#NewHorizons with the Private Sector Advisory Group #PSAG.

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In order to align public-private partnerships for sustainable development, the SDG Fund established a Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG); a formation of business leaders of major companies from various industries worldwide, to build a roadmap for how public-private alliances can provide large-scale solutions for achieving the goals. The group aims to collaborate and identify areas of common interest and decipher the best methods of UN-Private Sector engagement, as well as offer suggestions for how to work more effectively with one another at country levels.

In this interview with the PSAG Secretariat, we will learn how the Private Sector approaches the SDGs in Nigeria:

  1. As the group enters its second year, what are some of the tangible achievements recorded so far?

The first 365 days have been full of interesting activities and new experiences for us at the PSAG. Some of the group’s achievements include:

  • Signing-on a two year tenure driven 15-man board of organisations considered to be industry leaders and more importantly, SDG Champions, leading interventions across the different SDGs within the private sector
  • Forming an alliance between the UNGC (Nigeria) and PSAG to collaborate on mainstreaming the SDGs within the private sector
  • Developing a Standard Reporting Framework for reporting on SDG activities across the private sector in Nigeria. This will be fully adopted post the UNGA in September 
  • Developing a post-graduate curriculum to train business leaders and managers to more effectively deliver on the SDG agenda within and without their organisations
  • Currently developing a best Practice BoP Consolidated Implementation Model to scale impact, take advantage of the multiplier effect of the linkages within the goals and give room for more effective delivery of SDG interventions
  1. As a member of the SDGF’s Advisory Board, do you think the activities of PSAG in Nigeria are currently in alignment with the goals of the global PSAG and what are some of these goals?

The activities of PSAG Nigeria are in total alignment with the goals of the global PSAG. As you are aware, PSAG Nigeria aims to bring together all Private Sector organizations in Nigeria to address the common objective of implementing the SDGs in a way that impacts all relevant stakeholders with the aim to scale, impact, report, monitor and evaluate same towards agenda 2030.

The Nigerian PSAG stems from the Global PSAG – UN SDG-F and it is aligned towards mobilizing Private Sector and other stakeholder ownership and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs.  It is positioned to interrelate with UNDP, and other International agencies on the agenda of the Private Sector at achieving the global goals – ‘leaving no one behind’

  1. According to the World Poverty Clock, poverty rates are increasing by the second, do you see Nigeria attaining Goal 1 or some of the other SDGs by 2030 based on current trends?

One of our critical objectives as a group is to foster the necessity of reporting if we are to record any major success with the attainment of the goals. Where does the data that gets fed into the World Poverty Clock come from? Most of the development statistics recorded has either been inadequately capturing the contributions and impact of the private Sector or has completely failed to account for the input of the private sector.  There is empirical proof that the Private Sector is doing a whole lot towards addressing the attainment of the global goals. Many private companies have entrepreneurship programmes, business and grants funding among other such investments towards addressing poverty. A decent number of people have been lifted out of poverty through these interventions. However, there are no records for this in national reports.

Going by the above, we are confident that we are on a journey and poverty may not be entirely eradicated overnight.  But, we are confident that with a firmer force around accountability and reporting, the reported number of those living extreme poverty would be reduced to a minimal level. The same applies to other goals of the SDGs. With the concerted efforts of the private sector, and the collaboration of government with Multilateral agencies and international NGOs, we will reach the goals.

With adequate advocacy, prioritization, localizing and partnering towards the SDGs, we believe that the goals

  1. We believe that achieving the goals in Nigeria will be much easier if the country identified specific goals to prioritise every year or every 5 years. What is your take on this and which goals do you think the private sector should channel resources and investments to meet within the next 3 years?

While prioritizing is essential, our main concern should focus on localizing the goals. We need to ensure the goals are broken down to understandable and manageable units. By doing this, key stakeholders can easily identify how their actions and inactions contribute towards the attainment of the goals. When the goals are localized, they can now be prioritized for implementation. Let’s not forget that all 17 goals are interconnected and are aimed at making the world a better place.

  1. At launch, the number of organisations that make up the PSAG were envisaged to increase to accommodate others that are keen on contributing their quota towards achieving the SDG’s in Nigeria. Yet, there has been no addition to the group since inauguration. What is delaying the expansion of the group?

The PSAG has grown and is still growing organically. The seventeen goals have been grouped into ten different clusters which are led by PSAG members. These members have the mandate to deliver PSAG’s objectives and recruit additional organizations that operate within the SDG space they lead. So this has brought about a multiplier effect and a significant increase in the PSAG membership.

  1. Who is eligible to join, what are some of the criteria and how can other interested private sector actors join?

Membership into the PSAG is open to all duly registered private sector companies, Civil Society Organizations, NGOs, Social Enterprises, academic institutions, and Business Associations that are credible and trustworthy. Organizations must already be involved in development efforts in any SDG area and be willing to commit time and resources. Also very key to membership is a willingness to sustainability reporting.

  1. We know current members of the group have been grouped into clusters in order to properly drive objectives, can you provide more insight into the criteria for the grouping, members of each cluster and expectations from the grouping?

In taking the decision to group into clusters, the team considered two options (by industry or by SDGs). This approach reflects an alignment between the industry sectors and the SDGs. Through the cluster groupings, there will be wider collaborative efforts which can be pulled towards each SDG. This will also make impact easier and better to coordinate. It is also important to note that SDGs that impacted largely on one another were also grouped.

Cluster 0: Goal 17: Global Partnership

Cluster 1- Goal 1: no poverty/ Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Cluster 2- Goal 3: Good Health and well- being

Cluster 3- Goal 4: Quality education

Cluster 4- Goal 5: Gender equality/ Goal 10: Reduced Inequality / Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Cluster 5- Goal 2: Zero Hunger / Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Cluster 6- Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

Cluster 7- Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy/ Goal 13: Climate action

Cluster 8- Goal 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure / Gaoal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Cluster 9- Goal 14: Life below water

Cluster 10- Goal 15: Life on land

  1. Are group members expected to only make investments in cluster goals?

While the SDGs have been grouped into clusters for more focused attainment, the core objective of the PSAG is to mobilise Private Sector and other stakeholder ownership and adoption of the SDGs.

  1. In your opinion, how much progress does the PSAG plan to make in the next 5 years with respect to public sector partnerships and strengthening outcomes for the SDGs?

Over the next five years, the PSAG will continue to expand its membership base and target the six geo-political zones in Nigeria to come together through Clusters. The PSAG will continue to create broad awareness of the SDGs and identify areas of common interest, scale and report on SDG activities in a uniform and accountable manner.

  1. What are the current challenges that the PSAG faces and how do you plan to resolve them?

As we like to say, these are only challenges and not obstacles as PSAG is working hard and smart to surmount them. They include:

  •        Significantly low access to funding
  • Very low awareness of the SDGs
  • Inadequate administrative support due to absence of dedicated full-time resources

 

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