Newsbrief, TerraViva United Nations

Linking Private & Public Arms for Sustainable Development

Rebekah Kosinski is Advocacy and Research Consultant of the Sustainable Development Goals Fund SDG-Fund)

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 9 2015 (IPS) - A thriving private sector is an essential precondition to improving income and employment prospects and thus key to achieving sustainable development on the ground and in areas most affected by poverty. In the words of the UN Secretary General, “The United Nations and business need each other. We need your innovation, your initiative, your technological prowess. But business also needs the United Nations. In a very real sense, the work of the United Nations can be viewed as seeking to create the idea enabling environment within which business can thrive.”

To bring light to this issue, the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG Fund) is launching a new report together with Harvard University and Business Fights Poverty on November, 10.

That said, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents a historic opportunity for the private sector to work as an equal partner in development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) all focus on improving the business environment and enabling contributions for inclusive economic growth, particularly by incorporating the leadership of the private sector to create roles and advance economic stability.

In the UN Secretary General’s Post 2015 synthesis report entitled ‘The Road to Dignity by 2030’, an integrated set of six essential elements were offered to facilitate Members States’ deliberations on the SDGs: people; planet; prosperity, peace and partnership. Indeed, for the SDG Fund it is the notion of partnership that lies at the very heart of the post-2015 development framework and our mission.

It is a recognized principle that sustainable development cannot be achieved by governments alone – it requires the full participation of all people. Multi-stakeholder partnerships between businesses, NGOs, governments, the UN need to come together to play a pivotal role in the implementation of the new agenda.

In the lead up to the post-2015 era, the SDG Fund is one of the first entities to have fostered joint collaboration, working closely with the private sector to promote investment and explore core business activities to include low-income groups into the mix.

In fact, the SDG Fund was originally established with the intention of bringing together various UN entities, national governments, academia, civil society and businesses in order to join forces to support sustainable development activities through a variety of joint programmes.

A key component to our work relies on forging effective partnerships to benefit everybody involved – from entrepreneurs and private actors to national governments and development agencies.

The SDG Fund’s strategy is focused on involving business in each of our programmes in the field, benefiting from their full participation in the development process as well as creating a Private Sector Advisory Group. From the onset, the Fund is working to ensure that the private sector is at the negotiating table to design programmes in consultation with business representatives in the 22 countries where we work.

For example, in Honduras we are working alongside the private sector to reduce the poverty levels of vulnerable rural populations, including youth and women, through the development of sustainable cultural tourism initiatives. The programme seeks to promote inclusive local economic development and to incorporate a participatory approach to provide the necessary social services to prevent gender-based violence and alcoholism.

The Fund 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 deciphering the best methods of UN-Private Sector engagement as well as suggestions for how to work more effectively with one another at the country level.

In addition, the group will support the SDG Fund with guidance and strategic insight to achieve better development results in coordination with the private sector as highlighted in the report due to be released on November, 10th.
Partnerships are important on the global level however it is vital to make them work on the national level and this means actually carrying out programmes to solve real development challenges. As we look for new and innovative ways in which to harness the potential benefits of multi-stakeholder partnerships, including working with large and SME’s in meeting both shared and sometimes disparate objectives, we must continue to be creative and a bit more flexible if we are to address complex issues and coordinate processes at the level and pace required to address the 2030 Agenda.

It may be an ambitious endeavor but it is one that is definitely worth pursuing and we hope to set and share some good examples.

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  • eusebio manuel

    Paris Happy Sustainability 2015 our ability to climate change will be costly and limited sustainability in this global context the private and public can contribute to sustainable development as part of its commitment