The world is now on the midway level within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Growth, and it has by no means been extra vital to speed up the transfer from pledges to progress. In reality, within the 2022 Sustainable Growth Targets (SDGs) Report, Secretary-Normal António Guterres cautioned that, with “cascading and interlinked international crises, the aspirations set out … are in jeopardy.” The SDG financing hole was estimated at $2.5 trillion earlier than Covid-19, with extra wants of $1 trillion for Covid-19 spending in growing nations.
As heads of state collect in New York for the 77th session of the UN Normal Meeting (UNGA) this week, they face a number of pressing international challenges. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Growth – set forth when the 17 objectives had been adopted by UN member states in 2015 – stays a cohesive roadmap for motion for the world. It establishes a typical view of the pressing must work collectively to enhance the wellbeing of everybody, in every single place, and maintain our planet for the longer term. It additionally places a highlight on the position know-how should play to create a extra equitable world.
The 2030 Agenda acknowledged know-how as a “technique of implementation” for the SDGs, together with international partnerships that convey collectively “governments, civil society, the non-public sector, the United Nations system and different actors.” The Report of the UN Secretary-Normal’s Excessive-Stage Panel on Digital Cooperation said: “Of the SDG’s 17 objectives and 169 targets, not a single one is indifferent from the implications and potential of digital know-how.” Know-how could be a optimistic power in remodeling our world and other people’s lives when it’s developed and utilized in trusted, accountable and inclusive methods.
Microsoft has been dedicated to the SDGs from the start and stays steadfast in our efforts to creating them a actuality. That is per our historical past of supporting and advancing the UN constitution consistent with our mission: to empower each particular person and each group on the planet to attain extra. We’ve got engaged with UN businesses to assist deal with just about each SDG purpose, together with our work on connectivity, digital inclusion and humanitarian crises, and our participation within the UN International Compact since 2006. Microsoft President Brad Smith reiterated the necessity for “partnering with governments, industries and civil society on the UN’s 17 SDGs” when he was appointed an SDG Advocate in 2021.
Our report Microsoft and the UN Sustainable Growth Targets shares examples of how digital know-how, innovation and partnerships are important to advancing the SDGs. For instance, we’re partnering with UNICEF to additional SDG 4 – “high quality schooling” – by way of The Studying Passport, a digital platform created to deal with challenges in accessing high quality schooling skilled by tens of millions of youngsters and youth in instances of disruptions, comparable to warfare, crises and displacement. It’s moveable schooling, accessible on-line, offline and on cellular units; the platform is now reside in 26 nations. To help SDG 8 – “respectable work and financial development” – Microsoft launched a digital skilling initiative in June 2020 to reduce the impression of Covid-19 on staff worldwide; by the top of 2021, 42 million individuals have gained essential digital expertise via the applications. We’ve got additionally made daring commitments on SDG 13 – “local weather motion” – together with engaged on the Carbon Name with ClimateWorks Basis, UNEP and greater than 20 different main organizations to deal with the reliability and interoperability of carbon accounting for the planet.
However we should do extra. Constructing on Microsoft’s 20-year historical past of working with the UN, a workforce was created in 2020 to deepen and develop the corporate’s dedication to the UN’s mission and its businesses, multilateral and regional establishments, growth banks, governments, native communities and stakeholders. I’m honored to have the chance to guide this workforce for Microsoft as Vice President of UN Affairs and Worldwide Organizations (UNIO). We intention to assist deal with ongoing international challenges and advance the SDGs via accountable growth, deployment and governance of digital know-how. This UNIO workforce will concentrate on enabling realization of the SDGs and inclusive financial development; encouraging evidence-based growth of coverage to facilitate digital transformation; and accelerating adoption of digital applied sciences in supporting the worldwide programs and their missions.
The dimensions and complexity of the challenges the world faces right this moment – pandemic restoration, meals safety and local weather change – mandate that the world comes collectively in a multilateral effort to leverage our respective insights and derive revolutionary options. All through my profession, I’ve engaged in multilateral work: from seeing Nelson Mandela, accompanied by Graca Machel, inform G7 finance ministers of the pressing must act to help growth in Africa in 2005, to my time as Dean of the Ambassadors on the OECD. I recognize the worth of multilateral processes – significantly when they’re knowledgeable by multistakeholder insights which might be pushed by proof and sensible expertise – and when they’re centered on inclusive and sustainable financial growth as clear outcomes.
Two points are central in our work to assist notice the SDGs: the essential significance of supporting progress within the least developed nations (LDCs), and the necessity to deal with points on the intersection of know-how and society.
The LDCs face unprecedented challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic: local weather change, international recession, rising power prices and meals insecurity. On the similar time, they should drive inclusive, resilient and sustainable restoration and development. Alongside the vital position of official growth help for LDCs, non-public sector funding shall be important for these nations. We’re stepping up our commitments to work with the UN to assist develop its non-public sector attain and to determine revolutionary options to essentially the most urgent issues with our co-chairing of the fifth UN Convention on LDCs Non-public Sector Discussion board in 2023. Within the leadup to the conferences in Doha, we have now labored with corporations throughout quite a lot of sectors to stipulate the primary challenges dealing with LDCs in connectivity, blended finance, skilling, multistakeholder partnerships and good governance, and supply suggestions on what is required to drive elevated non-public sector investments to additional progress within the SDGs. In shut partnership with Microsoft Tech for Social Affect colleagues, we’ll proceed to deepen our work on the empowerment of UN organizations for a fit-for-purpose use of know-how to resolve huge societal issues and advance the SDGs, whereas growing our concentrate on digital growth of LDCs.
Making certain that digital know-how could be a resilient basis for enabling the SDGs would require that essential points on the intersection of know-how and society are addressed. Business must work with governments, civil society, the technical group and different stakeholders in order that collectively, we will create a reliable digital basis that may result in inclusive financial alternative and shield elementary human rights – and allow a extra environmentally sustainable future. This is a vital enterprise for our workforce – providing the UN, worldwide organizations and governments a perspective on the position of digital know-how in realizing the SDGs, whereas serving to to allow coverage frameworks that can promote accountable growth and facilitate adoption of such applied sciences systemically.
For instance, Microsoft participated within the launch of the UN and World Financial institution’s Joint Name to Motion on the necessity for additional knowledge investments in April 2022. We highlighted the work of our knowledge scientists in addressing international challenges, together with mitigating the impression of the pandemic, fixing environmental challenges and supporting catastrophe responses and different humanitarian crises. We additionally shared classes from our open knowledge collaborations and finest practices to assist shut the “knowledge divide.” We are going to proceed to work with the UN and World Financial institution on their efforts to strengthen knowledge programs and to enhance the capabilities and insurance policies of nations and organizations globally to supply, share and eat high-quality knowledge responsibly, thus serving to governments to allow measurement and realization of the SDGs.
We all know that there’s a actual alternative for organizations and governments to make use of digital know-how responsibly to do extra with much less, and to make simpler and accountable use of scarce sources whereas constructing a extra resilient basis for the longer term. Microsoft appears ahead to contributing to Secretary-Normal Guterres’ “booster shot for the Sustainable Growth Targets” as talked about within the UN’s Our Frequent Agenda talks and dealing with the UN and different worldwide organizations to proceed constructing a resilient basis for realizing the SDGs and for persevering with the conclusion of pledges into progress.