On 22 February we invited the signatories of the Belgian SDG Charter for International Development to our first Change Lab. Some 30 companies, NGOs, government bodies and other organisations sat down together and looked at how they could turn their commitment into concrete partnerships.
Last year around 90 companies, NGOs and government bodies signed the Belgian SDG Charter for International Development, an initiative of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo. The Shift helped to draw up the charter and supports and guides its implementation. In 2017 we aim to turn this commitment into concrete partnerships during a series of Change Labs.
On 22 February we invited the signatories to the Finance Tower in Brussels. We began the morning with a presentation on translating the charter into partnerships. We emphasised the importance of partnerships between the various players (private sector, civil society and governmental bodies), partnerships which go beyond individual business agendas and are motivated by a common goal. The 3 different sectors were certainly well represented, which shows the eagerness of the signatories to work together.
Before the participants began their pitches, Piet Colruyt and Steven Serneels gave some practical examples from their book Allemaal Sociaal 3.0: Kunnen ondernemers de wereld redden? (All Social 3.0: Can entrepreneurs save the world?). Their study of various partnerships in both developing and developed countries provided them with some golden principles.
Then it was the participants’ turn. Between them they actually pitched 15 different initiatives and ideas, including combating water scarcity, the digital data gap and the impoverishment of the soil and landscapes, as well as creating worthwhile work and expanding local networks. So there was no lack of inspiration!
We developed 5 of the proposals:
- Denys, Protos and Altech got together to brainstorm about projects concerning sustainable sanitation and drinking water.
- Plan International Belgium, MSD Belgium and a number of other partners found they had common goals in terms of sexual and reproductive healthcare and the rights of women and children.
- Joker, Via Via Network and ISTO (International Social Tourism Organisation) have decided to work together in the framework of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. They dream of investing in a local network in West Africa to bring the tourist sector, local entrepreneurs and other stakeholders together.
- Siemens Healthineers, Exchange, VLIR UOS, Binario and Akkanto are hatching a plan to invest in local training courses. How can new curricula be created? And how can existing curricula be upgraded?
- Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurs without Borders are studying the opportunities for partnerships in the spheres of agriculture, reforestation and entrepreneurship.
Finally, information was shared regarding future Change Labs. The next three develop existing proposals focused on “Renewable Energy”, “Food & Agriculture” and “Health & Access to Medicine”.
- On 15 March we invited signatories to come and brainstorm with us about the possibility of setting up an investment fund for renewable energy.
- On 19 April The Shift organised a Change Lab on the topic of “Food & Agriculture”.
- On 18 May we addressed the topic of “Health & Access to Medicine” in our final Change Lab.
On the following link you can read more about the Belgian SDG Charter for International Development. The Shift is eager to promote cross-border partnerships too. That is why this year our Sustainable Partnerships Award will also include a category for international development cooperation.
Feel free to contact Charlotte Vroemans for more information concerning this award or the Belgian SDG Charter!