Colombia: Philanthropist’s 101 Guide for SDG Investing

Content Manager • 22 November 2017

The Sustainable Development Goals aim to eradicate poverty, strengthen peace and freedom, and improve the environment across the globe by 2030. SDG Goal 16 aims to ensure peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.

Colombia a culturally rich and environmentally diverse country located on the north-western part of South America, had been fighting a long running civil war making it a top priority for the country’s development agenda. This resulted in a historic milestone: the 2016 Peace Agreement. The Agreement is aligned with the SDGs through commitments and actions that seek to generate social and economic conditions for the reinforce peace building and non-repetition.


The Philanthropy Landscape in Colombia

Philanthropy is well-organized in Colombia, and a key sector when it comes to designing and delivering interventions that aim to improve social conditions in marginalized areas. Nonetheless, the sector faces fundamental challenges in the wake of the country’s current priority areas. To become a strategic player, it is important to be acquainted with relevant stakeholders in government, the United Nations, foundations and the private sector. Selected institutions can provide entry points through membership structures, organized events, dialogues and forums around localizing the SDGs.

It is well known that in order to deliver on the SDGs, and its corresponding targets it is currently estimated that there will be a USD 2.5 trillion annual global funding deficits. With the growing size of philanthropic investments, estimated to be USD 364 billion from 2016 to 2030, there is a key role that can be played in bridging this gap. Beyond their funding capacity, philanthropic organizations also have a critical role to play in sharing technical expertise given their substantial contextual knowledge of the countries and communities the SDGs are looking to benefit. This is why it is more critical than ever for philanthropy and social investment actors to understand the emerging SDG ecosystem in the countries, such as Colombia, in which they already work and how to engage, influence and benefit from coordination around the SDGs. Such an understanding will allow for greater collaboration with governments and other relevant actors, and multi-stakeholder alignment aiming to achieve similar and/or complementary goals.

The armed conflict has been stronger in those regions of Colombia with weak institutional presence, from both private and public actors. Philanthropy must play a critical role in addressing and helping to close those gaps. In the case of the private sector, corporate foundations will be critical in preparing territories and engaging with key stakeholders, to make the presence of private capital a positive factor in terms of development outcomes. In the case of the public sector, philanthropy’s support will help build critical capacity, as well as convene and facilitate planning processes that require multi-stakeholder engagement.


In this light, the SDG Philanthropy Platform developed a new handbook, “Philanthropy Ecosystem in Colombia 101: Investing Sustainably in the Development and Peace Agendas: A Handbook for Philanthropists and Other Social Investors,” which has been designed to guide philanthropic and other social investment organizations and individuals to engage in delivering sustainable development in Colombia. This guide illustrates the stakeholders, policies, and avenues of participation in the process that were required to set up the SDG roadmap and the peace process in Colombia. It has been developed by the SDG Philanthropy Platform Colombia, and UNDP Colombia.