On 4 May 2021, within the framework of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and as part of the Civil Society Program Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) led a panel discussion - Advancing the Progress toward Achieving the SDGs Post-Covid-19.
During the session, participants discussed the experiences of Georgia and Armenia in institutionalizing and localizing SDGs, with the emphasis on the importance of adopting a participatory approach in the process. The panelists also shared their reflections on the effects of the current COVID-19 Pandemic on the process of achieving the SDGs and the national levels.
Institutionalization of SDGs, designating a responsible governmental entity with the overall mandate of overseeing the process of SDGs implementation and designing approaches to ensuring systematic participation of CSOs, as well as the wider society in the process, is crucial for achieving SDGs. Without strong institutions with the overall mandate of overseeing the process and individual state entities responsible for achieving particular goals, implementation of SDGs would not be possible. The topic of the panel discussion directly related to ADB’s Operational Priority 6 - Strengthening governance and institutional capacity, as participants discussed the process of institutionalizing SDGs, the mandates and resources of relevant state institutions and needs for further development.
The topic of adopting a participatory approach in the process of SDGs implementation was one of the main cornerstones of the discussion. The panel discussion supported dialogue between the governmental and non-governmental actors and identified new areas for future cooperation. Thus the panel discussion complemented ADB’s Operational Priority 7 - Fostering regional cooperation and integration.
The panel discussion was moderated by the Executive Director of IDFI – Giorgi Kldiashvili and five speakers were participating in the session. Two speakers represented Georgia, while two others shared the experience of Armenia. The first speaker – Natia Tsikaradze, the National Coordinator of SDGs represented the Government of Georgia and introduced the attendees to the progress and road towards achieving SDGs in Georgia. The second speaker from Georgia – Nino Merebashvili represented IDFI and discussed the practice of collaboration between CSOs and the government for the common good of achieving SDGs. Nino also shared her views on the existing challenges in regards to institutionalization and implementation of SDGs.
Next attendees got acquainted with the experience of Armenia. Elen Sahradyan from SDG Innovation Lab of Armenia, shared the unique experience of Armenia, from the lenses of the SDG Innovation Lab. Elen talked about the activities of the lab in the directions of use of big data and development of real-time data repositories, SDG Monitor platform, research and recommendations for public policy innovation and non-traditional financing mechanisms for development. Heghine Manasyan, from Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) Armenia on the other hand shared the perspective of CSOs towards Agenda 2030 and SDGs in Armenia. She discussed the institutional setup of SDGs in Armenia and the existing challenges in the directions of CSOs’ participation in the process.
Director-General of Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department of ADB Bruno Carrasco shared with the attendees the perspective of ADB in regards to SDGs after the Covid-19 Crises. He discussed the effects of the pandemic on the growth and development, the challenges of financing for SDGs, practical examples of ADB’s commitments towards achieving SDGs, the importance of CSOs for implementing SDGs and the work of ADB’s with CSOs aimed at addressing the current challenges.
The presentation and speeches were followed by Q/A and a discussion session. Participants received questions from the audience and deliberated on such topics as the overall stage of SDGs implementation in Georgia and Armenia, the plans of ADB for supporting CSOs post Covid-19 and the perspectives of future cooperation.
IDFI would like to express its gratitude towards all of the honourable speakers and attendees of the event. Special thanks to ADB, NGO and Civil Society Center and the team of ADB who supported us at every stage of the process and enabled us to deliver an informative session.
Please find the visual recap of the session by Tofu Creatives below:
Please see the full video of the discussion here.
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