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 all 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.

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. The best technologies have to be vetted as well as adopted, 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. The SDG Report 2019, shows that the demand for high-quality, timely, and accessible data for development planning is increasing. To meet that demand, countries need to establish a vigorous 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% of plans were fully funded, compared to 94% 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 in things. In essence, there is capacity in private-sector databases to monitor the Global Goals if multi-stakeholder 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 is unlikely that 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.
  • SAP joined the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and other 38 organizations for the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs. Together, we are to provide holistic support to social entrepreneurs during and post-pandemic. The Alliance represents a network of over 15,000 social entrepreneurs, who have impacted the lives of 1.5 billion people.
  • SAP in partnership with PYXERA Global established a global pro bono program: Corporate Champions for Education with a mandate to support digital inclusion. Corporate Champions for Education opens the pro bono experience to private-sector companies of all sizes and industries, to enable them to foster systemic change in education through shared resources and expertise.
  • 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. The platform is to address respect for human rights and fundamental principles and rights at work. They jointly developed 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. By now, the toolkit is in the deployment phase. Since the UN Global Compact’s inception, SAP has been a member.
  • Together with Accenture, we 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.
  • We are also strengthening our 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 is a participant of the SDG Compact, a strategic partnership with the German Ministry for Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung) to further sustainable development in multiple countries.
  • As part of the SAP Purpose Network program, SAP launched a digital platform fostering a global community of purpose-driven leaders and social change makers scaling impact for the SDGs. A gallery of stories highlights the customers and partners within the SAP Purpose Network, who have led in responding urgently to the greatest needs of our time. Whether it was helping procure ventilators, fostering remote employee well-being, sourcing hospital beds, pivoting production lines, or supporting local communities.
  • 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.
  • SAP Ariba joined BSR’s Global Impact Sourcing Coalition. 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.
  • Business Call to Action (BCtA) aims to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$10 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. SAP has joined BCtA with an aim to cater to the needs of different market segments, including small and mid-sized organizations, to accelerate and scale impact on smallholder farmers. SAP has developed the SAP Rural Sourcing Management solution for better management of sustainability data connecting smallholder farmers to global agricultural supply chains.
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Goal 1: No Poverty