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03 November 2015
Experts speak on Local and Global Applicability of the Global Goals

On October 27, UNA-NCA convened a panel discussion organized by its Sustainable Development Goals Task Force on the UN’s recently adopted Global Goals for Sustainable Development and their implementation at the local and global levels.

Over 60 guests gathered at the George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC, to hear six expert panelists, led by keynote speaker Mr. Tony Pipa, Special Coordinator for the post-2015 Development Agenda at the U.S. State Department. The panel was moderated by Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens (ret.), Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the UN Foundation.

Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (ret.), President of UNA-NCA, introduced the program and spoke on the successful consensus building by all nations for the Global Goals. UNA-NCA has made it a program priority to engage more people in the National Capital Area in the newly adopted development agenda and to participate in its implementation.
IMG_4371Mr. Pipa began his remarks by providing personal insight on his experience as the US lead in the Global Goals negotiations. He described the talks as transparent and comprehensive, with active involvement from the civil society. Overall, Mr. Pipa found the Global Goals adoption process, and the local and global applicability of the Goals, inspiring. Mr. Pipa then spoke on the heightened need for proper data analysis and agreed standards for monitoring goal achievement, noting the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will have prime responsibility to gather and track US data on the Goals and progress. He emphasized creating innovative partnerships, and underscored the importance of achieving reaching a political consensus on comprehensive objectives that target issues of poverty, sustainability, and peace. Speaking on the new Global Goals commitment to ending extreme poverty and hunger over the next 15 years, he cited a few examples of long-term planning in the U.S. including ONE New York City, a 15 year plan similar to the Global Goals; and the 100 Resilient Cities program, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation. He concluded that the Global Goals reflect core American values of freedom, human rights, and equality. Read Tony Pipa's remarks (pdf.) and watch Mr. Pipa's and Ambassador Donald Bliss' (ret.) speeches.

IMG_4375Ambassador Cousens presented the panelists with a series of questions with a primary focus on how they viewed implementation of the Global Goals and their application in their respective sector or organization. Watch Ambassador Cousens discuss the Global Goals with Mr. Pipa. Dr. Mary Futrell (Dean Emeritus and Professor, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, GWU) spoke passionately on Global Goal 4 on Education and expanding education funding for poor and minority children living in neglected districts across America. She emphasized the need for higher education quality, properly trained teachers, higher wages, and a unified approach to the unique challenges facing children today. Read Dr. Futrell's full remarks (.pdf)Ms. Asma Lateef (Director, Bread for World) spoke on the dramatic progress worldwide against hunger and the ongoing efforts to speed up this progress in the US. She stressed that 48 million people live today in food insecurity, malnutrition, and micro-nutrition, and highlighted role the US plays in that struggle. Dr. Patricia Morris (President, Women Thrive Worldwide) spoke on how the new Goals define the needs and objectives to address the root causes of key global ills, including critical issues of equity for women and girls.  The process of arriving at the Goals fostered a collective voice for women to reach out and help decision makers hear and heed their expectations for change. She also noted the need for a stronger focus on the means for financing concrete programs. Strategies for resilience and scale are key to preserving future gains and the gains already made under the MDGs.

Dr. Karen Byrnes (Manager, Global Giving Accounts and Business Development, TOMS) poke from a private sector viewpoint and underscored the Global Goals emphasis on quality control and data collection. She highlighted the need to monitor progress on the Goals, stating that monitoring is critical for private firms like TOMS. Firms need productive partnerships locally and globally and must see financial returns to justify their involvement. Ms. Jenny Russell (Director of Global Development Policy and Advocacy, Save the Children) emphasized US leadership and how early childhood education and health interventions can save millions of lives and provide children with proper opportunities for development and growth. Mr. Bruce McNamer (President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation for the National Capital Region) noted the difficulties of working with local governments and the challenges in avoiding costly trade-offs on a community level. He observed that excitement for the Global Goals might attract higher levels of engagement and investment locally. Watch the panelists' field questions on the Global Goals and discuss at length. 

Stephen F. Moseley (co-chair, Sustainable Development Goals Task Force, UNA-NCA) closed the forum by reminding the audience of their responsibility for the success of the Global Goals and how they can work with UNA-NCA on their future engagement with the Goals. Watch Stephen F. Moseley's closing remarks.

Thanks go to UNA-NCA’s keynote speaker, moderator, and panelists for their time and ideas, Mojo Factory Productions for videography services, and the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development for facilitating space at the Marvin Center.

Photos from this event may be viewed by visiting the Global Goals Forum photo album on Facebook. We in UNA-NCA look forward to deepening and broadening the dialogue on the Global Goals in the DC metropolitan area. Opportunities for engagement abound! Register for our upcoming events and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter: @unanca, #GlobalGoals, #Action2015 #GlobalGoalsNCA.