Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP's Resident Representative talks to participants during the Social Good Summit in Sigatoka, Fiji (Photo: Tomoko Kashiwazaki/UNDP).

To raise awareness around the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Fiji partnered with Sigatoka Town Council to hold the Community Social Good Summit featuring the Continuing Market Business Education (CMBE) for market vendors as part of the Markets for Change project.

“The Social Good Summit is a flagship event for UNDP,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark in New York, USA. “We plan to use the Social Good Summit’s platform and audience to help governments and partners launch the Sustainable Development Goals to help make the new Global Goals a household name everywhere.”

With the theme, “New Goals. New power. New technology,” the Community Social Good Summit in Sigatoka discussed in two areas: what SDGs apply to me and my community; and how new technology has improved our lives and our communities.

“We are honored to host this Community Social Good Summit with UN Women and UNDP. It is to improve the standard of living of the people of Nadroga and Navosa by working together and achieving SDGs,” said Tulsi Ram, Chief Executive Officer, Sigatoka Town Council opened the Sigatoka Community Social Good Summit and welcomed participants.

UN Women’s Representative at the Fiji MCO, Aleta Miller, said, “the importance of gender equality for sustainable development goes beyond goal five, which specifically calls for the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. We cannot achieve any of the global goals without addressing the existing inequality, discrimination and violence that women across the world face every day. Women’s knowledge and skill will also be critical in finding creative and sustainable solutions to achieve the SDGs across the board. This makes the newly approved global goals an exciting opportunity for the global community to renew its commitment to gender equality and to take bold and specific action to achieve it.”

“Increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases is one of the serious issues in Fiji. Civil society, Government and the United Nations must work together. People have limited access to necessary medications and facilities in Fiji. I hope the Government is improving its provisions of medical services. We are accountable to people,” said Ganga Singh, Advisory Councilor, Nadroga and Navosa raised the issue affecting people in Fiji.

“Fiji has made significant progress the past 15 years to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but there is much left to do. The SDGs are a powerful framework to guide further work to close the gaps but also tackle important emerging issues, including rise in inequalities, marine resource management and climate change, as well as building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions. Now that world Governments have signed off on the Global Goals, we need to discuss what the SDGs means to each and every one of us, because we all have a role to play if they are to be achieved,” said Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative.

Raj Wati, one of the participants, who has been managing her market business in Sigatoka for over 20 years, said, “I have been using my mobile phone to access banking services. It helps us, who have to stay in the market whole day for our business. I learned about the SDGs today. They must contribute to the wellbeing of market vendors”.

The Community Social Good Summit in Sigatoka is part of more than 100 Social Good Summits organized around the world to raise awareness Sustainable Development Goals in September.

Adopted by all 193 UN Member States, the Sustainable Development Goals are 17 ambitious goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change for everyone by 2030. UN Women and UNDP stand as a ready partner to support Fiji and the Pacific Island Countries and others to carry forward achieving the Goals at the national level by 2030.

UN Women and UNDP aim for the Community Social Good Summit was to help make the new Goals famous at the national and local level, and ‘owned’ by people. Making the Goals famous among people will be the first important step in achieving this new and ambitious development agenda.

The Community Social Good Summit in Sigatoka also provided forum for local citizens and market vendors to know more about mobile technology and discuss how it would contribute to their business, wellbeing and achieving the Global Goals.

Some of the participants have been trained through the CMBE, which attempts to build the financial literacy and business capacity of market vendors especially women market vendors to enable them to access financial services. The Round 1 ‘Basic Financial Literacy’ and Round 2 ‘Improve Your Market Business’ have been delivered at Sigatoka Municipal Market. Round 3 Business Seminars, which trains market vendors to use mobile phones to access financial services, will commence soon.

In New York, coinciding with the Sustainable Development Summit where the Goals were adopted, the Social Good Summit is taking place from 27-28 September, and considers how people and communities are using digital tools to plan for a brighter future by the year 2030. A wide range of speakers from across different sectors and backgrounds include: Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator;  Richard Curtis, Director, Writer, Producer, Founder Project Everyone; Graça Machel; Patti Smith, Musician and Activist; Charlize Theron, UN Messenger of Peace; and Jimmy Wales, Founder & Chairman Wikipedia & Wikimedia Foundation and many more.

About Continuing Market Business Education

The Continuing Market Business Education and other training activities with market vendors are conducted by UNDP in partnership with the local governments, UN Women and Westpac, as part of the Markets for Change project. The trainings aim to improve and strengthen the financial literacy and business practice of market vendors, especially women.

About Markets for Change Project

The Markets for Change project is a six-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, Markets for Change is implemented in partnership with UNDP and supported by the Australian Government and is a key contribution to the achievement, in the Pacific, of SDG 5 which focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

About Social Good Summit

Each September, world leaders come together at the United Nations General Assembly to discuss global issues and ways in which to tackle them. Recognizing that the voices and ideas of concerned global citizens connected by social media and technology can be powerful forces for change, UNDP Mashable, 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation first partnered in 2009 to host the Social Good Summit in New York to expand the UN conversations to include innovators, activists and entrepreneurs around the world. Now in its sixth year, the Social Good Summit continues to grow in impact and reach to unite global citizens to unlock the potential of technology to make the world a better place.

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