Since January, through my monthly podcast, A Deeper Look, I have engaged in candid, in-depth conversations with leaders on the frontlines of social change to explore what it will take to ensure that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) become a reality. We have examined specific sectors, such as health, education and gender, and have also tackled megatrends in development, such as technology and innovation.
Each one of the development leaders I’ve talked with so far has provided me with distinct views and fresh ideas on how to understand some of the most complex human development challenges facing the world today. Delving into the SDGs has been stimulating and fun and has produced a boatload of valuable insights. I’ve summarized 8 key takeaways below. You can join in by listening to the entire series on SoundCloud or iTunes and leaving a comment or sharing your thoughts through social media.
And there’s more to come! We’ll continue to take A Deeper Look at the SDGs through the end of this year.
1. To achieve the SDGS, we need to break down single-issue silos and take a more integrated approach.
This idea was a recurring theme with all of my guests. Listen to what Ayman Mhanna, Director of the Brussels-based Global Forum for Media Development, said about it. Listen here.
2. Transformational change is fundamental to achieving all of the SDGs, and this includes transforming systems.
3. Global partnerships are essential in mobilizing resources for the SDGs, but they ought to support, not drive, local implementation plans.
My conversation with Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, an eminent physician and CEO of Big Win Philanthropy, focused on health, but his insights on the role of global partnerships are relevant across all sectors. Listen here.
4. The SDGs are a roadmap, not a menu, and we will not meet the goals if we leave girls and women behind.
Katja Iverson, President and CEO of Women Deliver, a leading global organization advocating for girls and women, reminds us just how critical it is to look at all the SDGs through a gender lens. Listen here.
5. Technology is a powerful tool to achieve the SDGs, but we should not assume that it will always promote human development.
Alex Dehgan, CEO and Co-founder of Conservation X Labs, a start-up for tech conservation and development, believes it is important to think carefully about how we use technology. Listen here.
6. Some national governments may not be interested in the SDGs. But, it may be possible to engage them by discussing the practical problems the SDGs address.
George Ingram, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, explained how. Listen here.
7. Bringing development innovations to scale to achieve the SDGs will take more than good ideas. It will involve hard work and perspiration.
Yes, innovation has benefits. But, there are some misconceptions about how easily it can be used to achieve development goals, said Ann Mei Chang, a former Google engineer who served as the Chief Innovation Officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the first Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab. Listen here.
8. In the age of the SDGs, the United States will continue to be a leader in development, but it will need to approach development differently.
Dan Runde, director of the project on prosperity and development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, spoke about the changing face of development and aid. Listen here.
Listen to the full podcast below.