Sustainable Development Joins Foundations from Spain and Portugal

More than seventy foundations from Spain and Portugal come together in Mérida to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals, communal challenges, the contributions that each can make and the partnerships that may be established.

With this premise, the 10th Hispanic-Portuguese Meeting of Foundations “Foundations and SDGs: Synergies and Opportunities to Address Common Challenges” was inaugurated with the presence of the General Manager of Exterior Action for the Government of Extremadura, and president of the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation, Rosa Balas.

The High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda from the Spanish government, Cristina Gallach; president of the Spanish Association of Foundations, Javier Nadal; president of the Portuguese Foundation Centre, Maria Do Céu Ramos; president of the Association Foundations from Extremadura, Luis Acha, and the Vice-rector for Students, Employment and Mobility of the University of Extremadura, Rocío Yuste, also attended the meeting which opened yesterday and will continue today.
Rosa Balas conveyed “Extremadura’s commitment with the compliance of the Sustainable Development Goals”, specifying that the 2030 Agenda marks two important lines: “coherence of public policies which have to be interconnected, and collaboration with other territories.”

In her opinion, “this meeting has an added value” by holding it jointly with Portugal, and complies with Goal 17 in this way to create partnerships.

With regard to Extremadura, Balas affirmed that “the cross-border cooperation is one of the pillars of their exterior efforts and a reality in each one of our fields” which has allowed projects to be carried out that “not only have an effect on our regions, but also contribute to global, human and economic development.”

Balas pointed out that “the SDGs are an exercise of joint responsibility by the public administrations on all levels, from the university to the foundations, which are closer to citizens for their application and dissemination.”

Balas emphasised the role of young people, underlining that the 2030 Agenda “has to be an element that hooks young people with decision making, as mechanisms of debate are established in this agenda for them to get involved in what will be the design of the future.”

As regards the High Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda of the Spanish government, Cristina Gallach affirmed that the application of the 2030 Agenda “shall only be achieved if we work in partnership with all sectors of society.”

She highlighted three big challenges that the implementation of the SDGs face, and these are “understanding”, as it is a very complex agenda; “leadership”, as leaders are needed with sensitivity for the application, and “the necessary mobilisation for taking on what we must do, and to carry it out.”

Cristina Gallach emphasised the important role of the foundations in civil society to “make the agenda public, to continue leading and to mobilise”, and mentioned the collaboration necessary between the administrations and foundations to achieve compliance with the SDGs.

The president of the Spanish Association of Foundations commented that the 2030 Agenda is an “extraordinary instrument” for foundations “because all the necessary aims of general interest have been made communal in order for the planet to keep moving forward.”

Javier Nadal recalled that each foundation works on an aim of general interest and “the 2030 Agenda is our improved agenda” because there are defined goals and methodology to work on.

The European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation; Spanish Association of Foundations; Portuguese Foundation Centre; Association Foundations from Extremadura; Eugénio de Almeida Foundation; Maimona Foundation and the Jesús Usón Centre of Minimum Invasion Surgery Foundation were responsible for organising this 10th Hispanic-Portuguese Meeting of Foundations.

This event is organised into the following three panels: “Quality Employment and Education”; “Economic Growth; Cities and Sustainable Communities” and “End Poverty; Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality; Reduction of Inequalities”.

There will also be networking activities and conference tables on which the foundations themselves shall present their projects, give keys on their approach and open opportunities for collaboration. In addition, the programme is complemented with the exhibition titled “The SDGs and the 2030 Agenda in Easy-to-Read Format”, by the Citizens Foundation.

Extremadura Avante; Alimentos de Extremadura; Alexfo; Fundación Corresponsable, and the International Festival of Classic Theatre of Mérida are participating in this meeting.