179 permanent missions, 42 international organizations, 750 NGOs – just some of the key figures that make up Geneva’s unique international ecosystem, where a density of expertise in sustainable development makes it an ideal location to strengthen collaboration for the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).
Since 2017, the SDG Lab and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) have worked together on doing just that by bringing together a dynamic network of individuals from the Geneva 2030 Ecosystem – also known as the Geneva SDG community. The aim is to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs through partnerships with an impact on the ground globally by mobilizing skills, experience, and ideas of individuals in this network, representing over 200 organizations.
A new study by the SDG Lab and IISD, conducted in collaboration with Impact Hub Geneva, explores how a physical collaboration space in the city’s Nations district could strengthen efforts to build a more inclusive, accessible, and connected ecosystem to address SDG challenges in an integrated manner.
Speaking at the launch of the report on 14 November, Shefali Nandra, a student at the Graduate Institute, and representing a youth perspective, said: "In order to solve the big problems that face us today, we cannot do that alone. The best results come from collaboration. It's not just about having 100 people in a room; you need to motivate people. It's important to draw in others, and we need the ‘group work’ approach from our school days."
In the study, based on 27 interviews with key stakeholders in Geneva and a survey to members of the Geneva SDG Community, 70%of survey respondents indicated that more opportunities for networking outside their respective fields would help their organization enhance collaboration for the SDGs.
In particular, respondents to the survey and interviewees noted that the Nations district in Geneva, which has a high density of international organizations and non-governmental organizations, including the European headquarters of the UN, would benefit from spaces for community gatherings and informal events that could enhance creativity and innovation.
Also speaking at the event was Francesco Pisano, Director of UN Library and Archives Geneva, who underscored how collaboration underpins innovation and partnerships, noting that it drives results more than anything else. Mr. Pisano highlighted the importance of accessibility, stressing that the more people who access a space, the more viewpoints will be heard.
It is the hope that this report will provide more insight for actors interested in furthering scenarios on a potential collaboration space for the SDGs in Geneva.