Small actions for big impact: Lessons from Canada

By Jacqueline Théoret, Executive Director, Strategic Communications, International Development Global Affairs Canada and Co-Chair of the OECD Development Communication Network (DevCom)

global-goals-logo-shareWe cannot hope to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and build the more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous — the better — world they envision without engaging people everywhere and inspiring them to take concrete action. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states that it is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But, so far “the people” do not seem to be aware of it.

In Canada, nearly 60% of people surveyed in 2017 knew nothing about the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. Worse still: 73% of the 19% of Canadians who said they were aware of the SDGs were unable to say anything at all about them. 1

Globally things are not much better: only 28-45% of people have heard of the SDGs, but that does not mean that they understand anything about them. Only about 1% of people in 24 countries say they know the SDGs “very well.” 2

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What youth need: A greater focus on job quality

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By Niall O’Higgins, Senior Research Specialist, Youth Employment Programme, International Labour Organisation (ILO)


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women-africaFor young people, successful entry into the world of work – that is, successful transition from education to employment – means more than simply finding a job. Successful transition occurs only when young people find decent work. What is actually meant by this has been the subject of much debate for a number of years; but its essence is encapsulated in the ILO’s notion of freely chosen and productive employment.

While it can be hard to define precisely what ‘decent work’ looks like, it is fairly clear what it is not. It is not informal employment. It is not work that provides insufficient income to meet basic needs. It does not involve excessive working time or any form of compulsion. Typically, it does involve some degree of job security, protection from arbitrary dismissal, access to social protection, such as health insurance and pension schemes, and freedom of association.
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Unpaid care and domestic work – a global challenge with local solutions

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By Clare Bishop, Senior Consultant for the OECD Policy Dialogue on Women’s Economic Empowerment


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OECD Global Forum on Development
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Unpaid care and domestic work
Women working in Mali.  Photo: Shutterstock.com

The pervasive issue of unpaid care and domestic work in the global fight against gender inequality presents itself in many different contexts and guises. Yet, the one constant thread is the impact of unpaid care and domestic work on time availability. The disproportionate workload borne by women –that hinders their full engagement as economic actors in paid employment, their participation in education and training, and their overall quality of life – is widely recognised. Solutions are diverse. They include technological ones to improve water supplies and save time and labour. They embrace policies and practical ways of providing childcare facilities and paternal leave. And they call for addressing cultural norms underlying the unequal gender division of labour for unpaid work.

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Who will end global poverty?

By Michael Sheldrick, Vice President of Global Policy and Government Affairs, Global Citizen 1

shutterstock_249974521For the second year in a row, the Trump Administration has proposed slashing U.S. development assistance programs by almost a third. Even though strong support on both sides of the U.S. Congress may prevent many – but not all – of these cuts becoming law, it is clear that the best hope for this period may be maintaining current levels of support. As the largest donor country, U.S. leadership on foreign aid is incredibly impactful. For example, based on our experience at Global Citizen, business leaders and policy makers announced 390 collective commitments in response to campaigns we either led or supported between 2012 and 2017. These commitments totaled more than USD 35 billion with nearly half of that, USD 15 billion, coming from just 5 countries, including the United States. And of the total number of new commitments, the United States makes up a nearly a quarter. In fact, the United States has been one of the largest contributors to many of the causes we champion, be it polio eradication, water and sanitation, or food aid.
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Reflections on scaling up financing for development

By Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee

Blended Finance Watering CanSpending last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos and today in the Private Finance for Sustainable Development conference, my head is spinning with financing for development issues.

Chairing the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), I often find myself reminding members to uphold their aid levels and to use their public finance resources to stimulate private capital for sustainable development.

It’s a balancing act. Governments risk being accused of shying away from commitments when we talk too much about the “innovative financing tools” and about involving the private sector for development outcomes. It is true that upholding aid levels and directing them to countries most in need will continue to be important to leave no one behind. However, OECD countries must continue to move from talking to taking action when it comes to stimulating private finance.

Why? Faced with an estimated USD 2-3 trillion annual funding gap for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, public or philanthropic capital will be able to meet only half of it; opportunities for the private sector, thus, are significant.

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Energy for the 2030 Agenda

By Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency

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Africa’s night sky could change dramatically if we achieve “energy for all” by 2030.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been ratified, and access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 is a target in its own right (SDG 7). Modern energy is central to achieving global development: it has never been a more important time to understand where the world stands on achieving this target, and to propose pragmatic strategies for achieving universal energy access.1

Achieving modern energy for all is within reach. The number of people without access to electricity fell below 1.1 billion in 2016, from 1.7 billion in 2000. We have undertaken an in-depth assessment of each country’s progress, finding some staggering successes. Half a billion people gained access to electricity in India alone, with government policies putting the country on track to universal access by the early 2020s, a tremendous achievement. Moreover, some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia, are on track to universal electricity access by 2030. However, progress overall has been uneven. Despite current efforts, over 670 million people will still be without electricity by 2030, 90% in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Bridging the green investment gap in Latin America: what role for national development finance institutions?

By Maria Netto, Lead Capital Markets and Financial Institutions Specialist, Inter-American Development Bank, and Naeeda Crishna Morgado, Policy Analyst – Green Growth and Investment, OECD              

Green-investmentThe developing world urgently needs more and better infrastructure. Affordable and accessible water supply systems, electricity grids, power plants and transport networks are critical to reducing poverty and ensuring economic growth. The way new infrastructure is built over the next 10 years will determine if we meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement objectives. Considering the long lifespan of most infrastructure projects, the decisions developing countries make about how they build infrastructure are critical: we can either lock-in carbon intensive and polluting forms of infrastructure, or ‘leap frog’ towards more sustainable pathways.

Many countries in Latin America are making this shift: thirty-two of them have committed to cut their emissions and improve the climate resilience of their economies, in infrastructure and other sectors, through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The cost is estimated at a staggering USD 80 billion per year over the next decade, roughly three times what these countries currently spend on climate-related activities. What is more, this is in addition to a wide investment gap for delivering development projects and infrastructure overall – the World Bank estimates that  countries in Latin America spend the least on infrastructure among developing regions in the world.
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