“The good news is that the 2030 Agenda is coming to life…and we are making progress…But let us be clear: we are far from where we need to be…That is why today,…I am issuing a global call for a decade of action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”


António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, 24 September 2019


With 10 years to go, we need bold, collaborative action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the internationally-agreed 2030 targets for people and planet. In his call to action, the UN Secretary-General argues for the mobilisation of partnerships “like never before”, with an appeal to “innovators and disruptors in the private sector to embrace new business models that match the demands of the 2030 Agenda”.


This is an opportunity for reflection on progress and impact to date, and to deepen the insights, relationships, and partnerships needed to accelerate delivery. Many of those in our community are actively engaged in collaborations, the most exciting of which are harnessing core business models, products, services and technologies to tackle pressing societal issues. An important frontier is the growth in multi-business collective action to drive system-level change.


At Business Fights Poverty, we have learnt that to be truly effective, collaboration needs to be purposeful. By this, we mean the importance of having clarity on why people are collaborating, who should be collaborating, what they should be delivering and by when. Importantly, how this is done should be based on agile and genuine co-creation. That is the essence of our three-step Challenge-based approach: convening the best people around a clear question, working with them to co-create solutions, and communicating the results. We have curated 30 Challenges on topics ranging from empowering women and supporting smallholder farmers to embedding purpose and driving corporate social innovation. 


We’re proud that 94% of people feel that they have made a valuable connection and that 94% have learnt something valuable through the work we do. Over 2020, we are stepping up our game. We’re launching two new flagship events: adding Business Fights Poverty DC 2020 (with the support of IFC and Visa) on 15 April and Business Fights Poverty London 2020 (with support from Credit Suisse) on 12 November, alongside our established events, Business Fights Poverty Oxford 2020 on 16 July and Business Fights Poverty NYC 2020 on 21 September. 


For us, these events are a means to an end – driving forward our year-round Challenge-based collaborations and identifying new opportunities for working together. Alongside inspiring plenary sessions, we will deep dive, with the help of our Content Partners, into topics such as women’s economic empowerment, impact measurement, enterprise development, future skills and the future of work, the social-environmental nexus, partnerships, embedding purpose and intrapreneurship.


One of our priorities for these events is that you come as yourself – with an openness to connect, share and learn. This is key to building the human relationships that sit at the heart of any change. In Washington DC on 15 April, in the margins of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings, we will come together as a community in a re-energised effort to drive collaboration in support of the Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. 


The events are invite-only, if you would like to apply for a ticket to the first event in the series, Business Fights Poverty DC 2020, please register your interest here.  I look forward to seeing you there.

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