What cities mean for partnerships and the Post-2015 global agenda

As we look beyond the 2015 deadline for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the sector continues to refine its priorities accordingly. There are many ways to look at how individuals and organisations can contribute, one of which considers the growing urban landscape. 

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image: city of São Paulo by kasxp

By Chris de la Torre

WINGS facilitates partnerships within the global network, encouraging members to take up shared issues so they can help advance the culture of giving through policy and practice. Collaboration matters, now more than ever. Partnerships are important to us, and we’ll be talking more about this in the coming months.

Next up is our webinar this Thursday 5th December with the EFC, Ford Foundation, OECD netFWD and UNDP that will look at how philanthropic organisations can promote the post-2015 agenda—we hope you’ll join us.

The Post-2015 Global Development Agenda is massive, and as we look beyond the 2015 deadline for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the sector continues to refine its priorities accordingly. A Special Policy Dialogue hosted by ECOSOC in April stressed the importance of partnerships—something Ford Foundation President Darren Walker alluded to in September when he said that “you can’t have civil societies without a strong ecosystem of civil society actors.” While our discussion this week will view the agenda more broadly, there are many ways to look at how individuals and organisations can contribute, one of which considers the growing urban landscape.

It’s projected that roughly two thirds of the global population will be living in cities by the year 2050, so many feel that an urban Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) would greatly benefit the Post-2015 agenda by focusing on what promises to be a major driver of global economic growth for many years to come. (The Rio+20 Conference prompted member States to agree on developing a set of SDGs that would build on the MDGs. You can learn more about those here.)

Cities mean a lot to us. They are symbols of opportunity and prosperity, they forge national identities and are rife with diversity, and at their best they foster innovation and cooperation, growing communities that work. Our main offices are located in São Paulo, Brazil, a city of 10+ million people, and many WINGS members are located in cities around the world. We’ve actually started a board on Pinterest that will share some of these, one of which is Istanbul, Turkey, home to Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV) and the location of the fifth WINGSForum (co-hosted by TUSEV and held from 27-29 March 2014). The theme of WINGSForum 2014 is The Power of Networks: Building connected global philanthropy. Situated as a cultural and commercial bridge between Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the city of Istanbul in many ways embodies this idea of connectivity.

Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals, says cities will help lead the way to sustainable development in this century, reminding us that an urban SDG would inspire an integrative approach to innovation—all sectors and disciplines working in concert toward a common goal:

Sustainable development offers a new concept for the world economy in the twenty-first century. Rather than focusing solely on income, sustainable development encourages cities, countries, and the world to focus simultaneously on three goals: economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability. … An urban SDG, promoting inclusive, productive, and resilient cities, would greatly empower tens of thousands of cities worldwide to take up the cause of sustainable development for their own citizens, their countries, and the world.

In addition to our new Pinterest boards, we also invite you to join us at a special forum online that tracks the broader conversation around the roles and contributions of organisations in advancing the global agenda, post-2015 and beyond. The power of networks and partnerships is central to the discussion.

How can we work together to make a better world? Register for the WINGS webinar, join us at the Post-2015 forum, and follow on Twitter with #post2015 and #phil2015.

Let’s build and grow together.

Chris de la Torre is the Managing Editor for WINGS. Our Knowledge Generation & Dissemination programme is committed to promoting data and information as powerful tools for the development of philanthropy worldwide.

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