On March 3, 2020, the Joint SDG Fund, the European Union Delegation to the International Organisations in Vienna, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the OPEC Fund for International Development came together for a joint event and an interactive panel discussion on “Mobilising to Advance the SDGs”. The joint event was hosted by the EU and the European Commission in the prestigious Europe House in Vienna with the participation of more than 100 invited guests from the Vienna diplomatic community and civil society.
The welcoming remarks were delivered by H.E. Ambassador DDr. Stephan Klement, the EU Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation in Vienna, and DDr. Wolfgang Bogensberger, Deputy Head of the EC Representation in Austria. They emphasized that successful implementation of SDGs requires effective multilateralism and a rules-based international order which defends universal values. They also highlighted the fact that the EU and EU Member States were leading contributors to the Joint SDG Fund and encouraged others to contribute to the Fund.
The former President of the Republic of Austria and Co-Chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, H.E. Dr Heinz Fischer, delivered the opening remarks. He recalled the intergovernmental commitment to the SDGs which was adopted by the Heads of State and Government on the occasion of the UN’s 70th Anniversary in 2015 wherein they resolved “to end poverty and hunger everywhere, to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies, to protect human rights, and promote gender equality, to empower women and girls, and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources”, pledging that no one will be left behind.
The moderator, Ms. Mona Ali Khalil, an international consultant and former UN official, opened the panel and led the interactive dialogue with a reminder that the SDGs are not merely aspirational, but rather goals to be implemented and achieved in real terms, and welcomed the emerging partnership between the Joint SDG Fund, EU, OPEC Fund and BKMC in Vienna as an embodiment of SDG 17.