UNDP host Social Good Summit 2016 in CBE

Sep 26, 2016

The Social Good Summit is an annual event where social activists, university students, innovators, politicians, journalists and NGO representatives meet up to discuss big ideas and find solutions for a sustainable world. This year’s Social Good Summit event in Rwanda themed “Connecting Today, Creating Tomorrow” was held on Monday 26th September 2016 at the University of Rwanda-College of Business and Economics- Gikondo Campus.

Just like last year, the 2016 Social Good Summit focused on what countries need to do to achieve the 17 Sustainable Goals (SDGs) in the next 15 years. UNDP Rwanda participated in the global conversation through organizing a meet up that gathered more than 250 participants including university and secondary students, private sector representatives, civil society organisations, government officials, development partners and different UN agencies.

The one day summit featured three panel discussions focussing on five goals – poverty reduction, which is goal one; gender equality (goal 5); goal 13 on climate action; goal 16 that covers peace and justice; and goal 17 on partnership. The first session which focused on gender equality as a means to end poverty and achieve the SDGs was chaired by Diane Gashumba, the Hon. Minister of Gender and Family Promotion. Session two which focused on pro-poor climate change actions was chaired by Stephen Rodriques, the UNDP Country Director, while the third session was chaired by Busingye Johnston, the Hon. Minister of Justice and Attorney General and focused on developing accountable and efficient institutions to accelerate development.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda, Prof. Phillip Cotton, kicked off the event by commending the event organizers for making it a reality. He then reminded the audience that the University of Rwanda (UR) has been created and mandated to support the development of Rwanda by discovering and advancing knowledge. He indicated that the UR is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence, where students are prepared for lives of service, leadership and solutions. Thus, he stressed that the UR is more committed to promote deeper public awareness and encourages such discussions on how the SDGs can be realized in Rwanda.

One UN RC and UNDP RR, Mr. Lamin M. Manneh speaking at the occasion

In his opening remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Lamin Manneh, commended Rwanda  for being “one of the SDGs front-runner countries in Africa” having launched a national communication campaign on the SDGs and translating them into Kinyarwanda. He also noted that the Government, with UN support, has completed a comprehensive assessment of Rwanda’s readiness to implement the SDGs.

However, Mr. Manneh said the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require concerted efforts to achieve and bring about development in Rwanda and other nations of the world.

 “Therefore, collective and individual efforts at the local, national and international levels are necessary to achieve these goals. Moreover, governments will need the broad involvement of other stakeholders, such as the private sector, the general public and civil society organisations,” Mr. Manneh said.

While addressing the participants, Dr. Diane Gashumba, the Hon. Minister of Gender and Family Promotion emphasised that gender equality is crucial to eliminate poverty and to achieve the SDGs. 

"Development can never be attained when a section of people (women or men) continue to face discrimination," Minister Gashumba said.

As she opened the first panel discussion which focused on gender equality as a means to end poverty and achieve the SDGs, Dr. Gashumba further highlighted that the Government of Rwanda, under the visionary leadership of his Excellency Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic of Rwanda, has set a remarkable World Track Record in terms of the promotion of gender equality. She also observed that Rwanda is leading not only in terms of numbers of women in Parliament, but also on the global HeForShe campaign initiated by UN Women.

The panel discussions which ensued involved participants reflecting on the one year anniversary of the SDGs and ways to accelerate progress and foster partnerships. There was a clear recognition that the SDG agenda must be rooted in deeper public awareness and must involve high level commitment from all stakeholders, not only the government.

During the event questions for the panellists were also submitted through Twitter and from the floor. Hot topics of discussion centred on service delivery, gender equality, employment pogrammes and policies in the public and private sectors, how to make climate change actions pro-poor, and ways of developing accountable and efficient institutions to accelerate development.

As one of the biggest Social Good Summits outside of New York, the Rwandan Summit was a testament to the strong will that exists around the country to achieve the SDGs. This event also provided an opportunity to engage secondary and university students in the SDG agenda, recognising their role as important stakeholders both now and in the future. Click / tap here to start editing

You can view pictures from the Social Good Summit 2016 on this link

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