.

The Rockefeller Foundation gave a statement about the need to build resilience for disadvantaged communities and cities, and to make economies more inclusive; allowing more opportunities for participation. The key to this, he said, is energy access from renewable sources. Access to energy is necessary for withstanding climate change, health pandemics, and for having access to information, and is also fundamental for participation in the modern economy. Government capacity, the skills of the private sector, as well as money from funders is needed to find renewable energy solutions.

Mr. Fast then followed up this statement with an example of Accenture’s project in Northern Uganda, which helps local villagers use solar energy more efficiently. Accenture created this project with the help of local schools and businesses. To close, Mr. Rubin a professor at University of Pennsylvania, talked about his project in Zimbabwe, which, with the help from universities, private sector donations, and public sector infrastructure, produced an innovative solution to efficiently refrigerate vaccines for children by using the electric infrastructure from already existing cell phone towers to power the refrigerators.

Meeting: Energy Access for Development Impact: How Can the Private and Public Sector Collaborate on Renewable Energy Solutions?
Speakers: Ms. Christine Eibs-Singer; Senior Advisor, SE4ALL; Mr. Roger Ford, Managing Director, Accenture Development Partnerships; Mr. Zia Khan, Vice President for Initiatives and Strategy, The Rockefeller Foundation; Mr. Scott Fast, Executive Director, Accenture Foundation; Mr. Harvey Rubin, Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania and Director, Energize the Chain
Location: United Nations HQ, New York, Conference Room A
Date: 4 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Marli Kasdan