Mr. Ulises Rojas Pavez partook in the Strengthening Stakeholder Engagement for the Implementation and Review of the 2030 Agenda course during its first session in December 2016. He has worked in the International Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Social Development for the past 12 years holding positions from the Unit Manager to Analyst, acquiring extensive experience in fields of international cooperation and social policies. While working for the Ministry of Social Development, Ulises was part of the Technical Secretariat responsible for preparing the Voluntary National Review for the 2030 Agenda and has focused his last four years on the process of sustainable development.

Although the Ministry of Social Development acquired years of experience in sustainable development by reviewing the Millennium Development Goals for Chile from 2000 to 2015, the 2030 Agenda posed a new challenge through its cross-cutting and multidimensional nature. With Chile’s announcement to present the VNR at the July 2017 High Level Political Forum, the possibility to partake in an e-learning course proved very useful.

“There are several reasons why [I] participated in the course in 2016. The first reason is because we had already assumed as a country the obligation to participate in the Voluntary National Review in the second High Level Political Forum [in July 2017].”

Since UN Member States mandate for the 2030 Agenda dates back to 2015, Ulises mentions that every country which began the VNR process was coming from a zero-starting line. The Strengthening Stakeholder Engagement course impacted Ulises in the way he elaborated and prepared the VNR through acquiring a stronger sense of the meaning of the 2030 Agenda, using the tools and approaches taught in the course for the VNR preparation, and gaining insights from past experiences from countries who have already initiated processes and presented at the 2016 HLPF.

“For us [the Strengthening Stakeholder Engagement course] was very appropriate support that was not available elsewhere within UN system. It was an important proposal for the preparation of this first report…The 2030 Agenda was a great challenge. All countries started from a zero baseline since there was no experience of how to approach its implementation anywhere.”

Ulises felt he increased his confidence in preparing a VNR Stakeholder Engagement Strategy from 30 per cent before the course to 100 per cent confidence afterwards, which he claims is 90 per cent attributable to his participation in the course.

“For the course, I personally believe that it fulfilled its general objective to share successful experiences so that the future VNR countries, as was the case for Chile, would consider these experiences in the elaboration of their own processes. What one has to do in [international] cooperation is to adapt good practices and successful experiences to own realities. We understood that the applicability of these experiences is also limited, and we could not copy exactly how other countries had carried out [their own processes]. But we could adapt their approaches to our own reality and, in that sense, we take it as a progressive process which allows for improving approaches over time.”

When asked how he thinks Chile would had faired had those officials preparing the VNR did not participate in the course, “I think [the process] would have been much more complicated. [The course helped me] to understand that one of the essential things with the 2030 Agenda is that it is not a challenge of one, but rather the challenge of a set of actors—and that [in] this set of actors that are part of the same society, we have to face jointly and with responsibility what the 2030 Agenda means”.

Since participating in the course, Ulises’ most significant change in his professional career relates to how the course enlightened him on different roles civil society can have. He elaborated that this relationship that government could bridge with civil society can help bring to light the perspectives of stakeholders in not only the implementation and review for a VNR, but also within public policy.

On a personal level, his most significant change features a more global picture from years of experience in working in sustainable development. His experience has taught him that there is a before and after point for the world, and that some situations are irreversible. However, Ulises emphasizes that there are processes and economic models that can help confront global challenges that affect the most vulnerable sectors. In recognizing that every country needs to commit to the 2030 Agenda, Ulises feels that his personal growth is insignificant to the global changes required for the attainment of the 17 SDGs,

Quotes translated from Spanish.

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2030 Agenda
Sustainable Development
SDGS