Dalberg at the United Nations General Assembly Week 2023

This post is the first in a six-part series featuring Dalberg’s contributions towards achieving the goals discussed at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), held September 18 to 26, 2023.

The 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) represented a pivotal step in the journey toward fulfilling the 2030 Agenda and the imperative to advance the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Held between September 18 and 26, 2023, the event convened world leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, activists, scientists, and other individuals who shared a sense of urgency to address global issues and monitor the progress made toward achieving the SDGs. 

The theme of this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) aligns with Dalberg’s commitment to tackling pressing contemporary challenges: “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability for all.” Throughout the UNGA, numerous panels and side-events witnessed active participation from Dalberg partners as they contributed to discussions on the most immediate opportunities for addressing interconnected global issues. 

Accelerate Digital Innovations for Women’s Reproductive and Sexual Health

Experts gathered at an event held on the sidelines of UNGA to discuss strategies for utilizing digital solutions to advance health equity. Re:solve Global Health, Dalberg, The Case for Her, and Taskforce on Women and Non-Communicable Diseases hosted a substantive dialogue among innovators, funders, and policymakers. The event “Roundtable on Accelerating Equitable Digital Innovations for Women’s Reproductive Health” was held at the American Heart Association’s New York City offices. The gathering convened 45 executives for a comprehensive program comprising panel discussions, interactive Q&A sessions, dialogues, an informal discussion with a representative of the Australian government, and networking opportunities.  

In the words of Julia Rohrer, an Associate Partner at Dalberg, “It is always inspiring to be among a gathering of innovators, funders, and other thought leaders, all committed to advancing equitable outcomes in sexual and reproductive health. These discussions delved into the potential, as well as the limitations, of digital tools in achieving this goal. We had folks in the room working across geographies, sectors, and different segments of the reproductive health journey, and I was struck by how their fundamental call was the same: put power in the hands of women. Women, as founders, product designers, and patients who are agents of their healthcare, are the individuals poised to address challenges and inequities in healthcare access and outcomes.”
Read more on the event here. 

During the 78th session, a heightened emphasis on the climate crisis was inevitable. Climate change’s far-reaching impact on nearly all SDGs led to numerous dedicated events aimed at achieving climate stability through various approaches. These efforts encompassed strategies to leverage biodiversity and nature for equitable economic progress, the implementation of transformative measures to combat biodiversity loss, recognition of the correlation between building materials and climate impact, and collaborative initiatives to phase out fossil fuels while expanding renewable energy sources. In the words of Laura Herman, a Partner at Dalberg:

I see more and more clients thinking about the relationship between their work and the coming climate crisis, whether that is from a strategy perspective, from a partnership perspective, or from an advocacy perspective. With the global narrative focused on climate, those working on other issues are challenged to keep awareness and investment focused on those issues.”

Unlocking the Potential of Consumers in the Transition to 24/7 Decarbonization

Dalberg Associate Partner Annette Chau, in alignment with Dalberg’s commitment to facilitating pragmatic climate crisis solutions, presented a consumer-centric approach to transitioning towards carbon-free energy during the “24/7 Carbon-Free Energy” panel at Solutions House in New York. The event convened government and private sector representatives to deliberate on effective strategies for global energy system decarbonization. It also featured key findings from a Dalberg-conducted study on decarbonization for Sustainable Energy for All, co-authored by Alex Cheval, Associate Partner. According to Cheval, “Three out of four people worldwide are both aware of and concerned about the climate, but only a small percentage grasp the actions they can take to make a change. There’s a significant opportunity for households to actively participate in the energy transition by adopting practices that reduce energy consumption or align it with renewable energy sources.”
Read more on the event here.

A New Development Finance Institution Collaborative for Equitable Health Emergency Response

In response to the critical inadequacies exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dalberg collaborated with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to explore how development finance institutions (DFIs) could improve access to medical supplies in health emergencies. During a UN General Assembly side event, a report outlining promising financing opportunities for DFIs was unveiled, featuring key figures like DFC CEO Scott Nathan and USAID Assistant Administrator for Global Health Atul Gawande. These opportunities include shared liquidity facilities, bridge facilities for self-financed procurement, working capital for surge production, and guarantees for access to low- and middle-income countries. This collaborative initiative marks a substantial step toward achieving a more equitable response in future health emergencies.
Read more on the event here.

Placing Girls’ Education in the Spotlight for a Brighter Future

During a meeting at the Dalberg New York office, a thought-provoking discussion unfolded on the significance of girls’ education. Dalberg, Educate Girls, and Malaika Foundation hosted a forum emphasizing the global imperative of protecting every girl’s right to a quality education. The Rising Academy Network introduced the audience to the Elimu-Soko initiative, addressing challenges in nurturing foundational skills among young learners. Safeena Husain, the founder of Educate Girls, shared insights into their forthcoming 10-year vision focused on re-enrolling out-of-school girls and ensuring their continuous education. Additionally, Noella Coursaris Musunka, the founder of the Malaika Foundation, a grassroots nonprofit organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo, discussed how the foundation supported students in the Congo in navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic. These organizations’ challenges, coupled with field reflections, underscored the need for tailored, community-centric approaches.
Read more on the event here.

Addressing Global Education Challenges

In response to the urgent global education challenges outlined by the United Nations, Dalberg is taking multifaceted initiatives to make meaningful progress towards SDG4 by 2030. This comprehensive approach involves innovative financing methods, particularly Development Impact Bonds, and cross-sector collaboration to bridge financing gaps and mobilize additional resources. Additionally, Dalberg focuses on harnessing the potential of educational technology (EdTech), ensuring its scalability and effectiveness, and conceptualizing last-mile internet delivery models in collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders to enable access to educational content. Furthermore, Dalberg is committed to addressing the intersection of climate change and education, underlining the need for climate-resilient education systems. This involves coordinating efforts with public and private sectors to ensure education remains a priority, even in crisis settings.
Read more on the initiatives described here. 

In the words of UN Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens, “We can make decisive gains for people and the planet if we set our mind, our money, and our politics to it.” Dalberg reiterates its commitment to addressing global challenges and advancing the SDGs through ongoing and active engagement in all discussions related to inclusivity and progress, striving for a more sustainable and equitable world.

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