CAF America Connections Blog

Latest from the UN: CAF America Participates in Global Development Week

September 27, 2016

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alwaleedSeptember is always a hectic time in New York City. The United Nation’s annual meeting of the General Assembly (GA) occurs every year in September and brings with it a whole host of international government officials, corporate executives, international organization employees, and of course, civil society members and philanthropists. This year, however, the massive gathering witnessed a new level of interest, excitement, and reflection.

Much of the news coverage of this event was related to Ban Ki-Moon’s final address to the GA when he recognized many of the crises of the past year. From the ongoing Syrian conflict to the worst refugee crisis since WWII, the Secretary General denounced government leaders who rejected the needs of their citizens and called on his own institution to do better in the face of multiple investigations and criticisms. But he also recognized that the most ambitious development agenda ever — the Sustainable Development Goals — and the Paris agreement on climate change are now central to international governance and development. The SDGs, as the CEO of Unilever said, “are nothing less than the cornerstone upon which we can eradicate poverty, tackle inequality and safeguard our environment […] Businesses must adapt or die. If they do, the SDGs offer the greatest economic opportunity of a lifetime. With an estimated investment of between $2 trillion and $3 trillion a year, the potential value that can be unlocked for society will be immense”.

This gathering is much more than the General Assembly meeting. Arguably, more is done on the perimeter of the UN headquarters than within its hallowed halls during these few weeks in September. CAF America is proud to be a part of two summits that coincided with the GA — the Concordia Summit and Convergence: Philanthropy and the SDGs, which was held at the Ford Foundation under the auspices of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. Concordia convenes the world’s most prominent business, government, and nonprofit leaders to enable effective partnerships for impact. With a heavy focus on solving some of the world’s biggest issues, such as the refugee crisis and achieving the SDGs, this year’s summit encouraged partnerships to tackle some of these daunting tasks. Convergence, on the other hand, explored reducing inequality, promoting quality education, impact investing in the SDGs, what the “universality” agenda means for SDG planning in the US and Europe, and what governments can do to create an enabling environment for the philanthropy sector and grantees.

As SDG #17 reminds us, partnerships are key to achieving global progress, and that has clearly been acknowledged this September. Innovative solutions to some of the world’s gravest threats are not manifested in isolation, nor are they able to succeed without buy-in from all parties and sectors. As always, we look forward to continuing our involvement in these important meetings and remain cautiously optimistic that next September might bring some better news.

Check out our Twitter page  to see our coverage of these two events!

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