Specialised Policy Dialogue on Private Sector Engagement through Development Co-operation

Click here to register for the events described below
Access the draft agenda for the Specialised Policy Dialogue here

Using development co-operation resources to engage the private sector in reaching the SDGs, and achieving the 2030 Agenda, is a global priority. To this end, development partners are establishing new financing instruments, and adapting their policies and approaches to create incentives and manage risks for effectively partnering with the private sector in development co-operation. As governments, civil society and the diverse private sector seize new opportunities to work together, there is also a need to ensure that public resources are used effectively to attract inclusive business solutions that generate shared value for business and society, including for those furthest behind.

The Specialised Policy Dialogue of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) will identify practical steps to accelerate progress towards more effective private sector engagement (PSE) through development co-operation. It brings businesses and investors together with senior policy makers and practitioners from governments, civil society, trade unions, parliaments and international organisations for a frank and open dialogue. The primary objective is to foster a common understanding of the practical challenges and opportunities faced when implementing PSE projects at the country level. The dialogue builds on emerging issue areas from country case studies covering over 900 PSE projects and from country and global level consultations, including an online survey. With this, the GPEDC aims to complement efforts by others on mobilising private finance for the SDGs by devising principles and guidelines for effective PSE through development co-operation, in line with the existing principles of effective development co-operation.

The Global Partnership will also host a closed meeting of its Business Leaders Caucus and a half-day learning workshop on private sector engagement in South-South and Triangular Co-operation (both in parallel on 16 January). This series of events will take place as part of the OECD Week on Private Finance for Sustainable Development,

Please register online to the GPEDC events as soon as possible. Space is very limited! Deadline for registration is 19 December 2018. Please follow these instructions for your registration.

More information on individual events:

El Salvador Explores More Effective Engagement of the Private Sector in Development Co-operation

On 18 October, more than 70 participants from national and sub-national government, development partners, the private sector, foundations, civil society and the national parliament met in San Salvador to discuss the findings and policy recommendations of the Global Partnership’s draft case study on effectively engaging the private sector through development co-operation in El Salvador. Apart from these domestic stakeholders, a small number of government representatives from neighbouring countries also attended the workshop to share their national experiences on effective engagement of the private sector.

The El Salvador case study, one of four currently being finalized by the GPEDC in partnership with national governments (in addition to), offers new insights on how development partners support private sector engagement at country level in practical terms, and discusses key concerns and effectiveness challenges that different stakeholders experience. In addition to discussing the study’s key findings, the workshop also considered how its recommendations could be refined and implemented.

HE Mr Carlos Castaneda stated that El Salvador has taken ‘leadership in terms of effectiveness and has launched a series of strategic actions to advance the achievement of the effectiveness principles’.

HE Mr Bernd Finke, the German Ambassador to El Salvador, emphasized the need to strive for a ‘triple-win situation’ in which private sector engagement serves the state’s development policy, the private sector itself, and above all, the people whose living conditions need to be improved. He further stated that this requires ‘an honest and transparent dialogue – both about the challenges and possibilities and about the expectations and responsibilities of all parties’.

Among the study’s key findings was the need to strengthen an effective and inclusive multi-stakeholder public-private dialogue across all sectors at the national level, increase attention for effective private sector engagement at the sub-regional level in the communities, and further engage micro, small and medium-sized companies that make up the large majority of the private sector in the country.

Findings from the study and workshop will feed into the Global Partnership’s workstream on private sector engagement and the ongoing inclusive consultations around the development of principles and guidelines for effective engagement of the private sector in development co-operation.

El Salvador has worked closely with the Global Partnership on several key initiatives. The country is one of nine where the implementation of effectiveness is being piloted at the country level. El Salvador has also actively monitored its progress on implementing the effectiveness principles by participating in the GPEDC’s 2016 as well as the current 2018 monitoring round. El Salvador is also an active member of the GPEDC’s key governing body – the Steering Committee, which meets next in late November 2018.

Click here to read the official press release by the Government of El Salvador and here for more information (in Spanish) on the GPEDC’s work on effective private sector engagement through development co-operation.

A summary of the event can be found online (English and Spanish).

Impact Investments & Private Sector for the SDGs: The Case of Australia

This blog is based on Episode 9 of the Good Will Hunters Podcast, with Giles Gunesekera, Director of the Global Impact Initiative.

I recently interviewed Giles Gunesekera, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Global Impact Initiative. The Initiative works with businesses to create bespoke impact investments, intended to generate a positive financial return as well as a positive social return. The investments are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, for several key reasons.

Much like a “to do” list for the world, the Sustainable Development Goals function as a set of unquestionably important objectives for the common future of humanity and the planet. Each of the Goals has a combination of quantitative and qualitative targets. The use of quantitative targets enables the SDGs to be written in a language which investors are familiar with. Identifying specific benchmarks of success, means that each of the SDGs can be measured objectively, accurately and observably. It is for this reason that the impact-investing strategies pioneered by the Global Impact Initiative are predicated on the SDG benchmarks.

Australia has been a slow adopter of the SDGs, however there has been an upsurge in momentum throughout the past year, particularly in the lead up to the recent High Level Political Forum held in New York. Australia was one of the 47 countries to conduct a Voluntary National Review into progress on the SDGs.

Impact investment, using capital for social good, has the potential to revolutionise Austrailia’s approach to achieving the SDGs. Australia has the fourth largest retirement savings market in the world, with close to $2.6 trillion AUD in superannuation. Gunesekera refers to this as “lazy capital” that is often not being invested in a way which aligns with the values of the investor. Capital such as this can be invested in organisations that are working towards achieving the SDGs, thus enabling a positive financial return alongside tangible and observable social progress.

During the 2017 UN General Assembly, the UN Global Compact discussed the emergence of case studies on how the SDGs should be institutionalized in businesses. The Global Compact, known as the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, encourages businesses globally to institutionalize the SDGs in their internal processes and frameworks. Impact investment provides an innovative means of doing this, by enabling companies to simultaneously focus on financial return and investment in the global goals.

Given that the majority of financial capital resides in the private sector, and not the charitable or philanthropic sectors, it is vital that businesses actualize the impact they can have on achieving the SDGs. The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation too believes that given the scale and scope of the SDGs, the private sector needs to be involved.

To this end, the Global Impact Initiative has launched an impact investment strategy focused on women and girls, the first of its kind globally. Naturally, the strategy aligns with SDG 5 on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls.

I wrote an article recently for the Lowy Institute Interpreter, on the increase in B-Corp Certification in Australia, particularly in the wake of the Royal Commission into financial services. Increasingly, businesses want to distinguish themselves, through independent certification, as being social and environmentally responsible. Impact investment in the SDGs presents another opportunity for businesses to continue with their core mandate of generating profit, whilst simultaneously considering the interests of non-financial stakeholders and being part of the global effort to achieve the world’s most important to-do list.

Whether through creative capitalism, the green economy, sustainable corporations or social business, there is no question that the private sector can, and does, have an unrivaled impact on the achievement of the SDGs.