Ahead of this week’s UN SDG Conference on the side of the UN General Assembly, Joel Ruet took part in a roundtable discussion led by our board member Judit Arenas, exploring transformative engagement models to help accelerate the implementation and achievement of the UN SDGs.
Convened on 14 July by APCO Worldwide & EY and moderated by Judit Arenas, Senior Director of APCO Worldwide, the discussion addressed how to accelerate efforts to reach the targets set out by the SDGs. Having now reached the mid-way point of Agenda 2030, this meeting pointed out opportunities and shortcomings in the pursuit of the SDGs, how to best engage stakeholders across sectors, foster transformative dialogue, build consensus and explore new modes of engagement across the board.
The discussion was an opportunity for Joel Ruet to share The Bridge Tank’s perspective and experience on the matter, which it has accumulated over the years. Focusing on the African continent, Joel Ruet noted that thanks to the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), a growing number of states have developed integrated financing strategies for the achievement of the SDG. One of today’s great challenges is therefore how to best carry out these strategies and how to mobilise international financing.
Two points are of particular importance here:
- Programmes ought to be developed based on portfolios of projects or pre-projects. This logic of project origination at the national level ensures a level of coherence and homogeneity for each country. No wider international coordination is required for this. Instead, such an approach guarantees greater legibility of programmes and project portfolios. It capitalises on science, best practices, know-how, and technologies, particularly for those SDGs with a stronger technical component (e.g. water resources, soil and land, renewable energy). The international community and Pan-African Development Banks have been financing and capitalising on these tools for years in their formulation of programmes.
- It is central to involve local, sub-regional and Pan-African financial institutions in the resulting financial agreements. Once project portfolios and programmes have been de-risked by the international community, thereby providing insurance for the programmes, the latter become profitable. It is thus necessary to integrate these regional financial institutions in their financing. This ensures greater equality, access to profitability, and capacity building for financial institutions of the South. This capacity building is not primarily institutional and organisational, but one achieved through concrete actions.
The meeting was held under Chatham House Rules. It gathered high-level private sector delegates, policymakers, academic researchers, civil society organizations, and members of various industry associations and international organizations.