Photo Zaimis Olmos / UNDP Project office in Dominica

New York, 24 September 2018 – Social innovation is crucial to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to high-level panelists at the United Nations General Assembly side event “Social Innovation – Accelerating the SDGs through purposeful Innovation”. The event, organized by the Government of Aruba, the Mission of the Netherlands to the UN and UNDP, gathered government representatives from the national and local levels, private sector participants and UNDP’ chiefs from other regions.

Prime Minister of Aruba Evelyn Wever-Croes highlighted the importance of bringing all of society together to achieve the SDGs through innovation and partnerships.  She thanked UNDP for its “Mainstreaming, Acceleration And Policy Support “ missions to accompany Aruba in its path to achieve the 2030 Agenda, with resilience being a key pillar of the country’s plan to achieve these Global Goals by 2030.

“The Sustainable Development Goals are crucial in a world in which we need to move beyond ideologies and into ideas that improve people’s lives while taking care of the planet,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva, highlighting the importance of boosting resilience as a means of supporting countries to absorb external shocks, including climate-related, without major setbacks in the economic, social and environmental fronts.

Repsol General Manager for Aruba Jorgen Estebanez Lazaro, shared several examples of how the company’s global partnership with UNDP is bearing fruits to help countries achieve the SDGs. In Bolivia, for example, the company is working with governments at the national and local levels to boost access to clean water, SDG 6. In Ecuador, the company is working with indigenous peoples and other partners in the Amazon forest to improve education and boost gender equality, SDGs 4 and 5.

From New York City, Alexis Wichowski, Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University, who also works at New York City’s municipality, shared how her team is supporting homeless veterans through innovation that not necessarily involves tech solutions.

“The only real digital aspect behind our approach is social media, which is crucial to disseminate policies and programmes,” she said. The programme supports at-home attention, care with innovative ways to assess and support veteran’s well-being, providing a more humane approach to mental health and expanding the veteran’s support network.”

During the event UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Moldova Stefan Liller also shared how UNDP is working with the private sector, civil society and governments at the national and local levels to boost innovation labs, with solutions that have supported health crisis such as a tuberculosis outbreak.

Watch the event here: https://www.facebook.com/pnudlac/videos/412219192640933/

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