The following was originally published on the United Nations Development Programme website on 2 October 2013. The original article can be found here.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were at the heart of discussions on 27 September, as various stakeholders met at the Ford Foundation in New York to discuss how philanthropies and their civil society partners can contribute to the future development agenda, to be renewed in 2015.
The event – organised by the Ford Foundation, the European Foundation Centre, the Rockefeller Foundation, UNDP, WINGS and OECD netFWD – focused on accountability and innovation, and how these organisations can work together to have a greater impact.
“You can't have civil societies without a strong ecosystem of civil society actors,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, who urged participants to keep the ideal of social justice at center stage.
In shaping the next post 2015 development agenda, UNDP stressed the importance of connecting the UN with people and changing the way multilateralism is done. The organisation also encouraged grant makers to share MDG-related lessons with governments around the world.
The Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN, Csaba Korosi, called for a greater involvement of the scientific community to "provoke, motivate, inspire and advise". He reminded that the new development framework should consider socioeconomic and environmental issues, while keeping in mind the most important thought: to benefit our communities.
Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ) advocated for better access to health care, based on geography and demography, while the Mayor of Cali in Colombia, Rodrigo Guerrero Velasco, stressed the role of education in the new agenda.
The African Grantmakers Network (AGN) reiterated the need to recognize the role of women and girls in development, as targets can never be achieved by marginalizing 50% of the human race. Philanthropy needs to utilize regional networks and organisations as well as include the voices and needs of indigenous peoples in collective efforts that support development, according to AGN.
"Philanthropies can work better not just by listening, but by actually hearing,” said Theo Sowa, Chair of the African Grant makers Network and CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund. “New technologies aren't enough. We need to reach far deeper".