SDG Advocates Jeffrey Sachs, Muhammad Yunus and Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director of the European Commission’s Department for International Cooperation and Development, were among key speakers in a panel on the role of small businesses in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group of States) and the European Commission during the European Development Days (EDDs), Europe’s leading forum on development and cooperation, which took place on 7-8 June in Brussels.
“Addressing the pressing challenges the world is facing today requires a stronger engagement and partnership: whether creating jobs, investing in education, or tackling root causes of displacement like conflict, disaster or climate change, only by working together we can help societies prosper, prevent crises and sustain peace. An active engagement of the private sector is critical if we want to accelerate the progress towards the achievement of the SDGs. We hope the discussions during these two days at the EDDs will foster a stronger cooperation and involvement of the private sector to achieve a world where no one is left behind,” said Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, Director of the UN/UNDP office in Brussels.
The panel featured the results of the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, an initiative of the ACP Group of States, funded by the European Union (EU) and UNDP and implemented by UNDP, which seeks to improve the sustainable development outcomes from the mining of local minerals and materials like sand, clay and gravel used for local development in 40 countries across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. In two years, the programme has trained over 2000 people, including 20 women miners’ associations.
A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed during the EDDs between UNDP and the African Guarantee Fund, which will provide up to US$12 million in affordable finance to help small scale-scale mining businesses access loans as well as provide funding for capacity building of the development minerals sector in Africa.
The 2017 edition of the EDDs included high-level panels, lab debates and sessions on themes related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Investing in People and Planet, Investing in Prosperity, and Investing in Peace and Partnership.
UNDP contributed to discussions related to the importance of territorial partnerships to the achievement of the SDGs and role of cities in addressing migration. During the closing session of the World Reconstruction Conference, co-organized by the EU, UNDP, the World Bank and ACP in conjunction with the EDDs, UNDP shared its work on resilient crisis recovery around the world.
The UN’s SDGs stand at the European Development Days featured UNDP’s first virtual reality movie Ground Beneath Her. which showcases the struggle of 14-year-old Sabita, who must balance the pain of picking up the pieces after the devastating quake in Nepal and fulfilling the everyday duties of a fractured home, all while trying to keep her dreams for her future alive. Visitors of the stand had also the chance to learn about UNDP’s work on private sector development and the implementation of the SDGs.
Each year, the European Development Days bring together development actors to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
UNDP and the EU are partnering in 140 countries to deepen democratic governance, prevent or help countries recover from conflict and natural disasters, build resilience, and adapt to climate change.