United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the priorities of your organization? 

The unprecedented disruption of COVID-19 and significant setbacks in human development has given new meaning and sense of urgency to the SDG integration portfolio. Complex challenges and interdependencies were the foundation of the portfolio since its inception in 2019, but through 2020-2021 the portfolio evolved to focus on systemic shifts to fundamentally alter development trajectories: and the strategies, approaches and capabilities required to meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda.

As the technical lead for the UN’s socio-economic response, UNDP has supported more than 120 countries with socioeconomic impact assessments and bespoke recovery plans together with our UN partners. In late 2020, UNDP launched the COVID-19 Data Futures Platform to provide policy makers, activists and researchers with an open resource platform which translates multidimensional data into actionable insights and supports users to design development solutions that build forward from the pandemic. One of our first projects was to use scenario modelling to understand how we can advance the SDGs under different conditions. The findings were worrying. If we don’t change course, we will see a continued slide in human development, and 8 out of 10 people that will become poor by 2030 because of the pandemic will live in countries on the lower end of human development, widening the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. At the same time, however, the research shows how a combination of policy choices and investments in governance, social protection, green economy and digitalization – through an ‘SDG Push’ – could help countries including Guyana, Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua and Pakistan to exceed pre-pandemic development trajectories.

Integrated approaches are part of UNDP’s DNA, and are actively advanced across our development portfolios. One critical example is the Climate Promise, which draws upon our expertise across energy, forests, water, resilience, agriculture, health, youth, finance, governance, gender equality and green jobs. This is a commitment to ensure that any country wishing to increase the ambition of their national climate pledge under the Paris Agreement, is able to do so. With 120 agreed Climate Promise workplans, it is the world’s largest offer of support to countries’ climate pledges.

‘Rising Up for SIDS’ is another example. This is UNDP’s offer for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which elevates integrated support across climate action, blue economy and digital transformation, with access to sustainable finance as the key enabler. Action is well under way: from the Maldives safeguarding freshwater through integrated water solutions, to Suriname investing in mangrove ecosystems to secure food and coastal protection, and Papua New Guinea boosting climate action and livelihoods through sustainable land management.

As part of the Financing for Development agenda, Integrated National Financing Frameworks help countries achieve the SDGs holistically. Working closely with system UN entities, the EU and other partners, these frameworks have been developed in over 70 countries, helping establish finance strategies for SDG-aligned national development plans. They aim to strengthen planning processes and overcome impediments to financing sustainable development.

Integration is an emergent portfolio premised on action at the intersections of disciplines and approaches. A driving principle has been to ensure wide accessibility through global public goods like SparkBlue, and experimentation spaces on the Data Futures Platform where colleagues can test out ideas and practice systems inquiries. We have learned that integration is about amplifying choices and empowering colleagues and partners as change agents to lead transformative shifts. Alongside integrated strategies and tools is a more fundamental question of how we to bridge the gap between espoused values and embodied action. This is reflected in the 2020 HDR and a driving area of exploration for the integration portfolio.

 

2. In 2020/2021, how has your organization endeavored to support Member States to build back better from COVID-19 while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda? Please select up to three high-impact initiatives to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations in those efforts to achieve coherence and synergies?  

Initiative Data Futures Platform
Partners ILO, UNICEF, UNESCO, ESCWA, FAO, WHO, WB, IMF, UN Women, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Microsoft, Tableau
Relevant SDGs  SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative Many including South Africa, Moldova, Iraq, Myanmar, Egypt, Philippines
Description

In 2021, UNDP continued to build on investments in advanced SDG analytics, networked learning and systems leadership capabilities to support countries and fellow UN entities with integrated approaches to tackle complex development challenges.

The Data Futures Platform (launched in December 2020) continued to grow in reach and sparked collaboration across the UN system, notably through three global launches:
o ‘SDG Push’ flagship study (April), supports UNCTs and Governments with futures modelling to analyze the potential impacts of different combinations of policy choices before investments are locked in on the national level. New scenarios are under development to reflect vaccine inequity and a green transition.
o Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity Dashboard (July)
- a joint initiative with WHO and University of Oxford
- combines data on COVID-19 vaccine rollout with socio-economic information to empower policy makers to analyze challenges related to vaccine inequity in an integrated way. This is currently being expanded to focus on sub-national insights, in partnership with several UN entities and the IMF.
o Fossil Fuel Reform simulator (October) explores country-level data to understand the implications of fossil fuel subsidies, and how they could practically finance different development priorities. This is part of UNDP’s wider effort to end fossil fuel usage.

Building on these investments, UNDP is developing a data-driven SDG acceleration simulator, to support UNCTs and Governments define context specific pathways to recover from the pandemic. This combines cutting edge work in analytics, innovation and finance. Pilots will be rolled out in 2022 across six countries. In collaboration with UNICEF, UN Women, FAO, UN DESA and UN Global Pulse.

Website

https://data.undp.org/

 

Initiative 

Integrated Policy Practitioners Network

Partners FAO, ILO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, WFP, the Republic of Korea
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative Not yet
Description The Integrated Policy Practitioners’ Network was launched in November by nine founding UN entities (UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, FAO, WFP, UN Women, UNFPA, IOM, UNAIDS) to boost integrated policy making and accelerate SDG implementation. The Network, which is open to external practitioners, offers curated resources including latest tools, methodologies and trainings, as well as opportunities to join pilot initiatives, contribute expertise in dedicated dialogue spaces and contribute to commissioned research.
Website https://sdgintegration.undp.org/IPPN

 

Initiative 

SparkBlue

Partners UNICEF, UN WOMEN, UNFPA, IFAD, WFP, UNESCO
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative Several, list coming
Description UNDP’s knowledge collaboration platform SparkBlue continued to grow in use and impact in 2021, connecting UN staff with external expertise, and creating spaces for peer learning across UN and external partners, including through the global consultation processes for six UN entities’ Strategic Plans. Since launch in June 2020, 230,000 visitors from across the UN system, Governments, academia, businesses and civil society have visited the platform, while 16,000 active users have created profiles and contribute regularly to the platform’s learning and engagement opportunities.
Website https://sparkblue.org/

 

Initiative  Transforming Systems in the Decade of Action
Partners Presencing Institute, UN agencies
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Member States benefiting from the initiative not targeting Member States
Description To build leadership capabilities to tackle complex challenges, UNDP led an experimental 4-month Action Learning Lab in partnership with the MIT Presencing Institute with participation of 450 staff from 7 different UN entities. The Lab is part of a wider UN effort which UNDP integration is leading to explore tools and approaches to systems transformation, bringing together mind, heart, and hand and inviting reflection on the inner and interpersonal transformation required to realize societal transformation. This initiative has attracted the participation of more than 1,500 UN staff and will advance in 2022.
Website https://www.sparkblue.org/transformation

3. Has your organization published or is it planning to publish any analytical work or guidance note or toolkits to guide and support recovery efforts from COVID-19 while advancing SDG implementation at national, regional and global levels? Please select up to three high-impact resources to highlight, especially those that address interlinkages among the SDGs. 

Resource  SDG Acceleration Toolkit
Publishing entity/entities UNSDG with support from UNDP and UNICEF
Relevant SDGs SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Target audience Practitioners
Description The SDG Acceleration Toolkit is a compendium of tools for analyzing system interconnections, enhancing policy coherence, ensuring that no one is left behind, identifying risks and building resilience. Originally launched in 2017 by the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), this refreshed version of the Toolkit is designed to provide UN Country Teams, policy experts and Governments with access to existing tools for accelerating progress toward the 2030 Agenda. The tools can also support immediate socio-economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as effective recovery planning and implementation. The Toolkit is managed jointly by UNICEF and UNDP under the auspices of the UNSDG Task Team on Integrated Policy Support.
Link to access https://sdgintegration.undp.org/sdg-acceleration-toolkit
Language English

 

4. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups to support SDG implementation and COVID-19 recovery at national, regional and global levels? Please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established multi-stakeholder partnerships in this regard, please describe them (objectives, partners involved, relevant SDGs, Member States benefiting from the partnership) and provide links to relevant websites, if applicable.

UNDP in its technical lead for the socio-economic response components of the UN’s COVID-19 response has supported Socio-Economic Impact Assessments and Socio-Economic Response Plans in 139 countries (in collaboration with members of UN TT on Socio-Economic Recovery and IFIs primarily WB and IMF). Approximately 50 Country Offices have delivered on vaccine preparedness and distribution under COVID 2.0 offer and vaccine equity campaign (led by WHO, UNICEF). In addition, UNDP together with DCO led the development of 18 UN system-wide COVID-19 socio-economic indicators to enable the UN-system to monitor and report on the progress and achievements of their socio-economic response on the ground. UNDP is also focal point for a number of indicators contributing to, inter alia, SDGs, in particular, but not limited, to SDG 1, 7, 9, 13 and 16. UNDP also launched the COVID-19 Data Futures Platform in December 2020, which brings together data from the UN system and beyond to provide policy makers with actionable insights as they seek to build back better from the pandemic. UNDP demonstrated its agility through the rapidity and scale of its response to COVID-19. Its support helped 82 countries to keep functioning remotely and provide basic and social services. It leveraged its Global Fund partnership, crisis management expertise and strong ties with local governments and community-level organizations to get help where it was most needed. UNDP reduced the time it takes to approve procurement decisions by one quarter through an audit reviewed process. One of the most-reported challenges from country offices in 2020 was the delay in procurement of supplies due to limited and interrupted supply chains. (UNDP Annual Report 2020 – Published June 2021) In close coordination with UNCTs and governmental institutions, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises received support to improve productivity and ease access to financial services. Initiatives target businesses owned by women, youth and other marginalised groups. (from the mini-ROAR). An after-action review of its COVID-19 operational response highlighted how UNDP can be more agile in aligning resources to emerging priorities. It flagged challenges, including the need to improve adaptive management, employee recognition systems and procurement policies and systems. It recommended “reimagining” the UNDP workplace to focus less on “location” and more on the “enabling environment” necessary for people to work well. “Political will to drive organizational change” was considered as the most impactful factor of the UNDP COVID-19 response.

 

5. In the 2019 SDG Summit declaration (GA Resolution 74/4), Member States outlined ten priority areas for accelerated action in SDG implementation. Please highlight any major integrated and innovative policies or initiatives that your organization may have adopted in these ten priority areas:

5.1 leaving no one behind

As the pandemic laid bare the deep impacts of inequality, UNDP prioritized those most left behind, with increased focus on informal, self-employed, domestic and unpaid care workers, people with disabilities as well as migrant and internally displaced populations. In 2020, UNDP’s COVID-19 Data Futures Platform was launched to aid countries’ strategic decision-making. Its Temporary Basic Income simulator shows how much it would cost to lift vulnerable people out of poverty in each of 132 countries. UNDP supported 82 countries from India to Nigeria to top up or expand social assistance programmes. For example, technical support from UNDP, UNICEF and GIZ contributed to the Cambodian Government’s first cash transfer for all Cambodians living below the national poverty line, reaching over 670,000 households. The multidimensional poverty index tool developed by UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) helped to identify vulnerable homes in El Salvador.

UNDP’s systemic approach to livelihoods delivered on jobs, entrepreneurship and crisis-relief. In Turkey, nearly 3,000 Syrian refugees and host community members found jobs as a result of UNDP interventions. In Iraq, more than 1.2 million people benefited from the rehabilitation of over 300 public infrastructures. To date, 4.6 million people have returned to Iraqi towns and districts with support from the UNDP-led Funding Facility for Stabilization.

In 2020, we launched the COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker with UN Women, tracking over 3,100 socio-economic, leadership and political participation measures across 219 countries and territories. Its findings reveal systemic inequalities, such as the fact that only 8 countries in the world have a 50-50 gender balance in their COVID-19 task forces, despite women making up over 70% of health and social workers globally. As the technical lead for the UN’s socio-economic response framework, UNDP helped to integrate gender across all its key areas and worked with 41 countries on gender-responsive social protection – twice the number supported in 2019. UNDP also doubled the number of countries we worked with to fight gender-based violence in 2020, including with the European Union and UN partners through the Spotlight Initiative, and applied its gender marker in selecting initiatives to support through its COVID-19 Rapid Finance Facility. UN Women was our primary partner, with collaboration across 101 country offices in 2020. In Kyrgyzstan, UNDP helped to establish the Council on Women’s Rights and Countering Violence, the country’s first institutionalized body to monitor and inform policymaking on gender-based violence. Meanwhile in Bangladesh, UNDP supported 1.2 million women – 1 in 43 – to gain access to financial services. We also worked with 114 of our Climate Promise countries to integrate gender into their workplans, and with 81 countries to advance women’s leadership in natural resource management. Despite this progress, the remaining gaps are clear, and the need for universal gender equality and women and girls’ empowerment remains without question.

5.2 mobilizing adequate and well-directed financing

For example, progress was made in 2020 on UNDP, UN, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and European Union efforts to develop Integrated National Financing Frameworks in 62 countries, 40% of which are now aligned with countries’ COVID-19 response plans as a result. These macro-level interventions – made possible through multiple partnerships – are helping to guide governments’ public policy decisions amid unprecedented complexity. UNDP’s ability to understand the details and to connect the dots with and for others allows us to create impact at a global scale.

5.3 enhancing national implementation

In 2020, the largest share of UNDP’s Signature Solution investment focused on strengthening inclusive, effective and accountable governance. Our work is anchored in SDG 16 and the fundamental role that governance and the rule of law play in peaceful, just and inclusive societies, especially when crisis hits. UNDP responded rapidly to the need for national and local e-governance systems to ensure the continuity of essential public services. Working with its UN partners, we supported Bangladesh, Cameroon, Kenya, Honduras, Malawi, Tajikistan, Vanuatu and Zambia in strengthening national identity management systems, supporting people’s rights to services and equitable social protection roll-out through a legal identity lens. We supported people across 46 countries from Bolivia to Vanuatu in exercising their right to vote in spite of the pandemic. As part of election preparations in Niger, 6 million people attained civil status through mobile court hearings. UNDP helped government systems to be more transparent, accountable and responsive. We worked with countries including Albania, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan to meet a growing demand for free legal aid, and with 40 countries in crisis contexts to strengthen the rule of law. In the Republic of Congo, UNDP trained 100 journalists to enhance their capacity to work with international human rights instruments. And as ‘information pollution’ spread in 2020, UNDP worked with multiple countries to map disinformation and strengthen national responses, including in Chile, Samoa and Ukraine. We worked with over one third of all countries to tackle hate speech. These examples are all evidence of UNDP’s full support of good governance throughout the world.

5.4 strengthening institutions for more integrated solutions

In 2020, the largest share of UNDP’s Signature Solution investment focused on strengthening inclusive, effective and accountable governance. Our work is anchored in SDG 16 and the fundamental role that governance and the rule of law play in peaceful, just and inclusive societies, especially when crisis hits. UNDP responded rapidly to the need for national and local e-governance systems to ensure the continuity of essential public services. Working with its UN partners, we supported Bangladesh, Cameroon, Kenya, Honduras, Malawi, Tajikistan, Vanuatu and Zambia in strengthening national identity management systems, supporting people’s rights to services and equitable social protection roll-out through a legal identity lens. We supported people across 46 countries from Bolivia to Vanuatu in exercising their right to vote in spite of the pandemic. As part of election preparations in Niger, 6 million people attained civil status through mobile court hearings. UNDP helped government systems to be more transparent, accountable and responsive. We worked with countries including Albania, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan to meet a growing demand for free legal aid, and with 40 countries in crisis contexts to strengthen the rule of law. In the Republic of Congo, UNDP trained 100 journalists to enhance their capacity to work with international human rights instruments. And as ‘information pollution’ spread in 2020, UNDP worked with multiple countries to map disinformation and strengthen national responses, including in Chile, Samoa and Ukraine. We worked with over one third of all countries to tackle hate speech. These examples are all evidence of UNDP’s full support of good governance throughout the world.

5.5 bolstering local action

In 2020, the largest share of UNDP’s Signature Solution investment focused on strengthening inclusive, effective and accountable governance. Our work is anchored in SDG 16 and the fundamental role that governance and the rule of law play in peaceful, just and inclusive societies, especially when crisis hits. UNDP responded rapidly to the need for national and local e-governance systems to ensure the continuity of essential public services. Working with its UN partners, we supported Bangladesh, Cameroon, Kenya, Honduras, Malawi, Tajikistan, Vanuatu and Zambia in strengthening national identity management systems, supporting people’s rights to services and equitable social protection roll-out through a legal identity lens. We supported people across 46 countries from Bolivia to Vanuatu in exercising their right to vote in spite of the pandemic. As part of election preparations in Niger, 6 million people attained civil status through mobile court hearings. UNDP helped government systems to be more transparent, accountable and responsive. We worked with countries including Albania, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan to meet a growing demand for free legal aid, and with 40 countries in crisis contexts to strengthen the rule of law. In the Republic of Congo, UNDP trained 100 journalists to enhance their capacity to work with international human rights instruments. And as ‘information pollution’ spread in 2020, UNDP worked with multiple countries to map disinformation and strengthen national responses, including in Chile, Samoa and Ukraine. We worked with over one third of all countries to tackle hate speech. These examples are all evidence of UNDP’s full support of good governance throughout the world.

5.6 reducing disaster risk and building resilience

UNDP believes in building resilience for today and tomorrow. From 2018 to 2020, we worked closely with other development, humanitarian and peace partners to help societies tackle immediate development emergencies, prevent new problems from escalating and build resilience to navigate the challenges yet to come. In Yemen, 1.43 million people had better access to justice after justice institutions, courts and police stations were rehabilitated. Over 400 football fields-worth of land was cleared of explosives, enabling humanitarian aid to get to those in most need and freeing the land for farming and other productive uses. Meanwhile, 50,000 people affected by cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique were able to produce and buy sufficient food with support from UNDP. Our resilience work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo showed positive signs: following mediation efforts, young people formerly involved in conflict were nearly 40% more likely to want to pursue vocational training or employment. UNDP joined with partners to build reconciliation and reintegration into peace agreements in countries such as Colombia and the Central African Republic. We also helped 79% of countries build social cohesion into their COVID-19 socio-economic response plans. This all goes to show how the risks facing people and planet – climate change, conflict, rupturing inequalities, disease – are increasingly systemic, sustained and connected.

5.7 solving challenges through international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership

On UN cooperation: Throughout 2020, UNDP invested in deepening its UN partnerships. These included joining forces with UNICEF on innovation, youth and entrepreneurship; the International Labour Organization (ILO) on work, both present and future; the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on livelihoods and digital solutions for people on the move; the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on finding a balance between people and planet; the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Broadband Commission to advance inclusive digital nations; and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) to advance a human rights-based approach in COVID-19 response plans.

Our unified efforts to help countries tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts are another example of UN Reform in action. UN country teams serving 162 countries and territories came together in an unprecedented way in 2020, supporting authorities to address the multiple impacts of the pandemic. As the UN’s socio-economic technical lead, UNDP was part of a critical triad with OCHA and WHO and worked more closely than ever with its development system counterparts. We co-led the development and implementation of socio-economic assessments and contributed to developing and costing response plans. Looking ahead, UNDP will work alongside WHO and other UN entities to support equity, resilience and sustainability in COVID-19 vaccination programmes.

On private sector partnerships: 2020 saw significant strategic private-sector engagement in pursuing the SDGs, including through UNDP partnerships. We continued to develop new partnerships for existing initiatives, such as The Lion’s Share, the Connecting Business Initiative, and Youth Co: Lab, and also built new ones, including the COVID-19 Private Sector Global Facility, partnering with the United Nations Global Compact and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to develop innovative public partnerships for COVID-19 recovery. With support from private-sector actors like Boston Consulting Group and UPS, the joint UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UNDP Connecting Business Initiative have been assisting business networks with over 50,000 member companies in a worldwide COVID-19 response, including guidance for the private sector in 4 continents. Meanwhile, the Connecting Business Initiative (CBi) and its partner business groups raised over $30M to fund the distribution of grocery vouchers to over 1 million urban residents in the Metro Manila Area. Since 2018, UNDP supported governments and the private sector to finance the SDGs, including through its Finance Sector Hub. The Tax Inspectors Without Borders programme, a joint effort by UNDP and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), helped 45 countries to collect $775M in revenue in 5 years. In 2020, SDG Impact helped investors, bond issuers and enterprises make significant, measurable contributions towards the SDGs. Standards have been set to codify and confirm the best practices for these groups to contribute to the goals. The SDG Investor Platform, co-created by UNDP’s flagship SDG Impact initiative and the Secretary-General’s Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance, makes the market intelligence generated through the SDG Investor Maps available to investors interested in SDG-enabling investment opportunities. The platform currently provides insights into 207 investment opportunity areas in 15 countries, with each country involved expected to mobilize approximately $50M towards the Goals.

5.8 harnessing science, technology and innovation with a greater focus on digital transformation for sustainable development

“Digital by default” has become part of the UNDP family’s DNA, driven by government demand. 2020 saw a surge in e-everything – from accelerating the reach of telemedicine in Indonesia and creating digital IDs for migrants in Turkey to expanding social protection platforms in Belize and fighting fake news in Guinea-Bissau, India, Morocco and beyond. During COVID-19, UNDP’s support has helped 82 countries to keep functioning remotely, moving essential public services and business continuity online. We obtained 12,900 Zoom licences for partners at 40% below cost and supported approximately 290 entities in their digital transitions, including the offices of Heads of State, Parliaments and ministries. To support evidence-based insights, we launched the Data Futures Platform. Drawing on data sources from across the UN system and partners, the platform builds on UNDP’s long-standing commitment to leveraging technology and innovation in responding to development challenges. The pace at which UNDP went digital in 2020 was enabled by the organization’s new Digital Strategy. Establishing the policies, norms and standards that guide and accompany an inclusive digital transformation will be a central development challenge in the immediate years ahead. In addition, UNDP’s knowledge collaboration platform SparkBlue is growing in use and impact, connecting UN staff with external expertise, and creating spaces for peer learning across UN and external partners, including through the global consultation processes for six UN entities’ Strategic Plans. Since launch in June 2020, 230,000 visitors from across the UN system, Governments, academia, businesses and civil society have visited the platform, while 16,000 active users have created profiles and contribute regularly to the platform’s learning and engagement opportunities.

5.9 investing in data and statistics for the SDGs

UNDP launched the Data Futures Platform in December 2020, which brings together data from the UN system and partners to advance integrated development solutions in support of the 2030 Agenda. The platform includes raw data sets, simulators and actionable insights, allowing users to both run their own estimation and access relevant analyses to inform policies, programmes and advocacy efforts. Powered by UNDP, this one-stop shop for multidimensional analyses features unique opportunities for collaboration around strategies and solutions that seek to build back better. In 2021, the platform was advanced by three major launches:

o ‘SDG Push’ flagship study (April), supports UNCTs and Governments with futures modelling to analyze the potential impacts of different combinations of policy choices before investments are locked in on the national level. New scenarios are under development to reflect vaccine inequity and a green transition.

o Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity Dashboard (July) - a joint initiative with WHO and University of Oxford - combines data on COVID-19 vaccine rollout with socio-economic information to empower policy makers to analyze challenges related to vaccine inequity in an integrated way. This is currently being expanded to focus on sub-national insights, in partnership with several UN entities and the IMF.

o Fossil Fuel Reform simulator (October) explores country-level data to understand the implications of fossil fuel subsidies, and how they could practically finance different development priorities. This is part of UNDP’s wider effort to end fossil fuel usage. Building on these investments, UNDP is developing a data-driven SDG acceleration simulator, to support UNCTs and Governments define context specific pathways to recover from the pandemic. This combines cutting edge work in analytics, innovation and finance. Pilots will be rolled out in 2022 across six countries. In collaboration with UNICEF, UN Women, FAO, UN DESA and UN Global Pulse.

 

6. In the lead up to the 2023 HLPF to be held under the auspices of the General Assembly (or 2023 SDG Summit), please provide your organization’s recommendations on how to overcome challenges to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the SDGs, taking into account the thematic reviews and voluntary national reviews conducted to date.

In the midst of the pandemic, it’s clear that we need to rethink not only the ‘what’ but also the ‘how’ of SDG implementation. We need a stronger focus on integrated and systems driven approaches to complex development challenges. This means looking beyond sectoral challenges for opportunities for transformative change, understanding interdependencies and leveraging linkages across interventions to achieve broader goals. Rather than seeking to answer a question, we need to work collaboratively to solve puzzles. This requires new tools, resources and capabilities for development practitioners to navigate today’s complex challenges.

Three big shifts needed for integrated impact at scale:

o First, from magic unicorns to system approaches: there is no contract tracing app, no testing equipment in isolation that will “solve” COVID-19, just like no hackathon or blockchain solution in themselves will “solve” climate change. When the Singaporean government launched its contact tracking app, it did so with a blog titled: “This is no panacea”. Let’s embrace this spirit and acknowledge the complexity of the issues we are dealing with.

o Second, from trying to predict the future to sensemaking in the present: there is a fundamental difference between risk (which is quantifiable) and uncertainty (which is not). We need to become better prepared at sensemaking the present, with all its contradictions and contemplating multiple possible futures (no matter how unlikely they might seem). The Philippines Senate has a dedicated committee on SDGs, Innovations and Future thinking. Many UN entities are working together towards resilient food systems and sustainable energy for all, starting from the here and now. Let’s focus our attention on new ways of understanding the present, without getting carried away with the false security of “predictions”.

o Third, from financing individual projects to financing system transformations: the government of Slovenia is working with Climate KIC to shift its entire national economy into a circular economy. In the wake of COVID, the city of Amsterdam has committed to radically shift its whole economic development paradigm to comply with the “doughnut” model of sustainable growth. A number of governments, from Togo to Pakistan, have adopted temporary basic income schemes as a first step to rethink their safety nets. Who are the bold funders and donors who will be willing in the future to finance this type of big system transformations, moving beyond individual projects? This requires patient capital, taking a long-term view and the willingness to shift towards portfolio approaches.

 

ECESA Plus Member
Year of submission: 2021