Can Sustainable Development Be a Stimulus for Expanded Civil Society Space?

August 24, 2017 - Heather Grady, Vice President

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have increased opportunities for civil society leaders to develop and influence programs and policies alongside governments, to create the greatest possible impact across sectors. In a new blog post published by European Foundation Centre, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Vice President Heather Grady discusses this and the effect on SDG Philanthropy Platform pilot countries.

Grady notes that one of the major and growing concerns for philanthropic giving – especially across international borders– is government restriction. Those restrictions can relate to the foreign nature of the investment, or simply be a result of general limits present in the society. However, contributing to public agendas that receive support from governments as well as other sectors can potentially create greater impact internationally without restriction.

She states that in her global work with RPA, “We have found that so-called ‘public agendas’ that have received broad endorsement from governments, as well as other sectors, [are] a way to have more impact – because it allows many different actors to concert their efforts around shared norms and goals.” She ties this back to the Rockefeller family philanthropic legacy, which historically has included support for civil society as a pillar of progress while also emphasizing the role of accountable governance and policy.

Noting the specific examples of climate change mitigation as well as the SDGs,  she opines that, “Governments, once signed up to internationally agreed targets, are likely to see that they cannot actually deliver fully on those targets unless non-State actors contribute their efforts and funding as well.”

Read the full blog post here.