Reflecting on the first-ever virtual UN General Assembly high-level debate in the organization’s 75-year history, the community committed to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals used the moment to bring new voices and leaders into the fold, and to re-energize and re-commit themselves to the work needed to achieve the goals by 2030. As a new member of the Global Goals Week coalition, Goal 17 Partners was proud to be part of this movement to help showcase the SDGs as the pathway to building back better and recovering stronger.
We were particularly pleased to see new interest and initiatives coming from the private sector, including around financing the goals. Catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders have maintained and, in many cases, increased efforts to achieve the SDGs. Below are some themes that emerged throughout the hundreds of virtual events that happened throughout the week:
- Collective action initiatives are growing to include non-state actors such as multilateral institutions, NGOs, the private sector, and financial institutions.
- Companies with ESG initiatives were more resilient through the pandemic. Subsequently, ESG commitments from the private sector are substantially increasing.
- Net zero commitments (including on scope 2 and 3 emissions) are becoming commonplace.
- Financing the SDGs through the COVID-19 recovery is a promising ambition, backed by commitments to issue green bonds, finance renewable energy, and invest in technology.
- New and renewed corporate commitments to the SDGs were more ambitious and actionable than in the past.
We look forward to working with all of our partners to ensure this momentum continues and builds as we approach key moments throughout the rest of 2020 and into early 2021, including the Milken Global Conference, Dreamforce, the G20 and the WEF Davos Dialogues.
Finally, we want to congratulate one of our event partners, the UN World Food Programme, in their very well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize! Thank you for all of the life-saving work you do which we know is more important now than ever.