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GA attends UN-HLPF SDGs Series 2020

By Gita Jaffe 

Starting the second week of July 2020, High-level Political Forum (HLPF) (the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) met virtually. The theme was Building back better after COVID-19 and acting where we will have the greatest impact on the SDGs. Focusing on  “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development” the HLPF did not adopt a Ministerial Declaration, however a summary from the president of ECOSOC to capture key messages of the discussions can be found here.

Representatives of the Global Alliance were present in a series of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) 2020 SDGs Learning, Training, and Practice workshops held over the HLPF.  Full details of all of the sessions can be found here. Blog posts regarding the sessions that representatives attended are below. 

GA at UN: Digital Skills for Development

by Gita Jaffe

During Accelerating action through digital technologies: Strengthening digital skills and capacities for human wellbeing, the discussion focused on the role of digital skills for development and the need to close the digital divide, particularly as the correlation between risks to COVID-19 intersecting with digital and social inequities were raised. The session highlighted examples from around the world with relation to access and barriers to reliable internet, in conjunction with the skills and platforms necessary to work remotely and attend virtual school. The central point was that digital skills (on desktops, laptops, and 

mobile devices) are required to accelerate the achievement of all SDGs. If used properly, such skills will be used as enablers, which means that without skills people will be left further behind. COVID-19 has brought to the surface the huge connectivity challenge, with over 90% of the world’s population living in an area that has service coverage, yet only 54% are using the internet, with less developed countries having significantly less usage (ITU, 2020)

Although there were very important information and recommendations to move forward with economic-focused well-being indicators (including case examples of implementing assessments and implementing recommendations in Ghana), no presenters included a holistic approach to ‘human well-being,’ a significant shortcoming when reimagining the digital divide and skill development.

GA at UN: Partnerships

by Gita Jaffe

Developing transformational partnerships to catalyze SDGs implementation panelists shared practical examples of how collaboration is necessary to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, both between the SDGs and among stakeholders.  Recognizing that COVID-19 has highlighted the fundamental need to shift the way we live and work, examples focused on moving away from singular goals and towards engaging in transformational development.  As an example, the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Intelligence platform was shared. Utilizing a system thinking process to connect issues, this tool incorporates human intelligence and artificial intelligence in a revolutionary way mapping the connections within, among, and between key issues with relevant publications, videos, and data generated on every pathway in real time.