In 2015, and as part of the United Nations General Assembly, world leaders approved the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met over a period of 15 years, with the aim of achieving a better world for everyone.
The 17 SDGs include the eradication of poverty and hunger, health and education for all, gender equality, taking action on climate change, and achieving peace.
Meeting them will require the efforts of many stakeholders and agencies, including the United Nations itself, and governments and local communities in each country.
In this context, the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) emerged as a cooperation mechanism to support development, created by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on behalf of the UN system, with an initial contribution from the Spanish government.
SDG-F Director, Paloma Durán, recently paid a working visit to Cuba, and offered an exclusive interview with Granma regarding the mechanism she leads.
A FUND TO IMPLEMENT THE 2030 AGENDA
Durán explained that the Fund she directs was created to implement the 2030 Agenda, taking into account three fundamental pillars; the comprehensiveness of programs that are carried out, that is to say, that their implementation be beneficial in several areas, be it in regards to food, agriculture, or health.
Secondly, national ownership - the 2030 Agenda must be applied in each municipality, province, and country according to their specific needs and priorities; and finally achieving the SDGs, of which the fundamental objective is the eradication of poverty and better living conditions for all.
In order to address these three pillars, Durán noted, a project is designed at the local level to help meet needs, and this is implemented by the local government and the United Nations.
Every six months countries and communities are asked for a report that reflects the objectives achieved through their project, the main beneficiaries and the impact of its implementation.
Regarding the distribution of resources, Durán explained that in order to facilitate meeting each community’s needs, partnerships are created by matching funds through outside sources.
That is, she continued, local or international partners match the Fund’s financial contribution to these joint programmes.
As the SDG-F director noted, these programmes are not only established in developing countries, as the 2030 Agenda is universal and also seeks to tackle inequalities in richer countries.
THE CUBAN EXPERIENCE
The project currently being implemented in Cuba thanks to the SDG-F is known as “Suma tu gota,” and aims to improve access to water, given the severe drought situation in Santiago de Cuba, in order to aid food security and nutrition.
As part of her visit to Cuba, Paloma Durán toured the eastern province of Santiago and spoke to us of her experience.
“Suma tu gota” is developing very well, it is benefiting the population, thanks to the ownership of the project by local communities, Durán noted.
As well as strengthening the water chain, the project includes a hydrometeorological early warning system to respond to future events.
To the extent that access to water is improved, there is an improvement in agriculture, food security, health, education, forming a virtuous circle in which joint efforts were made to achieve greater impact on the population. In this regard, Durán highlighted the work of social leaders.
She concluded by emphasizing the productive experience of “Suma tu gota,” noting that although the project will end in March of next year, it would be good to apply the same experience in other places also facing severe drought situations, such as in Africa.