Newsbrief, Poverty & SDGs, TerraViva United Nations

Civil Society to Build Bridges With Private Sector

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 2 2016 (IPS) - To successfully implement the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders last September, it is time for “Turning Conversations into Action.”

This was the theme of the Third Annual Power of Collaboration Global Summit, organised by IMPACT Leadership 21 — a global platform which provides inclusive and innovative leadership solutions driving change.

The summit, which took place on February 29 at the Economic and Social Council Chamber (ECOSOC), was the occasion to launch IMPACT Leadership 21 “500”: an initiative that offers a service aimed at distributing press releases to international organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in order to bridge the gap between civil society and capital markets.

The project is co-sponsored by media partners iCrowdNewswire and Inter Press Service (IPS), an international news agency focusing largely on the developing world.

Hector Botero, President of iCrowdNewswire, told IPS: “Civil society has been largely ignored in the financial markets, but there is a growing interest in investing in issues, causes and in doing impact investments. Like various companies that use tools to effectively communicate with capital markets, the civil society needs to do the same.”

For a long time now, costs have also kept civil society away from engaging with the private sector, said Constance Peak, chief financial officer (CFO) and co-founder of IMPACT Leadership 21.

“But this initiative is free, and NGOs can start having their press releases published just like the big companies, except they are not going to pay $5,000 to $10,000. We have finally bridged the financial gap and now we will help NGOs to craft their messages,” Peak told IPS.

The aim of the IMPACT Leadership 21 “500” is to recruit 500 organisations from all countries and regions worldwide, regardless of cause, size or financial resources, and offer them a space where, through high quality corporate communications guidance, they can increase their visibility, raise awareness, and advocate for their goals.

Botero said iCrowdNewswire — a company founded in 2015 and marketing technology software — is partnering with IPS, a news agency that has a track record of nearly 52 years in the field of news dissemination, and is recognised by ECOSOC as an NGO.

“(We’ll) be able to deliver these services and help organisations to communicate with stakeholders, investors, consumers, regulators, institutions and governments. This is going to be the way to generate the appetite from those that have the money to invest in civil society projects,” he added.

This collaboration will guarantee positive results – said Botero. IPS receives over 5,000 to 10,000 press releases a month, from NGOs worldwide, but it is difficult for the agency to publish all of them, he added.

“Through our system and our platform, we guarantee publishing and assistance to all these organisations, at absolutely no cost, while providing them with a voice, tools to enhance their media exposure and subsidising them.”

Co-sponsoring the Third Annual Summit along with IMPACT Leadership 21, were in the Foundation for the Support of the U.N. (FSUN), the Mission of the Czech Republic to the U.N. and other private partners such as IBM, Microsoft, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Eclat Impact.

As Botero pointed out, the summit showed how to build partnerships between the public and the private sector. “Here, today, are companies such as Microsoft, and IBM which have the funds, the knowledge, human capital and the financial resources that the public sector can use, and that it is willing to use,” he told IPS.

The message of IMPACT LEADERSHIP 21 is to create a new political and economic framework, in line with the UN’s Agenda 2030.

In doing so, the organisation brings together experts from different sectors — public, civil society, private, academic — and different levels, including grassroots, national and international, in order to solve the Millennium challenges of sustainable development and climate change. IMPACT also accelerates gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.

“We hold the conversation that no-one else is doing,” remarked Peak. “Private sector, entrepreneurs, advocates, governmental and intergovernmental experts discussing their commonalities and universalities. These people are empowered to make an immediate change.”

“The Power of collaboration is social evolution,” said the CFO of IMPACT Leadership 21, “It is in each of us to spark change […] It’s time for adaptation, mutation and other changes for the sake of sustainability, justice and survival.”


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