Day 2: 15 March 2022
SESSION 3: Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG-3) & Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG-6)
Dr. Rana Hajjeh, Director, Programme Management, WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, Chair, referred to the impact of infectious diseases on global health, stressing the value of hygiene as a pillar of public health. Before introducing the panellists, she gave a brief update on the role of WHO and the link between SDGs 3 and 6. We are now moving into an endemic stage in which many of the other SDGs are related to the progress as clean water and sanitation as well as managing waste water are needed for good health.
Findings by monitoring child health between 2015 and 2019 show some improvement albeit slow and now stagnating, in child mortality, safe drinking water, vaccination and health service coverage. But some 250 million people in the region lack basic sanitation facilities, 62 million have no access to safe drinking water, and almost 42 million lack access to sanitary facilities. Basic sanitation must be extended as many people have suffered intolerable challenges. Partnerships with the private sector are key in achieving the SDGs in the region affected by conflicts. Progress is hampered by poor governance, fragmentation of health services, and limited data, in particular in humanitarian emergencies. WHO works closely with UNICEF on health facilities and schools and a monitoring programme for WASH sector, which must be integrated in development programmes. Environmental health is a key factor in overall health, while malaria and vector borne diseases are always having the greatest impact on the most vulnerable, and in Yemen cholera is now endemic but still major threat. (Attachment)
Mr. Patrick van der Loo, Regional President for Africa and the Middle East, Pfizer, addressed the role of private enterprise in achieving SDGs. The company focuses on breakthrough initiatives that change patients’ lives, and has been active in the Middle East for over 60 years. Challenges like COVID-19 need global solutions, and there is an unprecedented need for global cooperation with equitable access to vaccines to fight the pandemic; 2.9 billion vaccines have been supplied to over 170 countries and distribution is expanding. While doses administered to refugees were reimbursed, there is still a long way to go as vaccination rates are often still below 25 or even 10 percent. Campaigns to address some of the logistical challenges to get vaccines to rural populations see some success, but there is still considerable vaccine hesitation due to lack of information. Intellectual property is key for innovation and to shorten production time. Vaccines should be accessible to all in need independent from location or background, for which also local production is essential for faster roll-outs.
Promise of universal health care coverage and role of the private sector as a collective responsibility to accelerate progress for universal health coverage, e.g. innovative medicines and tailoring products to local conditions; early stage development work and clinical trials; tackling affordability and access heads on challenge; exploring new models e.g. paying for special medicines over time. Data is needed to know the shortfalls and a policy debate with a full range of stakeholders.
A last mile challenge remains to get vaccines to all populations in Africa when access is lacking, e.g. delivery zip lines or solar power boats. Other areas of focus include trachoma treatment with longer term goals, and support to model clinics with global health innovation grants, for which partnerships between governments and the private sector are vital through leveraging local innovation and investing for growth. Where there is a will it is possible to advance at speed. (Attachment)
Ms Monica Ramos, UNICEF, focused on enhancing and accelerating partnerships and collaboration in the WASH-sector for which UNICEF is the global cluster coordinator with 86 partners and 31 countries with national coordination platforms. Since 2021 the growing needs are straining the humanitarian system, with 274 million needing humanitarian assistance and protection. The global humanitarian overview calls for USD 41 billion to cover the humanitarian needs of 183 million people, of which USD 2.1 billion for WASH. COVID has pushed some 20 million people further into poverty. The WASH cluster works in synergy with development actors. SDG 6 faces the challenge of a growing population not matched by an increase in services with 1/3 of them still lacking water, sanitation and health services. In MENA 48 million people lack water, 71 million lack sanitation. The challenge is also adequate waste management and safe water management services in health and education facilities. Progress must urgently be promoted and sustained investment is needed through collaboration. It is imperative to optimise localisation, innovative partnerships, collaboration and needs prioritisation. See washcluster.net for regular updates. (Attachment)
Dr. Nada Malou, Antibiogo Clinical Lead, MSF, stressed the need to focus on microbiological diagnostic tools. SDGs are closely linked to Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) which is one of the biggest current challenges for public health, leading to 700,000 deaths in 2020 and 1.5 million deaths attributable to bacterial resistance. In 2016 it was estimated that if no action would be taken, ten million deaths would be attributable to AMR by 2050, and this was before COVID that exacerbated AMR also due to misuse of antibiotics. She pointed at the direct impact on livestock which could be reduced by 7% if AMR is not contained, while another 24 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by 2030. Adequate water and sanitation can reduce AMR by almost 60%, for which access to diagnostic is essential, but 47% do not yet have access to tests. One million deaths could be avoided when population is isolated on the basis of test results. Progress has been made through implementation of NAP in the region and action to microbiology, but quality and distribution of data is still lacking in the Middle East where more than half of patients are infected by unresponsive bacteria.
The link of AMR with a number of SDGs, i.e. Goal 2 – zero hunger, Goal 8 – decent work and economic growth – is clear as are the barriers to progress. The lack of health workforce to interpret tests has resulted in the Antibiogo project with clinical biologists at all levels, requiring collaboration with other sectors including academic, private and other health multidisciplinary within health sectors in hospitals and work on coordination between different sectors to tackle AMR. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the crucial role of diagnostics and tracking AMR in health care. Progress has been slow but change may become faster with better access to diagnostics for global health coverage, AMR and global health security. The technological development is improving the tools and political will may have grown, of which the smartphone-based App Antibiogo -free and accessible to all – allows reading and interpretation of antibiogram tests. (Attachment)
Comments from the floor:
What is the perspective of future health care and learning from the pandemic?
What is the role of gender in WASH?
What are the views on the patent waiver debate?
In Iraq rebuilding needs help as safe water and basic health care are lacking.
How to further engage civil society in reaching out to rural communities and vulnerable areas as seen in the pandemic?
KEYNOTE ADDRESS “Leading into the Future: the role of Co-Creation and Collaboration in a Fractured World”
H.E. Mr. Panos Moumtzis, Executive Director, Global Executive Leadership Initiative (GELI), expressed his concern that all trust built in 30 years has been crashed as the use of force against a sovereign state underlines the relevance and need for the UN charter. Protection of civilians in the conduct of hostilities in Ukraine is not respected. All parties must respect International Humanitarian Law. The world is generously showing global solidarity. Hope has to be kept alive but the change is irreversible and the world will never be the same. But how to solve the problems of today, why still fixing today’s problems with yesterday’s tools. We must not forget multiple other crises as our systems are heavy in bureaucratic processes and strong partnerships are needed and must be about people we serve at the centre of our actions. Effective leadership plays a key role in addressing all situations.
Global Executive Leadership Initiative (GELI) focuses on investing in leadership development which shows the need to work across sectors and not work in silos. Leaders in the development sector face today unprecedented complexity. Leadership style has moved from a one-person style to collaboration. To work better together and make the whole better than its parts, we need to be innovative in a rapidly moving world. Leadership can also be a lonely place, but sharing challenges and co-creation are the only way forward by broadening circles of collaboration and active engagement of the private sector. The world is now further away from achieving the SDGs than two years ago due to the negative impact from the COVID pandemic. We need to refocus and redouble our efforts for change, as the world’s prosperity depends on new approaches. Tools are needed to deal with unexpected and developing strategies to influence mindsets, and collaboration and co-creation are the most important tools to achieve Agenda 2030 to be more courageous and innovative. There is no alternative and no time to waste. (Attachment)
SESSION 4: Economic Growth and Decent Work for All (SDG-8) and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG-9)
Mr. Yannick Du Pont, CEO, SPARK, Chair, in opening the session reiterated that the pandemic has hardest hit the underdeveloped economies and that the question how digital and new technologies as well as partnerships can help to improve the situation is a critical and urgent topic. SPARK has so far worked in about 15 most fragile states to empower youth to start or grow their business or jobs, in particular SMEs and local businesses as well as digital education and work. Research on COVID found that 78% of supported companies expected destruction, which also happened. Vulnerable youth and refugees pay a high price when crisis hits, but e-commerce was growing by 20% a year and many ways were found to be educated or do business online. Some new partnerships are successful, matching IT staff with demand, particular women. There are also opportunities for digital education, although it is not yet accessible for refugees, but training for job market is a tool as a lesson learned. It has also provided an opportunity to give localisation a push and increased reliance on local partners and local refugee organisations. He stressed the need to be very vigilant to make digitalisation work.
Mr. Marco Albertini, ICRC, focused on access to technology for building or protecting infrastructures for delivery of essential services in conflict settings, a subject which is linked mainly to SDG 9 but also to the possibility of economic growth. Hospitals, water supply, waste water treatment and school water supply are particularly vulnerable. Protection of infrastructure for central services is contemplated in International Humanitarian Law.
To limit disruption of services as much as possible, ICRC looks for off-grid service-delivery solutions such as solar power and hybrid energy to allow isolated communities to continue local health and school services or support their livelihood initiatives.
to build off-grid service-delivery solutions for communities that are cut off from centralized services to allow them continuing running local health posts and schools or support livelihood initiatives at any time.
The humanitarian sector, academia and the private sector are coming closer together to adapt products and services to specific requirements of fragile humanitarian settings to make technology for basic services also accessible to future presence of supplying companies. ICRC does not only focus on transfer of knowledge but also on maintaining capacity and regional knowledge hubs for power and water supply. This is currently ongoing in Kenya and will be established in the UAE for the Middle East and Asia. These centres can also be a touch point for companies to showcase and test their products and will also be open to technical teams of countries in which ICRC operates. He stressed that addressing long term needs of individuals, communities and societies requires cross sector cooperation. (Attachment)
Ms Alessandra Casazza, Resilience Hub Manager, UNDP, Nairobi, shared some thoughts on how the SDG better, intersection between humanitarian and development work, nexus and resilience building in Sub-Saharan Africa. UNDP also looks at SDGs as a whole as they are in crisis in Africa. Recent analysis has shown that humanitarian development has gone back to the 1980s, so there is a need to accelerate pace towards 2030. Although the overall impact of the pandemic in Africa is less destructive, the socio-economic impact is very severe, including on food security. The area is also hit by multiple and interlinked crises of locust, conflict, floods and drought, leading to conflict over access to resources. Signals from these crises such as in Madagascar show that SDGs are not shock proof and need to become more sustainable. Some crises have become chronic and require far more investment in resilience building and operationalise the NEXUS.
Accelerators to invest in sustainable development are the focus of SDG 8, such as green growth away from carbon-intense to carbon-free energy by support to SMEs and women and youth, investing in green and blue value chains; and social protection systems and safety nets to capture poorest and most vulnerable informal workers representing 55% of the economy. While new technologies have transformed the way in which we live and study, the question arises how to do development in a different way and to leapfrog from 2nd to 4th industrial revolution, and create and lead such a revolution. It also raises the question what kind of governance system must be put in place to ensure technologies are adapted to the changing needs. (Attachment requested)
Ms Roula Al Mourad, President AFAQ, Lebanon, pointed at the low ranking of Lebanon as 185th out of 209 in the human development index, and other low rankings with 80% increase in poverty rate. Fragmentation in main bridges, roads of death, rivers of waste, energy and communications became worse affected sectors as also the banking sector. Only means of support is civil society. AFAQ was established in 2006 with focus on rural northern Lebanon with the aim to promote education, health and social programmes, empowering women and youth to play a leadership role as is necessary for development. On SDG 8 it works on creation of jobs for digital development and modern technologies with job opportunities, replacing road signs in rural areas with QR codes, Google drive of documents to allow access and to reduce use of paper, to reduce segregation of beneficiaries. To overcome the access problem for online education in rural areas in view of lack of sufficient devices, AFAQ distributed internet packages and phones, and gave training courses on new technologies and use of social media platforms.
Its goal is to create a platform with data, and develop a multi-channel fund raising strategy. In order to help youth in job securing job opportunities need to be created for youth in rural areas, also for rural women and work as partners on common policies for the future. Integration of technology for rural agriculture and need for constant follow-up of projects under sustainable development. Success will be defined when communities become self-sufficient in their needs.
Comments from the floor:
How will the future be for refugees with regard to work permits and engaging with private partners?
Is there any initiative using AI to predict crises and ease the flow of refugees or IDPs and their process of movement?
How to prevent prohibited destruction of life-saving facilities?
How to ensure local responders are included when looking at localisation?
How should an international organisation work in a country with a greatly corrupt or dysfunctional government?
If one dollar saves three dollar in humanitarian funding, how can NGOs and corporations cooperate on exchanging data and covering the informal sector?
Presentation DIHAD initiatives: The DIHAD Foundation was established to celebrate the outstanding past of DIHAD as a global platform to help humanity without any form of discrimination. Its focus includes education and humanitarian initiatives, creating job opportunities, giving food, health care and to help the economy.
A video showed also Waterfalls at the Ministry of Possibilities and INDEX FOREVERCARE initiative providing free supplies to needy populations.
The initiatives include open education for highest quality of patient care, and an International Humanitarian MA programme at the University of Murcia, and preservation of humanitarian ideas through the DIHAD Glasshouse project, a partnership to ensure productivity and programme as a sustainable incubator project with 30 initiatives over the next ten years. (ICHS Introduction)
KEYNOTE ADDRESS “SDG 17: A Hand-Holding Approach to Partnerships for Sustainable Development: “The Aisha Buhari Foundation Experience”
H.E. Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria; President, African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM), considered SDG 17 extremely appropriate as challenges to post-COVID-19 and Ukraine need to use the interdependence more to address projects for women and children, women and youth empowerment, incl. clean drink water, and advocacy.
Challenges include access, monitoring and evaluation, and widespread conflicts. There is a need to adopt a paradigm shift in approaches, as partners are needed to achieve goals. Partnerships must be re-examined to achieve a truly community centre approach for humanitarian and development assistance, reflect on access to transportation and trust in humanitarian aid delivery. The “Future Assured” initiative also works to empower women in politics, because when a woman is empowered the world is empowered, and covers women from local to national level, and 40% at grassroots level. (Attachment Video)
“The impact of Partnerships on Selected SDGs in Africa”
Dr. Manal Mohammed Taryam, CEO Primary Health Care, Dubai Health Authority and CEO, Noor Dubai Foundation, elaborated what partnership in pursuit of the SDGs entails, in particular multiple partnerships and stakeholder engagement with the private sector to provide affordable services. The circle of partnerships and differences in cultures shows how far partnerships can be taken from informal to legal documentation. An ideal scenario is many stakeholders in one partnership with academia, UN, government, NGOs, private sector and civil society. The end result of multi-stakeholder partnerships in Africa is measured by collected data and Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports. These are reliable sources to understand the partnership and multi-stakeholder engagements and priorities to achieve plans and the latest report also showed the value of applications used by youth in particular. All target oriented partnerships are focused on the needs of the community.
UN DESA has compiled good practices of the SDGs using multi-stakeholder partnerships. Examples include Noor Dubai Foundation which specialises in prevention of blindness, in partnership with other NGOs on prevention and treatment. Katsina State Comprehensive Eye Care Program in Nigeria has been since 2019 supported by the African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM), with surgery, screening and treating students and teachers, equipping hospitals and primary health centres. Lastly, speaker referred to the Amhara Trachoma Control Program in Ethiopia supported by the Carter Centre has reduced trachoma by 29% since 2013. This way the nexus of several SDGs is supported, stressing the need for gender balance in access, training, equipment and supplies. (Attachment)
H.E. Dr. Saleh Hamad Al-Tuwaijri, Secretary-General, Arab Red Crescent Organisation (ARCO), focused on climate change as the challenge of the century with a reality being faced every day. With climate change happening faster and wider than scientists foresaw, there is a need to lobby for stronger actions from governments and prepare ourselves for huge relief needs from those affected. The Organisation is responsible to provide relief goods to those affected and raise awareness how to preserve the climate and planet as a whole. Despite talks and pledges, there has been no concrete action so far, mainly due to political positions. Greenhouse gas emissions and temperature raise will mean disappearance of islands and coastal areas, extreme weather with storms, droughts, floods and ice melting. There will no longer be a balance in the climate, while forests shrink and more forest fires occur. Nobody will be a winner against the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. So far the main progress is in raising awareness as it is not a matter whether but when disaster will happen. ARCO is involved in international conferences like COPs and advocates how to preserve environment and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Curative and preventive actions include also afforestation and preserving forests. Together with IFRC and 21 national societies, ARCO aims at planting by the end of the decade 500 million trees adapted to the profile of the countries in the Arab region, reducing burning fossil fuels and banning coal for energy which is responsible for 45% of pollution; building resilient low carbon cities and advocate for renewable energy. (Attachment)
SPECIAL SESSION: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)
Dr. Mukesh Kapila, Prof Emeritus, Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs, University of Manchester; Former Under Secretary-General IFRC, Chair, pointed out that partnerships are a new concept, doing good requires collective action. There are many examples in SDGs on partnering for good, as it is mostly a matter of technical debate to make strong and efficient partnerships. The human ego problem leads to competition rather than collaboration. Therefore, partnerships need rules and regulations. Partnerships for the bad are the most successful, e.g. crime, arms selling and human trafficking based on greed. Bad partnerships need to be exclusive by design as profit-sharing is only done by likeminded, but evil ones are even more exclusive. Latest technology is now used to melt target and distribute false information such as in the aggression of Russia in Ukraine.
Partnership to advance SDG 16 is a direct reverse of criminal and evil partnership, it is an arranged marriage between the three elements of peace, justice and strong institutions, clearly interrelated with a unifying vision and energy. Desperation for peace always out trumps justice, humanitarian aid is always too little and too late. Thus the question arises how to expect fragile countries to navigate SDG 16. In principle, all are working towards the same vision but it is often just a blanket to hide fundamental differences. Working together for the collective is good but in pursuit of SDG 16 it is difficult as the elements may be contradictory. Therefore, the Panel was invited to prove the value of partnership to promote SDG 16. (Attachment)
Ms. Aida Robbana, Head of Office, UN-HABITAT, Tunisia, stressed that human rights do not have a voluntary character, they are universal, and include the right to housing. SDG 11 aims for sustainable cities and communities, but the current situation shows a lack of respect for this goal of housing as a human right and adequate standard of living. The state of Arab cities has shown that 56 percent of the total population is urban, which is expected to reach 75 percent in 2050; 55.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with 26 million refugees and IDPs, facing water scarcity and urban damage due to wars as in Iraq and in Syria. The role of women in fragile and conflict contexts needs to be strengthened to sustain peace through empowerment and access to land and property rights. Women need to be part in peace negotiations and peacekeeping as they are more able to care for themselves and better protected from risks. Impediments for refugees and IDPs to rent housing must be removed. In this regard, SDG 16 indicates a number of actions in the region, also for recovery through local initiatives for development and empowerment of local communities and job opportunities. Cooperation through peaceful institutions, rehabilitation, gender focus and dignity is needed to reach a better urban future. (Attachment)
Ms Ann Encontre, Director, the Ethics Office, UNHCR Geneva, reiterated that to reach SDG 16 non-discrimination and a rights-based approach is essential, meaning incorporating transparency, inclusive and rights-based societies, irrespective of age, socio-economic or religious background. A people-centred approach means to understand people’s problems and the right solutions to resolve them. Suggesting a people-centred approach to justice, she gave an example of a Burundi widow refugee in a camp in DRC who had 15 mouths to feed. With three other widows she set up a business which was successful in the short term but met resentment from the local host community, as it proved to be because their self-sufficiency was disliked by men. Elders consulted ruled in favour of the women. The example illustrates that a people-centred approach can also lead to sustainable solutions.
In Ethiopia, urban refugees have no access to the formal court system, and UNHCR found that 37% of women had legal problems but only half of these problems were resolved by lack of independence of village elders. The digital divide still exists and many people in low and middle income countries have no electricity and internet, or are blocked by their governments. Human rights do not happen in a vacuum but require the right to life, physical integrity, liberty, and security. To achieve SDG 16 by 2030, we need the space to speak up and be heard to tackle the barriers to an inclusive society. (Attachment)
Mr. Claus Sorensen, focused on the need for checks and balances, and accountability, and SDGs for all countries. Weakness of institutions also affects all countries, e.g. lack of protection against autocrats as in the current Ukraine crisis. Basic means must be given to do the job. He gave examples of problems caused by a lack of understanding of local priorities, such as in 2014 in South Sudan; the run-away deficit in Greece in 2008 condoned by the European Commission with a lack of true partnership and with inappropriate support; In Yugoslavia large aid package met with budgetary creativity and a seed for corruption leading to a large misappropriation. Denmark appears high on the corruption index, but the Panama papers show free exploitation of loopholes in taxation and large tax evasion. Russia’s administration and public services are often corrupt as are judges.
The total global cost of corruption and undermining civil society amounts to about 5% of global GDP. Institutions including elders need a core of check and balances for society to be organised in three pillars, i.e. a parliament representative its citizens, a capacity to build coalitions, an independent judiciary, and free press. (Attachment)
Ms Anne-Marie Buzatu, Vice-President and CoO, Ict4peace, Geneva, focused on the rule of law and justice, and challenges in the context of SDG 16. Focus on target 16.3 entails to promote the rule of law at national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all. For international communications technologies (ICT) this would mean how international law is applicable in ICT space. She noted the exponential increase in cybercrime, probably by 300% during the pandemic, including malware and the hacking of financial data. One of the key challenges is to identify private or state attackers, a dual criminal regime with those who are really good and those who are not and are likely to get caught. Difference between states on crime or not is challenging and affects diplomatic relations. There is a need for common standards for law online and cooperation between law enforcement bodies. The Budapest Convention of 2001 with 66 Member States and the second protocol of 2022 as well as the open-ended working group on responsible state behaviour in cyberspace, and multi stakeholder initiatives are such standard setters. Many state and non-state actors are working towards promoting for ICTs to be included in the SDGs to promote sustainable development, make institutions more accessible and effective, and improving the application of the rule of law. (Attachment)
Ms Alice Laugher, CEO, Committed to Good, stressed that civil society is not only about talking but mainly about action. The project focuses on South Sudan and Afghanistan with a different type of conflict, and the role of education in growth and development. The employment of 2,000 refugees in South Sudan (SDG 8) is linked to SDG 16 and the use of technology. With the Female First initiative CTG commits to Iimprove women’s access to job opportunities in fragile and conflict-affected countries. This includes career development workshops, women in aid internship, and women’s empowerment principles. The programme also works on prevention of conflict-related sexual violence and safeguarding and domestic abuse. A ripple effect is desired by training local staff such as the risk management team in In Afghanistan led by a female FSO. The private sector can accelerate the progress towards the SDGs, in particular in sanctioned and unstable countries where 1.8 billion people live, to work closely with the public sector, despite risks that can be mitigated by education and training, security procedures, vetting, employing local staff, and using local networks. (Attachment)
The Chair drew some questions from the presentations, such as what are constraints in advancing human rights in this region? Should service providers be as courageous as the people they serve? Is censuring of cyberspace better than freedom?
Comments from the floor:
Does the determinant for violence include lack of employment and impact from early years education?
How to address corruption and violence in the third world?
What are innovations in a changing environment?
How to improve locally led response?
Correlating humanitarian action with restrictive settings for access to services, e.g. health care?