Mobilising to Advance the SDGs – A Joint Event and Interactive Panel

On March 3, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens together with European Union Delegation in Vienna (Twitter: @euunvie), Joint SDG Fund (Twitter: @JointSDGFund), and The OPEC Fund for International Development (Twitter: @TheOPECFund) hosted a panel discussion on the successes and challenges of mobilising to advance the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.

The event was opened by His Excellency Ambassador Stephan Klement, EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to the International Organisations in Vienna. Followed by the warm welcome from Deputy Head of Representation of the European Commission in Austria, Wolfgang Bogensberger.

Co-chair Heinz Fischer delivered opening remarks before the panel discussion. Sharing his personal experience of his presidency of the Republic of Austria, he emphasised the importance of cooperation to achieve the SDGs.

Co-chair Heinz Fischer went on to talk about the previous Millenium Development Goals and how the Sustainable Development Goals developed, integrating lessons learned from the MDGs. Co-chair Heinz Fischer did not hesitate to also mention the difficulties when it comes to the implementation of the SDGs.

“Even if the the SDGs might not be entirely perfect, they are currently the best instrument to indicate the diverse situations of each country and stress that each country must do its share to achieve a world in which peace and prosperity is a given, leaving no one behind.”

In subsequence, the panel discussion, moderated by Ms. Mona Khalil, provided more detail on how international institutions mobilise to advance the SDGs. The speakers included

  • Ms. Katrin Harvey, Chief Operating Officer, Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens
  • Mr. Gautam Babbar, Chief of Strategic Planning and Interagency Affairs, United Nations
  • Mr. Walid Mehalaine, Head, Grants and Technical Assistance Unit, OPEC Fund

It became evident, that the organizations concentrate on strategically investing their efforts and resources in projects and programs that promise the biggest impact to advance the SDGs. Nevertheless, the speakers highlighted that the impact of any project remains minimal if the commitment of national governments towards the SDGs is limited. The annual 2.5 trillion USD funding gap that continues to exist needs to be tackled through multilateral partnerships if the SDGs are to be achieved by 2030.

In the Q&A session, following the panel discussion, the audience showed through interactive and dynamic engagement that the SDGs are a priority issue, not only for international organizations but also for academia, the private sector and civil society actors.

We thank our partners for the fruitful cooperation that made this event a success!