October 2017: The UN is partnering with a range of private sector stakeholders to help advance the SDGs, including an airline company in Nepal and a health and hygiene company. The UN is also also working to help leverage funding for the SDGs, including encouraging companies to increase “impact investing.” Further, the UN Secretary-General has released a report on enhanced cooperation with the UN and partners, particularly the private sector.

The UN Secretary-General’s report titled, ‘Enhanced cooperation between the UN and all relevant partners, in particular the private sector,’ outlines recommendations for facilitating a stronger system-wide approach to partnerships that will enhance the impact of collaboration with the private sector. The report notes the need for the UN to move towards partnerships that better leverage private sector resources and expertise, as well as enhance its role in “sparking a new wave of financing and innovation” to achieve the SDGs. The report provides case studies of partnerships with UN entities, including between: the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Vodafone Foundation on enhancing education quality in refugee camps; the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Grameen Intel Social Business to provide technical solutions to rural farmers in Cambodia; and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and others to develop the world’s first rhinoceros impact bond to address illegal hunting and poaching.

The report recommends that: UN entities embed multi-stakeholder partnerships into their core business models; partnerships and related metrics be integrated into the performance management criteria of UN staff and management; UN entities offer training and awareness-building opportunities for staff to increase understanding of the role of partnerships in advancing the 2030 Agenda; the UN Global Compact should meet with senior UN leadership more regularly; and data should be compiled in an annual system-wide report to better track partnership contributions to the 2030 Agenda. [Secretary-General’s report on UN-partner cooperation]

During a UN General Assembly (UNGA) high-level event on ‘Big Data, Impact Management & the SDGs: Facilitating Private Sector Investment in Asia for the SDGs,’ Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP, said the UN aims to accelerate more private sector capital that deliberately supports the SDGs, by exploring ways to help unlock trillions of dollars in private sector finance. He said the rise of impact investing ensures returns that are positive for society, the environment and the SDGs. He noted that US$114 billion in commercial capital is currently under management that self-identifies as impact investing, with such investing increasing by approximately 20% annually. The event was organized by the UN Social Impact Fund (UNSIF) and convened on 22 September 2017. [Statement of Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UNDP]

The fifth annual UN Foundation Dialogue on the Global Agenda brought together representatives of the private sector, governments and NGOs, who discussed ways for the public and private sectors to collaborate to achieve the SDGs. The UN Foundation and Essity, a global hygiene and health company, convened the 18 October 2017 event in New York, US. Magnus Groth, Essity President and CEO, noted that six SDGs are directly related to Essity’s business and that his company is working to find innovative and collaborative solutions that create value for “people, nature and society.” During a breakout session on SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), he said that in 2016, Essity educated two million people in programmes related to menstruation and puberty, hand washing, continence care and parental education. [Press Release on Dialogue]

Yeti Airlines will include SDG icons on its airplanes, airport shuttle buses and boarding passes.

UNDP has partnered with the Nepal-based Yeti Airlines, which will include SDG icons on its airplanes, airport shuttle buses and boarding passes, sustainable development information leaflets and social media sites. Yeti Airlines also will include a link on its website for donating to UNDP programmes in Nepal. UNDP and Yeti Airlines will jointly: raise awareness on sustainable development in Nepal; mobilize stakeholders to implement the SDGs; and explore, adopt and promote innovative and sustainable business models in the aviation and tourism industries, which will help Nepal meet specific SDG indicators on climate change adaptation, poverty reduction and gender equality. The collaboration will also help achieve SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). [UN Press Release]