Magdy Martinez-Soliman: United Nations Office in Geneva Executive Briefing on SDGs Implementation

So far, 100+ countries from all regions have approached UN Country Teams for support with SDG implementation. Supporting roll-out of the 2030 Agenda is a top priority for UNDP and all other development agencies, working within the framework of the MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration, and Policy Support) approach agreed by the UNDG.

The MAPS approach can be adapted to any context to help land the global agenda at national level, to unblock bottlenecks to progress, and to source policy expertise from across the UN development system. For instance, specific tools are being produced for countries affected by high fragility.

UNDP's specific contribution, if you will in a lead supporting role to Member States, as per its mandate and strategic plan focuses on poverty eradication; the reduction of inequalities; peaceful and inclusive societies.

We are also engaging with programme countries on Means of Implementation - looking at the right mix of funding, technology, capacities and partnerships to drive national progress on the SDGs.

'SDGs are coming to life'

The UN Development Group launched a publication entitled 'SDGs Coming to Life' at the High-Level Political Forum this past July, and the UNDG Chair presented the latest version of it with the SG, the Foreign Ministers of Somalia, Burkina Faso and Germany at the GA. Key observations:

Early actions to adapt the agenda 2030 to national and subnational contexts are well under way, including formulating long-term visions, scanning and mapping existing national plans against the SDGs, and setting up dedicated coordination bodies.

Governments are calling on the UN to convene and facilitate inclusive national dialogues with all members of society on SDG implementation, increasing the breadth and depth of partnerships for the SDGs - with civil society, the private sector, philanthropy, academia and UN agencies.

High priority is being given to national tracking and reporting on SDG progress. The UN development system is supporting comparisons of the global indicator framework against existing data and national indicator sets. Praia Group, special work on Goal 16, special work on multi-dimensional measurements of poverty.

A number of exciting and innovative approaches in this early stage of implementing the 2030 Agenda:

Uganda has moved beyond design and mapping into SDG-oriented budgeting and strengthening multi-sector planning at the national and subnational levels.

Morocco, national consultations on the SDGs undertaken earlier this year included some unique stakeholders - digital entrepreneurs, journalists, musicians, and celebrities. The SDGs were also translated into the Amazigh language of the Berber people, to ensure there are no cultural or ethnic gaps to the understanding of the Goals.

Mexico's Senate analysed the national goals and developed a clear path towards aligning with the 2030 Agenda, as well as discussing the relevance of international cooperation and parliamentary involvement in the context of the SDGs. More recently, the creation of a nationally-owned, collaboratively developed open-data platform tracks progress towards SDG targets, and enables users to explore and compare over 100 SDG indicators.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 has initiated the same process of alignment.

Some of the most inspiring examples of early SDG action come from countries affected by crisis, or in a post-crisis context. For example:

Sierra Leone is striving to recover from the effects of the Ebola crisis and a collapse in the price of iron ore, yet it has mainstreamed all the SDGs into its national budget. Public awareness of the SDGs has been raised through photo exhibitions in the capital, and a nationwide campaign at the country's universities.

Somalia is bringing their National Development Plan - their first in more than three decades - into close alignment with the SDGs, despite a challenging environment of insecurity and conflict. The use of an advisory council is ensuring an inclusive Plan that is representative of all stakeholders.

Adaptive SDG implementation efforts are required for countries facing, or recovering from, crisis. UNDP is producing an offer on SDGs Implementation in fragile situations, by proposing a fragility-sensitive approach to the application of the MAPS.

UNDP is also paying special attention to countries affected by migration and displacement, strengthening its advocacy for and support to governments on the integration of refugees and forcibly displaced persons, the needs of host communities into national development plans, strategies and UNDAFs, as part of the work towards migration-related SDG targets.

In simple terms: it is happening! We are seeing that across any and all development contexts, countries are working to integrate the SDGs into their development initiatives, at both national and sub-national levels. The 22 countries that presented National Voluntary Reviews at the HLPF as well as at the many side-events during the recently concluded UN General Assembly in New York also attest to the incredible variety of approaches Member States are taking to SDG implementation.

Monitoring progress towards the SDGs is a big challenge. The United Nations Statistical Commission, through its Inter-Agency and Experts Group on SDG Indicators, has produced an initial framework of 230 global indicators. The first SDG Progress Report based on that framework, shows the scale of the challenge ahead. For about 40% of the global SDG indicators, not only is there little data available, but the necessary methodologies to monitor them are yet to be developed.

Even the OECD has faced serious difficulties when trying to measure the baseline for its members to implement the SDGs. Data were only available for very few indicators in a subset of Goals, and for 4 of the OECD Member States.

Therefore there is growing country demand, especially where capacities are less readily available, for support on data and statistics in supporting the implementation of the SDGs, and reporting on progress made.

UNDP and DESA are preparing guidelines for national level monitoring and reporting, which will be released later this year.

Improving the quality and availability of data is essential to implement the sustainable development agenda and for Member States to monitor and report on their progress. To this end, we will actively promote partnerships for data, including through the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, which was launched last year; and the newly launched multi-stakeholder Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Promoting Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies which supports meaningful reporting on SDG 16 and its related targets - launched by Qatar, Mexico, Norway, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia; and from the private sector and civil society: Deloitte, LexisNexis, White & Case, the Transparency, Accountability, and Participation Network, the New York University Center for International Co-operation, and the World Federation of United Nations Associations.

We are far from done with our advocacy work. Citizen engagement is an essential part of the effort. The UN Secretary-General's SDG Action Campaign acts as a "universal entry point" to create awareness about the SDGs, empowering and inspiring people across the world to take action.

The Campaign is opening its new Global Campaign HQs in Bonn to support Country Teams and partners in advancing initiatives on the ground.

The Campaign is continuing to develop long term sectoral partnerships with parliaments, local authorities, academia, civil society, faith groups, youths, women's groups, technology and communications partners, and other novel actors to activate people from different sectors in the achievement of the new Agenda 2030.

MY World 2030 is a core asset of the Campaign: an adaptable platform for citizen-generated data and engagement with the SDGs. The project collects globally comparable data to report back on SDG progress. It also builds dialogue between decision makers and citizens, providing a "people's perspective" on how best to implement the new agenda.

Another innovative aspect of the Campaign is a collaboration with Samsung which aims to bring the world's most pressing challenges home to citizens around the world. The collaboration involves a series of unique virtual reality films - the first time virtual reality has been used by the United Nations. These films bring the experiences of vulnerable communities to decision makers, thereby creating deeper empathy and understanding.

Similarly, the Campaign is partnering with YouTube on the #OwnYourVoice initiative, which aims to unite top YouTube creators to reach new - younger -- audiences and inspire awareness and action on the Sustainable Development Goals. These innovative partnerships are helping to engage everyday citizens with the SDGs.

Other examples of innovative partnerships can be found in the private sector and philanthropy. Aligning private sector investments and innovation with sustainable development objectives is critical to achieving the SDGs. Responsible investing is a welcome change, as the private sector needs to be part of sustainable development solutions. The SDG Philanthropy Platform works differently with actors that have traditionally been fragmented in their approaches to humanitarian issues, or treated only as vendors or funders.

Beyond corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, and impact investment, we also advocate for inclusive business approaches. Inclusive businesses employ or empower or makes goods and services affordable to people in poor and vulnerable communities in a way that is part and parcel of their core business opportunities. UNDP and the WB lead the work on inclusive business in the G20.

Geneva's Expertise on SDGs

Geneva has a unique concentration of UN and international organizations; global hubs for global development issues such as human rights, health, labour, humanitarian action, disarmament, migration, trade, environment and climate change. 'International Geneva' is an ideal hub for capacity building, knowledge dissemination, advocacy and policy development for implementation of the SDGs. We are already seeing promising developments such as the establishment of the SDG Hub at the Maison de la Paix.

We extend support to a strong cooperation for SDG16, including a close collaboration between the Global Alliance for Reporting and the Pathfinders Initiative for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, which Switzerland is co-leading with Brazil and the NYU/CIC. We just discussed the issue at the HLCP, and decided that a close coordination is needed in order not only to avoid duplication, but also to make most use of all expertise and support to the implementation of SDG16 available. We all know that Goal 16 is an enabler of the other 16 Goals, and that no cookie-cutter silos have to be made to establish Goal preference - especially by donors. By the same token, all countries need to respect the integrity and indivisibility of the agenda, that covers the most obvious, but also the most difficult goals.

UNDP will be working over the coming 14 years, fundamentally to help Member States, not only Governments, achieve the SDGs. There is enough work for everyone in the UN system and beyond. Coordination is as usual synonym of efficiency when matters are complex, and we hope a well-coordinated UN will also be much appreciated by our Member States as a partner that is able to make a compact offer and not a piecemeal approach. We are ready to deliver on this together.


Source: United Nations Development Programme

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