PPPs could help Sri Lanka achieve its 2030 SDG goals

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Unilever Sri Lanka, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Sri Lanka and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Sri Lanka together announced the initiation of strategic public-private partnerships (PPPs) around the country’s key priorities related to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a media conference held on 7th December. Taking this message to the wider public through the media, they hope to raise awareness on the importance of PPPs for the country.

The partnerships revealed at the event were a result of the inaugural Unilever-UNGC forum held earlier this year that engaged members of the public and private sector, academia, media and non-government development agencies on how they could work together on helping Sri Lanka achieve the goals.

A wave of sustainable business projects are set to be rolled out through these partnerships. Aitken Spence Holdings, Commercial Bank PLC, Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings and Unilever Sri Lanka have pledged their support to drive these projects.Members of the projects’ working committees met after the media conference to discuss the road map for each project.Aligning the project goals to the wider national agenda, the teams finalized the immediate next steps.

Carl Cruz, Chairman, Unilever Sri Lankasaid, “The country’s goals around the 2030 SDGs cannot be achieved through the efforts of any single entity, acting alone. We need to rally each other up, go outside our comfort zones and work together to help the nation realize its vision. We firmly believe that adopting sustainable models both in civil service and in business while mobilizing collective action will help bring longer lasting, wide spread positive change. This is the only way in which we can ensure that we move ahead as one, without leaving anyone behind. And we are delighted to have found likeminded partners in the UNDP and the UNGC to work with on this journey. We are excited about the journey ahead as we work with them and other partners who have come forward in support this mission to see these projects to fruition.

Austin Fernando, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka, said, “While the government continues to work towards bringing about sustainable development, we need to understand that this cannot be done without the involvement and support of the private sector and all other stakeholders. H.E. President MaithripalaSirisenatoo has time and time again stressed on the importance of public-private partnerships in fostering national development through economic growth. Commending Unilever,UNDP and UNGC for their efforts in shaping such partnerships, I look forward to seeing the progress of the projects being rolled out by them together with Aitken Spence, Commercial Bank, Dialog and MAS.

Jorn Sorensen, UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director stated, “This is the start of a new movement. By connecting businesses with governments and the development partners, we can create an environment that unleashes the potential of the private sector because investing in the Sustainable Development is a win-win.As such, the private sector is an important strategic partner for UNDP in achieving its vision to help countries eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities and exclusion within broader sustainable development. UNDP is pleased to be a catalyst in convening the relevant stakeholders to support Sri Lanka achieve sustainable human development, because strong partnerships help us deliver stronger results that improve people’s lives.”

Jegan Durairatnam, Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Commercial Bank PLC;Mr. ShayamMajeed, Group Chief Customer Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC; ShakthiRanatunga, Director – Group Human Resources, MAS Holdings; and Dr. Rohan Fernando, Chairman of United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Sri Lankashared their views on the forum, its outcomes and the way forward.

Unilever also announced its partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to host a high-level private sector forum on sustainable human development every year, starting from 2018. This is part of their efforts to further strengthen discussions around public-private sector partnerships, continue the dialogue with private sector, provide a framework for cooperation and facilitate greater collaboration.

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