#RBFSingapore: How to Achieve SDGs in Papua New Guinea?


When Global Leaders agreed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, they recognised the importance of partnerships to address the critical challenges that the world faces. To achieve the SDGs requires us to forge new and renewed partnerships that genuinely transform the way we live.  

Eradicating poverty in all its forms requires us to think and act in new ways beyond the ‘normal, business as usual’. If governments, development partners - including the United Nations system, and well as individuals and institutions, continue doing what we have always done and in the same ways, many countries are unlikely to achieve the goals. We need creativity, innovation and passion in what we do, how we do it and who we partner with. We have to ‘be the change’ that we all want to see.

An example is an innovative project for safely reporting suspected corrupt practices by phone that we developed in Papua New Guinea. The response has been overwhelming: more than 29,000 text messages were received from 9,000 users in the first six months. This led to more than 200 cases being investigated and several officials being arrested for mismanagement of funds.

The ‘movement for achieving the SDGs’ needs to be inclusive – it cannot be just about governments and ‘aid agencies’. We need national governments, parliamentarians and community leaders to prioritize the work required. We must find ways of engaging people (young, old, women and men, children and people with disabilities) in their workplaces, schools and homes.

We started this in Papua New Guinea through our work on eliminating gender-based violence. We are partnering with national, provincial and local governments, civil society, church-based groups, academia, media, businesses and individual champions to highlight the scale the problem, improve ‘referral pathways’ for victims of violence and inspire bolder actions from everyone.

Getting businesses involved in implementing the SDGs is essential. Businesses create jobs for people –a proven way of helping people out of poverty. Promoting environmental and socially sustainable business practices is not only good for the planet but also helps make businesses more profitable and productive.

In Papua New Guinea we are beginning to establish a business coalition for SDGs. To engage entrepreneurs, we are sharing examples, such as the ones in the Accenture Report of how business can benefit from and contribute to the SDGs. International companies like Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola, Deloitte and local enterprises like Niugene PNG Ltd are responding positively.

We must recognize the vital role of communications and winning public opinion for the SDGs. We therefore partnered with the National Rugby League to utilize the amazing reach of rugby league. We are engaging star players as SDG champions.

All of this requires us to be more adaptive, responsive and pro-active. We are now starting year 2 of the SDG implementation journey to the 2030 milestone. Are we doing all that we can to bring about the change that we want to see?

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