Philanthropy-Government Partnerships for SDGs

Samuel Stalls • 6 August 2018

      The annual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2018) provides a platform for important government ministers to review progress and provide leadership for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

      As part of the 2018 Forum, SDG Philanthropy Platform (SDGPP) hosted an interactive roundtable discussion on the collaboration between philanthropy and government, providing a space for cross-pollination of innovative ideas to further its goal of connecting philanthropy with government action to disrupt cycles of poverty. Ghana’s Minister of Planning, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, gave the keynote address and was followed by a panel featuring officials from several important philanthropic foundations: Georgia Pessoa, the Executive Director of the Humanize Institute in Brazil, Isaac Kamande, the Director of Planning and Statistics from the Government of Kenya, Heather Grady, the Vice President of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and Isaac Ofosu Debrah, SDG Philanthropy Platform Coordinator in Ghana.

      Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister for Planning in Ghana, described how Ghana transformed its planning policies to cultivate an environment that enables productive collaboration among different sectors. This reinforced his earlier statements at the HLPF 2018 affirming the importance of the SDGs to Ghana’s own development agenda. The SDGs are not being implemented parallel to the priorities of the Ghanaian government, they are the priorities. He also emphasized how governments must not simply see philanthropic organizations as rich sources of finance, but as partners in achieving the SDGs, and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to assisting philanthropic organizations with actively investing in Ghana.


"Governments should view Philanthropy organizations not as funding sources but as partners.” - Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister for Planning, Government of Ghana.

      SDGPP Brazil participated in the conversation through Georgia Pessoa, Executive Director of the Humanize Institute which is a founding partner with SDGPP Brazil. Georgia considers these discussions vital for philanthropic networks, stating, "For Humanize, it is very important to participate in a debate about innovation in the philanthropic world, using the SDGs as a common language for sustainability and income generation, so attending the United Nations HLPF was a great opportunity to discuss, see other experiences and also talk about what we are doing in Brazil to try to bring other philanthropic institutions and other actors to the same viewpoint. While we have advanced a lot in the SDG agenda in the country, the challenges are enormous and therefore actions are still insufficient. It is inevitable and irreversible to use the SDGs as a unique narrative of convergence of efforts between philanthropies, civil society organizations, universities and the private sector so that we have a fair, equitable and sustainable country.”

      SDGPP Brazil was further represented by Heather Grady, the Vice President of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The panel discussion centred around both the sorts of networks and institutions most effective for foundations seeking to steer national funding priorities and how to create scalable impacts.

      Philanthropy-government collaboration requires innovative government policies and resilient philanthropic networks. Realization of the SDGs will in part, depend on these interactions and the 2018 HLPF gave an opportunity for the sharing of ideas and best practices in encouraging this collaboration and leveraging networks. It is also one-way SDGPP Brazil both learn from efforts in other parts of the world and is able to contribute from its own experience.


Heather Grady, Isaac Ofosu Debrah, and Georgia Pessoa
Heather Grady, Isaac Ofosu Debrah, and Georgia Pessoa