Ambassador Faruk Kaymakcı
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director for EU Affairs of the Republic of Turkey
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the Member States of the United Nations in 2015 and set out an ambitious agenda until 2030. The SDGs address the grandest challenges facing humanity. The World Bank firmly states that the only way to achieve these comprehensive goals is to mobilize both public and private resources through partnerships. However, financial resources alone will not be sufficient to rise to the challenge. Governments need to tap into the dynamism and the capabilities of innovative entrepreneurs to come up with solutions using new technologies to tackle entrenched problems. To do that, vibrant ecosystems should be created to support an entrepreneurial and human-centred culture.
Turkey has a track record of exploring the ways in which effective development assistance can be delivered to the communities who need it most. To that end, we have developed new partnerships and launched innovative projects. United Nations Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Gebze, Turkey and SDG Impact Accelerator are the most recent examples of these projects. While the Technology Bank will develop capacity for technology transfer to the LDCs, the Accelerator will convene partners from across sectors and fields of expertise to prototype products and services for the most vulnerable groups in the world such as refugees. Turkey alone hosts over 4 million displaced people including 3.6 million Syrians and we believe our Accelerator can empower their entrepreneurship to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to tackle the challenges they face and fulfil their potentials.
Turkey will present its second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the High Level Political Forum in July 2019. Preparing for the VNR provides us with an opportunity to develop a comprehensive strategy for the implementation of the SDGs. The SDG Impact Accelerator will make significant contributions to this strategy by bringing various initiatives and stakeholders together in Turkey, namely UNDP’s SDG Accelerator Labs, UN Technology Bank for LDCs and Turkish private sector’s “Business for Goals” platform.
The SDG Impact Accelerator will create a unique enabling ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship that will attract even more initiatives and partners. The support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Limak Investment to the Accelerator is a clear indication of its potential. We will also work with partners such as UNDP’s SDG Impact and Turkey’s Development and Investment Bank to explore the feasibility of an impact investment ecosystem in Turkey for which the SDG Impact Accelerator will be a natural home.
We are at a crunch time in the process of SDG implementation and successful establishment of the SDG Impact Accelerator in 2019 is crucial in this regard. The feasibility study clearly demonstrates the novel approach and the significant added value proposed by the Accelerator to its current and potential partners as well as to the international community who wish to see SDGs achieved by 2030.
Mirjana Spoljaric Egger
Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more than anything acknowledged the complexity of our world and the need for more comprehensive development solutions. They cover a broad array of topics and require diverse actors to join hands and pool financial resources, knowledge and expertise.
UNDP is pushing the boundaries and testing solutions that lead to impact. Considering the US$ 30 trillion funding gap to achieve the SDGs across the world, new alliances are needed between governments, businesses, think tanks and NGOs, social impact investors and citizens.
As part of the ‘Next Generation UNDP’, we launched the world’s largest and fastest learning network of 60 Country Based Accelerator Labs around development challenges in an effort to re-imagine development for the 21st century. The purpose of the Network is to close the widening gap between the current practices of international development and accelerating challenges such as unprecedented rates of urbanization, changing climate, freedom of expression in an era of big data, unemployment and inequality in an age of artificial intelligence, just to name a few. Additionally, we have launched SDG Impact, an initiative that aims to identify clear areas where companies can generate value for shareholders and contribute to wider society at the same time and Project Catalyst meant to build capabilities for scanning the ‘tomorrow’s world’ in terms of development choices and policies that countries must address today.
With this in mind, we are cooperating with the Government of Turkey, which is taking on an increasing role in global development, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to design an SDG Impact Accelerator. This exciting new initiative will move beyond siloed, single-point solutions and apply systemic lens to finding innovative solutions to big challenges, such as integrating refugees or eliminating poverty and vulnerability among the Least Developed Countries.
This is an exemplary demonstration of how an emerging donor that happens to be one of the few countries exceeding the 0.7 percent target of ODA/GNI ratio can diversify and scale up its own contribution to the global development.
UNDP is pleased to be part of designing this SDG Impact Accelerator. We look forward to launching it to make a lasting contribution to sustainable development through an altogether different approach.
Managing Director Global Policy and Advocacy, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
In 2015 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out a vision to achieve a better and more sustainable world for all by 2030. The SDGs provide direction to ensure that the most vulnerable have equal access to healthcare, sanitation, nutrition, and other aspects of development. Many great advancements have been made in recent years, especially in reducing poverty and improving health. But the tools we have today are not sufficient to reach the world’s ambitious targets. To unlock the untapped potential for progress, we need to support ambitious innovators and changemakers around the world. That’s why the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched our Goalkeepers initiative in 2017 as a platform to highlight, empower and invest in young people and organizations that can accelerate the pace of change.
Our partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Turkey to establish an SDG Impact Accelerator aligns with this approach. There are many reasons to be excited about this initiative. Firstly, the Accelerator convenes diverse stakeholders, from donors to implementers. Secondly, Turkey’s strategic location and dynamic private sector provides fertile ground for ideas to have global impact. Finally, this initiative will have linkages to the UN Technology Bank, allowing the Accelerator to support innovators beyond initial funding and incubation.
I would like to express my appreciation to the UNDP and the Government of Turkey for inviting our Foundation to join this important initiative. We look forward to seeing this plan translated into real actions that can drive progress towards reaching the SDGs.
Chair, Limak Investments & Limak Foundation
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a framework for all of us to anchor our activities with a lens through which to translate global needs and ambitions into business solutions across the value chain. While the scale and ambition of the SDGs demand a major change on how development is perceived and accomplished, collaboration among various actors is vital to pursue the systems changes needed in society. In that perspective multi-stakeholder partnerships have the potential to raise the integration of sustainability on the agenda, which will lead to new business opportunities and enhanced competitiveness.
Obviously, the support of the private sector in meeting the goals is critical to achieving the SDGs, turning this vision into reality. However, attaining the SDGs and harnessing the full potential they represent is beyond the reach of any single company. There also needs to be a collaborative effort of the private sector in catalyzing for change.
From that perspective I strongly believe the SDG Impact Accelerator will offer the private sector and the participating companies a unique opportunity for developing innovative solutions with a significant business potential and impact on the SDGs. The work accomplished at the Impact Accelerator will be communicated effectively to inspire other companies of the private sector and make visible how the new global agenda for sustainable development can be operationalised in a business context, creating business benefits and impact on the SDGs.
We know the clock is ticking and it demands an ever-faster move from all the actors. On behalf of Limak Group, we are pleased to support the feasibility study for the SDG Impact Accelerator, which is an important first-outcome of the Project. The question before all of us now is to establish tangible actions that we can take collectively to make this future a reality.