Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Thursday, July 19, 2018 04:27:12 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

SDGs can be a test for European public-private partnership

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Jan Melissen and Ries Kamphof :
After last week's UN General Assembly a multitude of planned events in EU countries and in Brussels, including a European Commission Multi-Stakeholder Platform, will keep the spotlight on the UN's 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The ambition level for 2030 - only twelve years ahead - is high. Even Sweden has concluded that more than 75% of non-development cooperation targets still require considerable work. The 17 UN SDG goals and 169 targets are obviously the main aims, around which different public and private actors and stakeholders converge.
National ministries of foreign affairs and Federica Mogherini's external action machinery should welcome the somewhat unwieldy SDG saga as an opportunity for diplomatic innovation.
The fabric of tomorrow's diplomacy will increasingly be made up of public/private policy networks, and it is time for Europe's diplomats to invest in their relationships with the business community.
The SDGs are a perfect experiment to test Mogherini's promise to 'deepen partnerships' with the private sector through 'more innovative forms of engagement', as the 2016 EU Global Strategy puts it.
EU officials need a better understanding of their corporate counterparts. The cultural clash between public and private sectors should not be underestimated. Without much counselling available in politics and international relations, diplomats should make sure they get to the bottom of what makes their corporate counterparts tick.
Diplomats and civil servants are a different species from business people; their worldviews diverge and so do the pace and space of their daily routines. The new orthodoxy is that old-style governmental 'policy consultations' have turned into multi-stakeholder partnerships.
They are the bread and butter of the debate on SDGs and are a window for NGOs to influence the authorities. However, the restless business community has a different understanding.
European and EU diplomats should never lose sight of the main drivers of the corporate sector. Companies have a sui generis take on strategic action: their business models are about profit-making, and sustainability aims are not supposed to stand in the way of commercial objectives.
The 2016-17 Volkswagen scandal shows that short-term demands can erode business ethics at the highest levels of management. SDG policies that depend on collaboration by concrete companies have the best chance of becoming successful if they are commercially viable - which is not a typical concern of the public sector.
Nevertheless, there are success stories too. Some of the 2016 climate action campaigns, such as the 'Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action' and the 'High-Level Climate Champions', show that successful bridging of the public/private divide is feasible.
Diplomacy is all about relationships, and the SDG debate illustrates the importance of diplomats and civil servants coming out of their public sector comfort zone. In a growing number of policy areas, they need to figure out how to improve their working relationship with private stakeholders.
Private participants in the diplomatic game are no longer the targets or consumers of government messages and policies, but partners and co-producers of diplomatic outcomes.
SDG-oriented diplomatic collaboration with the private sector should not be considered exceptional but should be viewed as a necessary innovation in diplomacy in accordance with broader patterns of change.
There is nothing traditional about the diplomatic process on sustainability issues. The 'interface cultures' of SDG networks are very different from the hierarchical environments that are historically more familiar to diplomats and civil servants. New rules of engagement are replacing traditional standards of diplomatic behaviour.
National diplomats see that early 21st-century diplomacy is becoming less state-based and that they are no longer at the centre of the public/private networks in which they participate.
European governments and EU institutions, therefore, would benefit from a better understanding of what makes the corporate sector tick, and they need to engage more with their business counterparts.
Interestingly, changing political winds, not just in the United States but also in Europe, offer opportunities for a public/private meeting of minds. In the present 'post-fact' era, the very idea of SDGs and international co-operation is itself challenged by populist movements.
Corporate narratives can complement EU and member states' public diplomacy. It helps when companies explain complex sustainability issues to the public. It enhances the legitimacy of experts when leading business people are forthright in speaking out against the politically-motivated dismissal of facts that are presented as inconvenient opinions of the elites.
A recent development is that we see CEOs raising their voice in support of sound arguments and against populist policies which damage business, such as 'SDG advocates' Paul Polman (Unilever) in Europe and Jack Ma (Alibaba Group) in Asia. No longer unlikely bedfellows, business people and civil servants are becoming more closely connected.
(Jan Melissen is a Senior Research Fellow at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations 'Clingendael', Professor of Diplomacy at the University of Antwerp and founding Co-Editor of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy. Ries Kamphof is an Associate Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

City »

Bangladesh Sammilita Peshajibi Parishad formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday demanding unconditional release and proper treatment of Begum Khaleda Zia.

Editorial »

Public money and gold are not safe, it is a national disgrace

Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday refuted the allegation that one of the gold bars kept in its highly secured vault by the customs department was adulterated. Following a report published by a vernacular daily that quoted Customs Intelligence Investigation Department report, the central bank comes up with the observation that "the ...

Football »

French World Cup victors show triumph of diversity: Obama

AFP, Johannesburg :Former US president Barack Obama on Tuesday singled out the African heritage of many players in France's World Cup-winning football team in a speech paying tribute to Nelson Mandela.Speaking in Johannesburg to mark 100 years since Mandela's birth, Obama said that embracing diversity "delivers practical benefits since it ...

Football »

Maurizio Sarri, the new Chelsea soccer team manager, holds up a jersey during a press conference for his official presentation at Stamford Bridge stadium in London on Wednesday.

Entertainment »

Former supermodel Tapur Chatterji turns entrepreneur

In the ever-changing landscape of contemporary times, there’s more career crossover now than ever before. Granddaughter of veteran film director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Tapur Chatterji who made a mark as of India’s most formative supermodels in 90’s has recently forayed into design and interiors and launched her own entrepreneur outfit. With ...

International »

Thai cave boys leave hospital ahead of press conference

AFP :Twelve boys and their football coach who survived a highly dangerous and dramatic rescue from a flooded Thai cave were discharged from hospital Wednesday ahead of a press conference where they will tell their incredible story for the first time.An AFP correspondent on the scene saw the team, who ...

Entertainment »

Elnaaz surprised by Salman -Katrina controversy about Sacred Games

Actress Elnaaz Norouzi is surprised that there is a controversy about the characters of Karan Wahi and her in the Netflix series Sacred Games. The characters are alleged to have taken inspiration from real life incidents in Salman Khan and his ex-girlfriend Katrina Kaif's real lives.  "While shooting the episodes, ...

Entertainment »

Vidya Balan is all set to play her first Telugu film!

One can't refute the fact that Vidya Balan is one of the most versatile actresses in Indian Cinema today. The National Award Winning actress has never shied away from going off the beaten track and picking up complex and challenging roles. Needless to say, she has effortlessly nailed them all ...

Football »

Mbappe to donate US $500,000 World Cup winnings to charity

Sports Desk :French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe will be donating his entire World Cup earnings to a charity that organises sporting events for children with disabilities.The 19-year-old reportedly earned about US$22,300 per game in the tournament and an additional US$350,000 for helping his country lift the World Cup trophy on ...

Editorial »

Trump‘s behaviour in meeting with Putin regarded as disgraceful

US President Donald Trump has defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election. After face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies and said there had been no reason for Russia to meddle in the vote, as per international media reports.Mr Putin ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee member Dr Khondkar Mosharraf Hossain speaking at an opinion sharing meeting on 'Role of Present Election Commission and Blue Print of the Government' organised by Bangladesh Youth Forum at the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday.

International »

No reason to believe Russia behind election meddling

Reuters, Helsinki :U.S. President Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday saying he saw no reason to believe Russia had hacked the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the Russian leader "was extremely strong and powerful" in denying it.Trump held his meeting just days after a special ...

International »

US, North Korea hold 'productive' talks on war remains: Pompeo

AP, Seoul :U.S. and North Korean officials held "productive" talks Sunday to discuss the return of U.S. service members' remains missing since the Korean War, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.Pompeo, who was not part of the talks, said in a statement that working level meetings between U.S. and ...

Business & Economy »

American Tony Roma now in Dhaka

Business Desk :America's most favorite ribs & steak chain "Tony Roma's" opened officially in Bangladesh on Monday.The first flagship outlet was launched at the most aristocratic zone in the city, NEB (3B), Road#74, Gulshan-2 in Dhaka. US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat attended the function as the chief guest.Tony Roma's ...

Editorial »

Govt`s pragmatic step is needed to save Bangladesh from adverse impact of global warming

A RECENT study has shown that Bangladesh is among the countries 'most at risk' as over one billion people in the world are lack of air conditioning and refrigeration to keep them cool and to preserve food and medicines while global warming increasing temperatures. More electricity demand for fridges, fans ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news