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There is a call for working towards a framework of an accurate alignment between the local, national and recovery plans. The UN DESA`s studies underline that “a recovery plan that is actively aligned to a holistic, comprehensive account of the 2030 Agenda” is essential to build back better. This approach could help address concerns from the UN DESA Report on “The Impacts of COVID-19 on Stakeholder Engagement for the SDGs” which indicates that “stakeholder engagement is at risk of falling away in the face of key challenges”. One of the most prominent challenges highlighted in the report is that there is a need for more  international calls for partnerships to better implement SDG17. The panelists have shared their remarks on how to facilitate collaborations at different levels of stakeholders and shared several civil society best practices.

Prof. Patricia Kunrath was the moderator of Panel 1. Prof. Kunrath is the Knowledge Coordinator of the Group of Institutes, Foundations and Enterprises in Brazil. In her opening remarks, she indicated that “According to the Social Progress Index, at the current rate of progress, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved until 2082, decades after the deadline set by the UN.” Sharing several best practices from Brazil, Prof. Kunrath underlined, “we know that it is not an easy task to align often divergent interests and even diverse world conceptions to work towards common goals, but several initiatives show that this is the most effective and sustainable way of paving the road for systemic change.” Moderator Prof. Kunrath started the session by introducing the respective Keynotes of Panel Session 1.

H.E. Ms. Markova Concepción Jaramillo is the Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations.  Her remarks underlined the critical implication of the pandemic on education as this global crisis has endangered twenty years of education progress. Families were affected most by having their livelihoods diminished. Her Excellency Ambassador Jaramillo indicated that “Global partnerships within sectors are vehicles that will allow us to materialize this ambitious people-centered agenda in a timely manner.” She concluded her remarks by reminding the global audience that Sustainable Development Goals encourages us to imagine a world with no poverty, good health, quality education, gender equality, sustainable communities, and a better balance with the environment.

Michelle Breslauer, the Senior Manager of the Peace and Humanitarian Affairs at the UN Global Compact was the second Keynote of the Panel Session 1. Michelle Breslauer indicated that the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with over 14,000 participants and over 69 networks globally. Ms. Breslauer talked about the importance of businesses establishing trust and connection with civil society. She indicated that “We know that Agenda 2030 not only calls for the participation of the private sector but requires it. Businesses have an essential role in this process as a holder of economic power, pioneer of innovation and technology and influencer of stakeholders including governments, consumers, investors, and suppliers.” Ms. Breslauer continued her remarks by underlining that “Transformational governance calls for businesses to provide greater accountability, integrity and transparency in their own corporate governance but also stronger environmental and social protections and supporting efforts to create more inclusive institutions, laws and systems – as a compliment not a substitute for government action.”

The first speaker of the session was Sarmad Khan, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Affairs of New York University and a Member of the ACUNS Board of Directors from Canada. Mr. Khan presented an overview of SDG17: Importance and Current Challenges of Multi-stakeholder Partnership for the Goals. In his remarks, he shared his vast experiences in international affairs in United Nations development cooperation, international policy and programs and executive leadership development. Mr. Khan underlined that innovation and finding good solutions should be the key to global partnerships. He added that “The essence of collaborative leadership is to be able to identify the dynamics, manage relationships among different groups and bring all stakeholders to form a new commitment for the whole society to change and strive to achieve this agenda”. Mr. Khan concluded his remarks by indicating that making this SDGs driven, multi-stakeholder agenda successful requires coalitions, a common driven platform that allows individuals and institutions to work on complex and conflicting issues in constructive ways.

Nancy Mahon is the Senior Vice President of the Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability at The Estée Lauder Companies. Ms. Mahon focused on corporate social responsibility for implementing the global agenda 2030. Nancy Mahon indicated that “if you go along, you go quickly, but if you go together you go far”. She focused her remarks on the importance of social environmental sustainability and supporting the communities where we live and work. Ms. Mahon underlined that at The Estée Lauder Companies, “Our commitment to tackling environmental issues and climate change is non-separable; we work together with communities to advance the women and girls”. She emphasized that companies with a global footprint have an impact and we have a responsibility. It is a business imperative to make sure women, in particular, are treated fairly, equally and have the resources that they need to be active participants in the global economy.

Prof. Chol Bunnag, the Director of SDG Move at Thammasat University, Thailand, focused on the capacity building for socio-economic development. He said that SDGs are not only goals and indicators but also development principles, shared language, frameworks for planning, reporting impact and tools for empowering and negotiating with other stakeholders. Prof. Bunnag shared his analysis from Thailand underlining that there are not many available resources to raise awareness among the public on the content of the SDGs. Later in his remarks, he presented SDG Move`s initiatives and best practices for capacity building by bringing essential reports to the attention of the public audience and creating platforms for scholars to share their insights in regards to the implementation of the SDGs.

Dana Coppola, the Public Relations and Media Specialist at Embrace Relief, was the next panelist focusing on how partnerships, voluntarism and collaborations assist Embrace Relief to deliver humanitarian assistance worldwide and contribute to the UN in achieving the SDGs.  She started her remarks by saying that through collaboration and education, the world can begin to transform. Ms. Coppola introduced Embrace Relief as a non-profit organization dedicated to providing innovative, sustainable, research-based solutions to vulnerable communities worldwide for long-lasting improvements. Throughout her remarks, she shared several best practices from Embrace Relief such as First Bricks, an educational program for the refugee children advancing the SDG 4, the right to achieve quality education.

The last speaker of the Session, Ashok Sajjanhar is a Former Ambassador of India and the President of Institute of the Global Studies. Ambassador Sajjanhar discussed the role of peace and security to facilitate global partnerships for sustainable development which is a key to peace-building and a facilitator of SDG 17. He indicated that the advantages of virtual connections and digital technologies should continue to assist stakeholders to initiate global partnerships in the Post-COVID 19 Era. Ambassador Sajjanhar highlighted that “the whole world is a family” an Indian philosophy encouraging our global community to share its resources and knowledge in combatting the adversities that impact the world.