Blog: SDG Philanthropy Platform UNGA75 Events

Content Manager • 1 October 2020

    Alongside the 75th UN General Assembly, the SDGPP recently hosted two events - read our short write ups and watch the recording if you missed them below! 


Taking a Comprehensive Approach in Response to COVID-19 & Financing the SDGs

      As part of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, we hosted a panel discussion which included contributions from the UNDP, WINGS, CAF America and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Some of our highlights from the conversation included: 

    "We need to come together": COVID-19 has affected the world's most vulnerable people the most. With a crisis this deep, it is imperative that we come together now more than ever and in the possibility of new collaborative initiatives, philanthropy has a unique role to play. 

    "In every crisis is an opportunity": Philanthropy has a role to "lift up" equity and inclusion concerns, and we see the sector as not only stepping up to respond to the crisis but also in the cascading issues we see alongside, like racial and social justice. Philanthropy can help communities rebuild and recover, and ultimately become more resilient in the future. 

       We can see in evidence such as CAF's the SDG Giving Landscape report how giving towards the SDGs changed between January 2016 and April 2019, and who provided this support. As this report show how there are changed and evolutions in giving, so too during the pandemic has philanthropy shown its adaptability. If we want philanthropy to continue to evolve, and contend with the new challenges our society faces, the sector urgently needs an enabling environment in which to operate most effectively. Otherwise, it is unlikely philanthropy will ever reach its full potential to help solve complex issues. 

       "Philanthropy is not just an ATM machine": The philanthropic sector has more to offer than money, but we need new collaborations, a supportive ecosystem and a global data sharing infrastructure if we want a comprehensive and successful approach to respond to COVID-19 and the SDGs.

       "An enabling environment for philanthropy is imperative": Favorable regulations and cultural frameworks for philanthropy, as well as broader civil society, to operate within are necessary and urgent. At the same time, the sector needs to ensure that transparency and accountability are fundamental values underlying all strategies and practices. 

To hear this conversation in full, watch the recording here.


Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships to Achieve the SDGs

        Our second UNGA event brought together a panel with representatives from across sectors. Read some our favourite highlights from the exploration of the key question "what are the key lever and barriers to successful multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve the SDGs?" here: 

     "Each sector has superpowers": No one sector can deal with all of the issues that we have in front of us right now. Multi-stakeholder partnerships, at the moment, aren't working hard enough or smart enough to overcome the gap. But every actor has both unique values - their "superpowers" - as well as weaknesses. We need to think that multi-stakeholder partnerships not only amplify our strengths, but allow others to compensate for our weaknesses. 

     "No egos, logos or silos": We need to develop local philanthropy and build the philanthropic base in the Global South, shifting the emphasis away from North to South giving and ensuring a legacy of sustainable local giving. While pursuing these new philanthropic initiatives, partners need to remember to leave egos, logos and working in silos at the door. We must also remember those partners rarely mentioned in discussion such as these, like the media. 

     "Lost in translation": The work of most philanthropic organizations aligns with the SDGs already, but many do not use this language. The SDGs provide a common language and framework that has the potential to cross sectors and enable smoother partnerships with multiple stakeholders. By continuing to champion the SDGs as a common framework, we can accelerate new work and collaborations across sectors. 

    "We need to be in the trenches together": We must support local philanthropy and we also have to ask local civil society to grow in order to face the challenges we have. All of us need to think about our role - and philanthropy's role in helping other actors step up: How do we all need to grow?

To hear this conversation in full, watch the recording here.


The content was authored by Sophie Monaghan. 


Photo credit: UNDP Bangladesh


The views expressed in the blog and the report attached are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.