Posted by Kimberley Meijers on January 3, 2017 at 2:42 pm
For the first time in history, the world’s nations will adopt a universal and comprehensive agenda for sustainable development with goals to be realized. At the 70th United Nations General Assembly on September 25-27 the post-2015 development agenda, including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, is slated to be adopted. The SDGs are successors of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and will provide an ambitious and scalable universal Agenda. Each nation is encouraged to develop as soon as practicable ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of the SDGs.
We, seventy signatories from business and civil society of the SDG Charter NL, are ready. In the past year we have been preparing ourselves to start working on making the SDGs reality. In September 2014, we signed a Charter on the role of business, civil society and cross-sector partnerships in the post-2015 development agenda. Over the past year we have consulted our signatories individually and collectively during three meetings. As Charter, we will develop two main activities. First, we will shape the role that society (business and civil society) in the Netherlands can play in a National SDG Agenda. Second, together with the Major Alliance, we enable the creation of SDG Solution Partnerships. Such partnerships offer solutions to national and international challenges that need to be solved to realize the SDGs and where the Netherlands can offer unique competences. We are an inclusive movement and are welcoming new signatories every week. We have just been waiting for the goals to be adopted and can hit the ground running.
The post-2015 development agenda is a historic opportunity to realize a prosperous and inclusive world for ourselves and future generations. An agenda as such will not change a single life. Therefore, we concur with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that, although the SDGs are a commitment by States, it is a “We the Peoples” Agenda. Without the contributions from businesses, financial institutions, NGOs, union, knowledge institutes, philanthropists and citizens the Agenda will fail. However, if governments, businesses and civil society members across the world join efforts, we can realize the SDGs. There is a lot organizations can do themselves and, at the same time, many challenges require partnerships.
This interdependency can lead to inaction if each of us waits for the other to start acting. It can also lead to joint action if sufficient organizations are willing to lead and actively seek out partners. Hence, as organizations in business and civil society in the Netherlands, we decided not to wait but to start organizing ourselves. We believe a national initiative to coordinate our efforts and partnerships around SDGs is crucial to provide the enabling environment for joint action. It is valuable to have a dialogue with the government on shaping a national agenda once the goals have been adopted. In the meantime, we already lay out what we, as business as civil society, can contribute.
As Charter signatories we can mainly contribute to the realization of the SDGs through providing innovative solutions based on knowledge and technology. We believe this may well be representative for the Dutch business and civil society sectors in general.
We provide unique expertise in many domains of sustainable development: Human rights (Afrika Studie Centrum, Cordaid, Global Compact, Hivos, ICCO, Justlaw, Oxfam), Human and sustainable cities (AkzoNobel, Alliander, Arcadis, OVG Real Estate, Search BV, Walas Concepts), Sustainability and integrated reporting (GRI, EY), Impact measurement and valuation (Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), GRI, NWO-WOTRO, True Price, Vrije Universiteit), Natural Capital (Commonlands, Earth Charter, EUR, EY, IUCN NL, Natuur & Milieu, True Price), Responsible business (EY, Fair and sustainable, Global Compact, MVO Nederland), Inclusive jobs and labor rights (CNV Internationaal, Manpower, SBI Training & Consultancy), Forced labor (CNV Internationaal, Tony’s Chocoloneley), Children rights (Save the Children, UNICEF, World Vision), Women’s rights (Rutgers WPF) Certification (IDH, UTZ Certified), Circular economy (Desso, DSM, EY), Water (Waterlex), Tax justice (Justlaw, Partos).
We make innovative products and technologies in Chemicals (AkzoNobel, DSM), Healthcare (Amref Flying Doctors, Bioneedle, One Diagnostics, Philips, UNICEF), Food and agriculture (DSM, FrieslandCampina, HAS Hoogeschool, IDH, KIT, Unilever), building (AkzoNobel, BAM, Desso, Interface, OVG Real Estate) and the inclusive product sector (BoP, OFoundation, Philips, Waka Waka).
We provide and are willing to further explore innovative financing solutions: Blended finance (ECDPM, FMO, Sustainable Finance Lab), Agrifinance (IDH, Rabobank Foundation, Scopeinsight), Climate finance (FMO, Fair Climate Fund, IUCN) and sustainable development oriented philanthropy (Major Alliance, Postcodeloterij).
Our innovative business models that deliver a return for stakeholders and shareholders can contribute to realizing the SDGs in the Netherlands and abroad. We have leading expertise in Sustainable banking (ABN AMRO, ASN Bank, FMO, SFL, Triodos), Impact Investing (ABN AMRO, FMO, Social Enterprise NL, TheRockGroup) and Social Entrepreneurship (De Groene Zaak, ResultsinHealth, Social Enterprise NL, Tony’s Chocoloneley, True Price, Waka Waka). Finally, we can leverage innovative collaboration models. IDH is a global Public Private Partnership to up-scale and accelerate sustainable trade by building impact-oriented cross-sector coalitions. Many of us have extensive expertise on cross-sector partnerships (Accenture, Dr. Monk, ISDuurzaam, Partnership Resource Centre, Partnership verkiezingen, Worldconnectors).
We work on all goals. The goals we work most on are: 1 (Poverty), 2 (Nutrition), 3 (Health), 8 (Employment), 10 (Equality), 11 (Cities), 12 (Sustainable consumption & production), 13 (Climate) and 17 (Partnerships). Our sweet spots for mutual collaboration are goals 3 (Health), 8 (Employment), 11 (Cities), 12 (Sustainable consumption & production), 13 (Climate) and 17 (Partnerships).
For starters, the SDG Charter NL is a partnership in itself. Furthermore, the Charter will work on enabling SDG solution partnerships together with the Major Alliance Netherlands, a joint initiative of philanthropy, business and government. We are in the process of starting up various partnerships with a clear action focus. Two of these initiatives already stand out.
We are setting up a broad partnership on SDG#3 to “Ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages.” The focus of the partnership is on improving healthcare delivery for women, children and adolescents at the base of the pyramid. There is a huge opportunity to leapfrog health systems by embracing (ICT-enabled) innovations, empowering community health workers, and developing inclusive business models to strengthen both private and public health care. There are three specific initiatives: (i) A flexible and rapid deployable health care centre which provides medical care for women in labour and those who are being victimized by conflict-related sexual violence, (ii) A community life centre to strengthen primary care and (iii) a Bioneedle vaccination system. Key partners in this partnership include Philips, UNICEF, World Vision, Save, Hospitainer and Bioneedle. For example, the Community Life Centre solution improves all aspects of a health facility: The building and infrastructure are optimized for reliable provision of high quality services; Healthcare processes are redesigned and supported with equipment and staff is trained, motivated and monitored. A Community life centre can turn a health facility into a community hub. This generates revenues for the facility contributing to financial sustainability.
Signatories of the SDG Charter want to collaborate to realize Human Cities that are liveable for all in pursuit of SDG#11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” The challenge is daunting: Due to growing urbanization, two-thirds of the world population, 6.3 billion people will be living in cities by 2050. Meanwhile, the amount of slums dwellers is expected to double to 1.5 billion in the period between 1990 and 2020. SDG Charter signatories intend to tackle these challenges full on. For cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America these challenges are confronted by the Human Cities Coalition, initiated by AkzoNobel and ARCADIS. The challenges focus on bottom-up needs expressed by citizens and are answered with private sector solutions, via a Public-Private Partnership approach in collaboration with companies, local and regional governments, civil society organizations and academia. For cities in the Netherlands and Europe these challenges are picked up by companies such as Alliander, ENECO and other stakeholders that are developing an approach to optimally combine technological knowledge and citizen initiatives.
We invite businesses, civil society organizations and governments in the Netherlands to join. We are ready.
Click here for more information about the SDG Charter, the current list of signatories and the Charter itself. If you are interested in joining the SDG Charter, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.