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UN Global Compact Russia




The XVIII Annual Conference of the Donors' Forum – a five-day meaningful intellectual marathon that took place on October 19 - 23, 2020 – was focused on the role of philanthropy in achieving global (the SDGs) and national development goals, as well as on the impact of the UN global SDGs agenda and the current socio-economic situation on philanthropy in Russia and other countries. The conference brought together over 750 experts on philanthropy, social investment, communications, management of sustainable projects and organizations from 15 countries of the world (India, The USA, Great Britain, Brazil, Spain, China, Chile, Mexico, etc.) and 60 cities of Russia.

The SDGs are not just a global trend, they are an international language spoken by both business and government – regardless of whether it is about the global sustainable development goals or the recently announced national development goals. Therefore, the most important task for today is to implement this agenda in the work of the sector, and we at the Donors Forum will consider this as one of the key areas of our activity. I thank all the partners, speakers and participants who made this week so full and interesting!” – said Alexandra Boldyreva, Executive Director at the Donors Forum, the Board member of the Association “National Network of the Global Compact”.

One of the key thematic sessions – "Focusing on the SDGs in NGO communications" - was organized by the Donors Forum in partnership with the UN Global Compact Network Russia.

“The lot to discuss a topical, bright and not trivial topic has come to us. We’ve tried to talk about whether NGOs commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, the so-called 2030 Agenda - within their reporting, information activities, campaigns, messages and information strategies in general – can be considered as the factor that helps them, strengthens them, attracts greater attention to them and drives the development of effective targeted partnerships and successful communications with stakeholders. Is there a clear relationship here or are we all impressed by the scale of the idea to “transform our world” and tend to exaggerate the practical meaning of the Sustainable Development Goals (in this case, in the field of NGO communications)?” commented Marina Vashukova, the session moderator, Executive Director of the Association “National Network of the Global Compact”.

The speakers and experts, who expressed their views regarding these issues, included Irina Bakradze, CEO at the SUNFLOWER Charity Foundation; Daria Buyanova, Fundraising Director at Dobry Gorod Petersburg Charity Foundation; Elena Ivanitskaya, Deputy Director of the Department of Social Sphere and Non-profit Sector at the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Natalia Kamynarskaya, Director of Blagosfera; Ivan Kukhnin, Head of Sustainability Services, Partner at Deloitte CIS; Natalya Medvedeva, Head of the Non-Profit Sector Coordination at the Donors Forum; Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Director of the Agency for Social Information, Chairman of the Commission on development of nonprofit sector and support of socially oriented nonprofit organizations of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

How far are the UN Sustainable Development Goals – a multi-faceted universal agenda, designed first of all for national governments, an agenda with a mission to have a try at systematizing and solving the most pressing global problems, at mobilizing an international movement for sustainable development, its specific aspects and directions – from the non-profit sector? The panellists confirmed that engaging in the SDGs, understanding the SDGs and incorporating the SDGs into activities and communications have many benefits for NGOs and for building their effective partnerships, with business particularly. In addition, the focus on the SDGs today can be considered one of the best communication practices of NGOs.

The SDGs are near, and the main task of NGOs, bearing in mind the global framework of the 2030 Agenda, is to understand what is the most successful way of synchronizing the SDGs, of grounding and making them close and clear for target audiences and partners of each specific organization.

But within this process, it is important to understand and highlight controversial questions, to jointly seek answers and flexible solutions to them: what is the way in which you can explain to employees and partners of NGOs that the SDGs are not only global, but also appeal to everyone? what is the most effective way to communicate the specific features of the SDGs? when we say “focus on the SDGs”, is it important to keep in mind, first of all, the formal interpretation of the SDGs and fit NGOs into this framework, or the sequence and logic should be different: the orientation of NGOs' activity is primarily important from the perspective of public good, and the SDGs can be complementary, supporting, illustrating, etc.? how should (if it should) the culture of systemic philanthropy and formalization of communication change in the context of the SDGs? and other similar questions.

The summarizing part of the session was called "The SDGs as a common future", and, confirming the understanding of the SDGs as common coordinates and messages for government, business and NGOs, as well as a common language and an agenda for cooperation, the experts agreed that the role of the global agenda will only increase, including the establishment of a variety of partnerships, and that, therefore, new tools are needed to assess the depth of the NGO's immersion in the 2030 Agenda and its efficiency (the assessment of communications is one such tool).

That is also why the UN Global Compact Network Russia became in 2020 a partner of the Donors' Forum “Starting point” annual project and established within this NGOs reports contest a special category “The SDGs Context” for the most complete presentation of activities aimed at achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs).

Brief description of the nomination

The Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) are a global sustainable development agenda that brings together governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, and everyone in a common drive to transform our world for the better. The main characters of this movement are local change agents, local drivers of sustainability, people, companies, organizations that contribute to systemic change in social, environmental, ethical, humanitarian, cultural, and other critical areas in the context of modern sustainable development values, in the context of SDGs. The non-profit sector is the tuning fork of this agenda, closest to the needs and problems, to the life and new opportunities of everyone who should not be left behind. It is important to see, understand, and feel our role in this diverse global dialogue and be able to present the results of our work that bring us closer to achieving the global goals.

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