MIL-OSI Asia-Pacific: Experts Discuss Effective Multi-stakeholder Partnerships ahead of SDG 17 Review

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Source: Small Island Developing States

12 June 2018: Representatives of governments, the UN system, private sector and civil society exchanged experiences and lessons learned on partnerships, during a preparatory meeting for the review of SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) at the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The expert group meeting took place on 12 June 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The event was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in collaboration with the UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In a closed, roundtable session on good practices in mobilizing and managing partnerships, Jonahkriza Aglups, Office of the Vice President of the Philippines, said her government works with civil society organizations to assess the needs of local communities and inform policies and budget planning. David O’Connor, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said that while multi-stakeholder partnerships are important for expediting SDGs’ implementation, the drivers are the policy frameworks that regulate and enable change.

Samuel Malinga, Sanitation Africa (Uganda), said his organization identifies actors along the value chain, trains young entrepreneurs with a passion to do business in sanitation, and then links them with banks, assisting them in finding funding for their projects. Marwan Bishtawi, Major Group on Children and Youth, underscored the need to strengthen partnerships with youth, as they bring ideas, vision and energy to the table.

Seomi Kang, Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), said KOICA helped established a fund to help local communities receive loans and financing for their projects. KOICA also engages in capacity building for local municipalities to make sure they can continue the projects after financial support ends. She said KOICA is collaborating with international agencies to coordinate its projects in Viet Nam.

Fany Wedahuditama, Global Water Partnership Southeast Asia, Indonesia, presented the SDGs preparedness facility. The Facility assesses communities’ SDGs readiness based on SDGs readiness criteria, which include readiness in: natural resources, regulatory framework, institutional framework, financial framework, infrastructure, technology, and people. Based on the level of preparedness, the facility identifies implementation and financial partners most suitable for the respective communities.

Evans Maturu, Permanent Mission of Kenya, stressed the importance of all stakeholders’ participation in drafting the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) for the HLPF. He said that in Kenya’s case, collaboration was essential around resource mobilization, information gathering, and coordination of national efforts.

Juan Rengifo, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), presented the One Planet network, which is an open partnership that serves as implementation mechanism of SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). He said the network focuses on: public procurement; buildings and construction; tourism; food systems; consumer information; and lifestyles and education. Harris Gleckman, Benchmark Environmental Consulting, highlighted the need for a common reporting standard on the financing of partnerships, in order to build trust and assess effectiveness.

In a panel discussion on effective multi-stakeholder partnerships, Alice Shackelford, UN Resident Coordinator for Costa Rica, stressed that the key element for partnerships is a human rights-based approach. She noted that “for too long, the UN has seemed and has been seen as a government-centric organization.”

Governments should regulate south-south cooperation to ensure a focus on sustainable development.

Xiaojun Grace Wang, UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), contrasted economic cooperation with south-south cooperation, noting that the former is government-led, while the latter takes place as a government-supported partnership, to increase the help from developing country to developing country. She said governments should regulate and enact safeguards to ensure a focus on sustainable development.

Jenna Slotin, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, said the role of the UN as the preeminent global norm-setting body is to create an enabling environment. She noted that technology is ahead of legislation, and risks exist with regard to ownership and data privacy; thus there is important norm-setting to be done. She also emphasized the need for standards and principles to address challenges to interoperability, adding that the UN is the place to move this forward.

Ana Blanco, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), noted that while 1 billion people lack access to utilities, 90% of them have a mobile phone. GSMA has data on where the most urgent needs are, and where the entrepreneurs to address them are, and it can connect them and find donors that provide funding and capacity, said Blanco.

In an interactive discussion, participants raised issues related to: the need for partnerships to speed up innovation; incentives for investors to allocate money to companies that score high on environmental and social indicators; and the fact that partnerships should be used to support, not replace, government efforts.

The 2018 HLPF will take place from 9-18 July, in New York, US. It will include an in-depth review of SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 and 15 (life on land), in addition to SDG 17, which is reviewed every year. Among other preparations for the in-depth review of these Goals, expert group meetings on SDG 12 and 15 took place in May 2018, and nutrition will be the subject of an expert group meeting convening from 19-20 June, organized by the UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) to draw links with the SDGs under review in 2018. [Meeting Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]

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