Hanna Tuoriniemi, HAF Volunteer and University of Michigan Student
On February 2, I attended the 2022 ECOSOC Partnership Forum on behalf of the High Atlas Foundation, along with HAF President Yossef Ben-Meir. The theme was “Building Back Better from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) While Advancing the Full Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” and it covered a variety of strategies for achieving this goal. These strategies include an emphasis on collaboration through partnerships, an increase in multilateralism, a better understanding of the importance of multi-stakeholders, and a priority in ensuring that everyone’s voice can be heard.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the aggressive goals in the 2030 Agenda even more difficult to achieve. However, the common theme throughout the forum was that if there is effective collaboration between all stakeholders, whether it be through the United Nations, businesses, non-profit foundations, or academia, sustainable change is possible. It is important to understand that every stakeholder is part of the journey to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
One goal that the ECOSOC Partnership Forum highlighted is the importance of bridging the digitalization gap. During the event “Bridging the Gap: Addressing the Vacuum in Multilateral Governance of Digital Technology to Close the Digital Divide and Support Efforts to Leave No One Behind,” Ms. Wardarina, Dr. Clovis Freire, Ms. Soledad Vogliano, Mr. Parminder Jeet Sing, and Ms. Ruth Hancock discussed what is causing the digitalization gap and potential solutions for it. The issue with digitalization is that the technological wave hits developing countries in bits. Because this industry develops so rapidly, it is hard for developing countries to catch up. This part of the forum highlighted potential solutions for this divide. The experts suggested that the world should strive to make technological changes more inclusive and increase the responsiveness of multilateralism in the technological sphere. Multilateralism has the potential to increase digital equality and ensure that everyone has proper access to the digital world.
More ideas were discussed during a second event,“Building Back Better from the Bottom Up: Collaboration with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for SDG Implementation”, which featured experts Ms. Akustina Morni, Dr. Farid Hegazy, Ms. Patricia Veringa-Gieskes, and Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were hit hard by the pandemic, specifically those that are women-operated. In order to help SMEs increase their resilience, the government must be supportive. There must be a place for SMEs to be able to voice their struggles and have solutions readily available for them. One way in which governments can help SMEs is to lower the taxes imposed on them and to offer developmental services.
“Partnerships, UN Reform and a New Multilateralism to Build Forward Better,” another event hosted by Daniel Perell, Patti Londoño, Nudhara Yusuf, and Grant Cameron, discussed the importance of creating new solutions for increasing sustainable development. In order for these solutions to work, every entity must be involved and engaged. It is also important that everybody has a seat at the table in order to offer a diverse set of ideas and support better informed decision-making. This way, many solutions can be formulated from multiple perspectives.
During the event “Financing for the SDGs in the Era of COVID-19,” Mr. Navid Hanif, Mr. Adedeji Adeniran, H.E. Ms. Charlotta Schlyter, Ms. Romina Boarini, Ms. Harpinder Collacott, H.E. Mr. Walton Webson, and Ms. Aish Machani discussed the importance of developing a framework to meet the 2030 Agenda after COVID-19 proved to be a major setback. This is especially the case in smaller countries where there is greater dependence on imports. The speakers noted that in order to overcome this obstacle, debt relief will be a critical factor and structural reforms must also be made.
The High Atlas Foundation has been and will continue to be a driving force that will help the United Nations achieve the SDGs for the 2030 Agenda, as they are increasing sustainable development in the non-profit sector. For each tree that the foundation plants, they will help create a cleaner environment, craft more opportunities for women in Morocco, develop stronger inter-religious partnerships, and establish a bright future for the youth. The High Atlas Foundation will help to ensure that COVID-19 does not stop sustainable development.