Event Proceedings

Dr. Alaa Murabit presented the valedictory speech of the seminar where she talked about the role of women and girls particularly the importance of looking into women’s reproductive rights and girls’ education. She highlighted that if we educate girls which comprise about 10 percent of the population, GDP goes up by 2-3%. Women tend to reinvest 90% of their economic output into their own communities whereas men only reinvest 35%. Thereby, it is apparent that if we empower women, we will be able to achieve SDGs. Fundamentally, SDGs are about human rights, and everyone should have enough food, shelter and basic dignity. She stressed on the fact that where we are getting the money from is important as well as to determine who the money is going to and more importantly, whether it is distributed equally. Gender equality is central to SDGs. She said that we need to have people globally acknowledge that there are real challenges in both developed and in developing countries. This will be the way toward partnerships between north and south. We will have an increase in conflict and environment migration, and that is the most important challenge; however we have not been able to do much about it. Governments are no longer key service-providers, it’s corporations that are not sitting at the multilateral negotiation table. As a doctor, from her experience, if someone presents a gangrene, she debrides it and picks it out little by little. It’s more costly than amputation. She stressed that if we send a person home with a band-aid, they will come back and need amputation. We need to address the root of the problem. This is what we need to do with SDGs, not bandaid solutions, but debriding global challenges.

When you wake up every morning, don’t check the news; it’s very bad for your mental health. Assume that we as a collective community can fix all the problems in the world.


Dr. Alaa Murabit

SDGs Global Advocate & High Level Commissioner for Health Employment and Economic Growth, United Nations

Mr. Dana Bolden and Ms. Ana Saldarriaga were the Luncheon speakers for the seminar. 

Mr. Bolden firstly appreciated the convening of distinguished policymakers, development sector specialists, researchers, academia, multilateral and bilateral development agencies, thinks tanks, and media from renowned institutions who came together to discuss some of the successes from MDGs and challenges in achieving the SDGs. He mentioned that one of the most important partnership that Coca-Cola has is with UNDP, Turkey, and that that the New World Initiative will definitely help take the SDGs forward. Coca-Cola not only gives money to people but also likes to use their convening power, which they would gladly extend towards all stakeholders involved in the SDGs. He also advised that all the stakeholders present should be partners and should think of sustainable solutions.

Companies like CocaCola, Pepsi Cola and Starbucks have incredible convening powers; we have got feet on the street, people on the ground, who can go door to door and connect communities.


Dana Bolden

Group Director, Coca-Cola Company

Ms. Saldarriaga brought forward the importance of putting young people at the center of the conversation during her speech. She was born and brought up in Columbia and the main concerns for her were how to escape from bullets and get education at the same time. She noted that AISIEC’s goal is to send young people abroad to develop themselves and in turn develop the countries they are sent in. At the age of 24, she was given one billion dollars by the government of Columbia to improve literacy in English. So they decided to bring foreigners to Columbia schools to transform education. The project was a success and it transformed the lives of 75,000 kids. Ms. Saldarriaga highlighted that AISIEC needs to align organizational goals with the SDGs by working on three areas particularly: awareness, engagement and measurement. She ended her speech by saying that it is important to take young people into consideration and that they would add value if included in the decision making process.

Young people should not be a problem to solve, but more partners to work with.


Ana Saldarriaga

Supervisory Board Member & Former President, AIESEC International