"We are on the right track, but not at the appropriate speed"

Interview with Javier Bronfman and Costanza Landini.

15 de Septiembre de 2023

Javier Bronfman, SDGs Integration Advisor for UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean, and Costanza Landini, Analyst for the integration of the SDGs in the private sector at UNDP Panama.


The confluence of crises around the world has affected the well-being of thousands of people. In the midst of high inflation, increased uncertainty and economic recession, the pace of recovery from the pandemic crisis has slowed, threatening both, developed and developing countries like Peru.

We are only seven years away from the deadline to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a goal that seems increasingly distant. For this reason, it is essential to accelerate the interventions that will generate development for the people and their territories.  

Through innovation, we can generate new perspectives to address current challenges through high-impact methodologies such as the SDG Push, an initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that seeks to generate ways to accelerate and achieve the SDGs.  

We spoke with Javier Bronfman, UNDP Regional Advisor on SDG Integration for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Costanza Landini, Analyst for SDG Integration in the Private Sector at UNDP Panama, about how Peru is part of the SDG Push and what opportunities it presents for the country.

What is the SDG Push?  

Costanza Landini (C.L.): The SDG Push is a methodology developed by the United Nations Development Programme, which includes qualitative and quantitative elements to understand which public policies can accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals. It's a systemic vision that involves the state, public institutions, academia and civil society, with the support of the United Nations.

It's innovative (SDG Push), drawing on our global and regional experience and the UNDP office in Peru. It has a local perspective and seeks solutions that can be implemented both at the national and territorial levels, where we know that there are people in greater conditions of vulnerability, especially in the Peruvian context.  

What is the methodology being developed in the country?

Javier Bronfman (J.B.): The SDG Push requires dialogues to identify those existing priorities in the government that have the potential to be accelerators, as well as macro and microeconomic data that allow us to build new econometric models linked to the SDGs. These will allow us to identify those economic pressure points where investments in public policies will generate a multiplier effect in different aspects necessary for the country to move forward.



Why was Peru chosen as one of the 5 countries for this initiative?

J.B.: This is a pilot process that we are conducting in five countries around the world, and Peru was chosen in Latin America and the Caribbean. Partly because it's a country that has an interesting history of growth, but at the same time it still has gaps in the progress of several SDGs, something that it shares with other countries in the region.

One of the peculiarities of Peru is that it has a complex political process. Therefore, it's also important for us to learn how to implement these initiatives in this context, and fortunately, the experience has been very positive. At the technical level, we've been able to continue working despite the political changes and challenges that the country has faced in the last two years.

How is progress being made toward achieving the SDGs in the region and in Peru?

J.B.: Recently, there was a Sustainable Development Forum at ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America), where they reported on how the region and different countries are doing in terms of achieving the goals. We know that we are on the right track, but not at the right speed. In other words, we are far behind on most of the Sustainable Development Goals.  

In particular, there is a challenge in terms of the evidence that exists and the data that we have to be able to measure compliance and how we are doing in this process. More than 30% of the indicators have no information yet. We've reached the halfway point for the SDGs, and it's very important to accelerate the development process. To do that, we need more information to know how we're doing and to move forward in those aspects that will give us a multiplier effect of development in different areas.

During the first phase of implementation of the SDG Push in Peru, it was found that there are still delays in the country in achieving certain SDGs, what are they and why are these delays ocurring?    

J.B.: Yes, the truth is that there are delays in a number of indicators of the different goals, for example in the area of poverty. The country, like the whole region, has fallen behind. Ten years of progress on poverty issues have been set back; we see that Peru has grown a lot based on certain priority areas of investment, but that growth has not reached everyone equally. It's a country where there are still great inequalities; for example, there are important challenges in terms of gender, such as the participation of women in the labor market.

Now there are challenges that have emerged from the Scoping and Dialogues for Development phase as priorities and potential accelerators in the SDG Push exercise. Areas such as education, which we didn't necessarily see as a priority in the first place, later emerge as a transcendental aspect, from the quality of education and the need for early interventions for the development of young children throughout the territory.  

Likewise, the challenge of the State to ensure an efficient use of public resources with services directed to the population is an aspect that is difficult to model, and at the same time, it's one of the valuable and coherent things in a country like Peru.  

Having worked here, you realize that although there is an institutional infrastructure for planning with high government capacity, it isn't translated to the local level.  

How can we resolve this situation and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs?

J.B.: We need to start by identifying the accelerators, and that's exactly what we've done with SDG PUSH. So, in order to accelerate achievement and close the gaps, we have to identify what are the key points that allow us to move faster.  

We also need to show how multilateral action plays a big role in accelerating the SDGs in the country. It would be good to sit and talk about ways to work together in a less fragmented way, that is, directing public investments to an accelerator, seeking joint articulation within the government, and gradually creating sustainable synergies.  

This type of initiative makes it possible to see what progress has been made in the articulation processes, and also shows that working together produces better results. Therefore, we see the SDG PUSH as a methodology that will be a great contribution to nations.  

What are the opportunities of having an initiative like the SDG PUSH in the country?

C.L.: It's a great opportunity for several reasons. First, to identify the public policies that exist from a systemic perspective that can accelerate the SDGs. So it's an opportunity to have spaces for dialogue, which may not be as common. This isn't a top-down process where you come and say: "Look, these are the things that are in the literature, here we go." This is a space to align development visions among actors, to understand the data that is available and how to read it together to have clear key policies for the development of the country.  

J.B.: It's also an opportunity that allows us at the regional level to create greater capacity and transfer it to the countries. In other words, we at the regional level are a channel to transmit these tools, ideas, and specialists that are at the global level in the Public Policy Centers and in the Governance Center, to incorporate and adapt this new methodology to the country level and to focus the decision-making capacities of governments towards the SDGs.