Learnings From The SDG Transformation Forum


Learnings From The SDG Transformation ForumAdam Pickering, International Policy Manager at Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) represented WINGS at the SDG Transformation Forum, a side event of Transformations 2017 in Dundee, Scotland on the 2nd of September.

The purpose of the event was to bring a diverse range of experts from different fields to support collaborative action to attempt to identify and implement transformative changes that will enable us to deliver the SDGs. The initiative was born out of concern that the SDGs may become all about incremental change, rather than the transformative change needed on many fronts. Otherwise there is the risk that many governments, businesses and philanthropic funders will simply promise more of the same but with retrofitted justifications to fit in with the SDGs.

WINGS were asked to attend as a representative of the funder community and to join the “Ecosystem for financing SDG transformation” sub working group. The group was able to identify three key “game changing” developments that must be taken advantage of:

  1. Growth of Southern/Development countries’ middle class:

Expansion of middle classes present new opportunities for cultivating transformation finance.

  1. New technologies:

The role of fintech and innovations like crowdsourcing are driven by new physical technologies; they may or may not have positive impact.

  1. High net worth individuals:

Since the turn of the millennium in particular, there is tremendous growth in the number of ultra-rich.

Stemming from this, the group identified a broad range of recommendations that show how efforts can be taken forward in this area. The recommendations included:

  1. Undertake a review of reports and research into the potential of approaches and technologies which might revolutionize how we fund the SDGs.
  2. Create case studies of examples of interventions and approaches which proved to be transformative and attempt to identify lessons for all funders that might be transferable.
  3. Mapping of initiatives/efforts to develop the transformation system (social network analysis, value network analysis, asset maps, heat maps)
  1. Creating “sandboxes” to experiment with new and risky approaches
  2. Hosting discussion groups and pre-emptive consortia around particular challenges to ensure readiness for collective bids when funds are made available


The SDGs represent a real opportunity that the world can’t afford to miss. With these proposals we have some extra impetus to help us reach our goal.

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