Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

World leaders have committed to achieving the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but they won’t succeed alone. That’s why Goal 17 is to “revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” – a partnership that must embrace and be embraced by the private sector and its financial systems and technological innovation. While it’s the last Global Goal, it is absolutely essential to establishing the foundational infrastructure necessary to achieve the other 16 SDGs.

Revitalizing Partnerships to Achieve the Global Goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious effort to end poverty and hunger, to establish equality for all, to protect our planet, and to ensure a healthy, sustainable future for humankind. The UN wants to achieve these goals by 2030. It’s a 15-year sprint, and the pistol fired on January 1, 2016.

Governments around the world pledged their commitment to achieving the 17 global goals, but they won’t succeed alone. That’s why the 17th goal is to, “revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.” This partnership must embrace – and be embraced by – private sector companies and their financial systems, technological innovation, and the capacity-building necessary for success.

Financing programs

Financing the SDGs is not for the faint of heart. Early estimates show that it will take between US$5 trillion and $7 trillion of annual global public and private investment in sectors as wide ranging as education, clean energy, agriculture, and health to deliver on the SDGs. The scale of investment needed to create these opportunities is immense.

Financial backing for programs alone won’t get us to the finish line by 2030. Most of the SDGs need more than funding. Consider Goal 2 – ending hunger and achieving food security. Not an easy task when you consider demand for food is quickly outstripping the growth in supply. Researchers estimate that by 2050, we will have global shortages in food supply if major systemic changes are not made soon. This requires a technological leap. In some cases, the technology exists, but farmers in underdeveloped countries lack access to it and to the knowledge required to improve crop yields. In some cases, new technology must be innovated and then widely adopted in few years.

Success is very dependent on the private sector to develop and distribute new innovations that align with the goals. It also depends on consensus-building at global, regional, national, and local levels to vet and adopt the best technologies, and it depends on countries having the capacity to absorb them.

Building capacity

Desire alone is not enough to achieve results; it also requires capacity. Consider Goal 2 once again. It is insufficient to simply desire food security. Countries must also have the capacity to cultivate or import food. Similarly, achieving universal education requires the capacity to teach everyone; achieving carbon emission reductions requires the capacity to monitor and eliminate pollution. This is a tall order for many countries with poor infrastructure, a weak economic base, and an unstable political state. Huge investments must be made to help stand the poorest countries on their feet and to track progress.

Tracking progress itself requires massive capacity-building in many countries. As pointed out in the SDG Report 2019, the demand for high-quality, timely and accessible data for development planning is increasing. To meet that demand, countries need to establish a strong national statistical plan that has sufficient funding and political backing to improve statistical capacity across the national statistical system. In 2018, 129 countries worldwide had implemented a national statistical plan, up from 102 in 2017. However, many countries lacked the necessary funding to do so. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 23 per cent of plans were fully funded, compared to 94 per cent in Europe and Northern America.

Former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, believes the data revolution should be harnessed to help monitor and achieve the SDGs. This is a very sensible idea, given the exabytes of data embedded in data centers, websites, smartphones, and, increasingly, things. In essence, there is capacity in private-sector databases to monitor the Global Goals if multistakeholder partnerships, such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, can form to mine this digital gold. Many countries have yet to experience the data revolution, due to a lack of Internet access.

Though last in the SDGs, Goal 17 is not least. Rather, it is absolutely essential to establishing the foundational infrastructure necessary to achieve the other 16 SDGs. Without growth in technical prowess, financial and economic strength, and core capacity within developing countries to tackle the SDGs, it’s unlikely progress will be made at all.

Nobody ever said achieving the UN Global Goals would be easy. But that’s not a reason to lose faith. Many thought sending mankind to the moon was, well, quite literally a “moon shot,” but we eventually accomplished the impossible by taking, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The Sustainable Development Goals represent 17 urgent leaps for mankind, for without them humanity may run out of steps to take.

SAP is doing its part

SAP is working hard to revitalize the partnerships needed to achieve the UN Global Goals.

  • To help businesses measure their overall societal impacts and dependencies, SAP has joined the Value Balancing Alliance as a founding member. The Alliance is addressing the need to rethink the value contribution of business as it pertains to different types of capital. Its objective is to create a standard for measuring and disclosing the environmental, social and financial value (negative and positive) companies provide to society.
  • Within the action platform, “Decent work in global supply chains,” the SAP Ariba solution team is working with the UN Global Compact and other member companies to address respect for human rights and fundamental principles and rights at work. A toolkit for businesses to engage with their supply chains in order to accelerate progress towards the SDGs and improve transparency in global supply chains was jointly developed and is now in the deployment phase. Since the UN Global Compact’s inception, SAP has been a member.
  • SAP together with Accenture are supporting SDG Ambition, a global impact initiative launched by the UN Global Compact on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. It is aimed at challenging and supporting companies to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into their core business.
  • Working with social enterprises is mutually beneficial — and SAP is doubling down on its commitment to the sector. SAP participated in the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) in 2018 as the organization’s first global partner and entered a the three-year partnership.
  • SAP is also strengthening its support of the social enterprise sector by making it even easier for organizations to find and do business with certified social enterprises on the Ariba Network. As the official technology partner of Social Enterprise UK, SAP aims to facilitate better connections between corporate buyers with social enterprises, helping them spend in a more socially and environmentally viable way.
  • SAP has also joined Social Enterprise UK’s Buy Social Corporate Challenge, a ground-breaking initiative through which leading corporations integrate social enterprises into their supply chains with the aim of achieving a combined £1 billion spend.
  • As one of twenty international private companies, SAP has joined the Global Alliance for YOUth, tackling issues such as automation and the global skills-gap and building a better future for younger generations.
  • SAP Ariba has partnered with social impact technology company, Givewith. Givewith is now available as an application extension in the SAP App Center, enabling companies connected to the Ariba Network to embed social impact programs in Request For Proposal (RFP) processes.
  • At Cannes Lions, SAP and Deloitte Digital joined Ascential in hosting engaging sessions at the Global Goals House, which inspired purpose-focused creatives to accelerate solutions and scale impact for the SDGs. All three are partnering with the United Nations Technology Innovation Labs (UNTIL) program for further follow-up initiatives such as the Reboot Earth youth hackathon and an academy for the SDGs.
  • SAP Ariba joined BSR’s Global Impact Sourcing Coalition as a steering committee member. Members of the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition have the shared vision for all people in the world to have the opportunity to obtain productive employment and decent work. They are working together to build more inclusive global supply chains through advancing wide-scale adoption of Impact Sourcing.
  • SAP is partnering with global brand leaders at Sustainable Brands. As a Good Life Lounge Sponsor for Circular Economy, SAP engaged dialogues with brands across various industries, tackling strategic topics such as ocean plastic. In addition, SAP Success Factors is a Founding Member of the Brands for Good initiative, launched in June 2019.
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Goal 1: No Poverty