SDG Lounge Convenes World Leaders at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh to Cultivate Partnerships for the Goals
The SDG Lounge, organized by PVBLIC Foundation in cooperation with public-private stakeholders, has established a reputation for hosting high-level events on the margins of global forums that catalyze meaningful momentum behind the world’s most impactful initiatives. From the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to the United Nations General Assembly, PVBLIC Foundation and the SDG Lounge have used culture and entertainment to create environments conducive to collaboration for world leaders and global influencers committed to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG Lounge at COP27, which produced two dinners and two receptions with strategic partners, proudly built upon its impact-driven legacy.
Its first event was the Island Resilience Dinner, co-hosted by the Kingdom of Tonga and the Island Resilience Partnership (IRP). With over a dozen small island developing states represented by official delegates, the event highlighted climate partnerships that Tonga had established. It kicked off with a signing ceremony celebrating Tonga’s official commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045 in partnership with the Blue Planet Alliance. It concluded with a call-to-action from His Excellency Va’inga Tone, United Nations Ambassador for the Kingdom of Tonga, for other island governments to join its public-private partnership with GridMarket and the Island Resilience Partnership to achieve their national energy goals.
“To live in an island nation is to intimately understand that the climate crisis is an existential crisis,” said H.E. Va’inga Tone. “That is why it is imperative that we develop ‘genuine, durable partnerships’ that can be scaled to adequately address the financial, environmental, and social challenges that we face. Our innovative partnership with GridMarket and IRP, which secured a $1.5 million grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency earlier this year, will help Tonga achieve its 100% renewable energy utilizing data and artificial intelligence in a rapid, multi-phased approach. We hope you join us.”
Following the dinner, the Family Office for Sustainable Development (FOSD) – organized by the PVBLIC Foundation – hosted a reception for top family offices, philanthropists, and financial leaders. Its network seamlessly joined island leaders looking for sustainable investments in their countries. The theme was fittingly “Public Private Partnerships for the Goals.” After an hour of facilitated introductions and proper dancing, the hosts turned down the music and called on attendees to gather for high-level remarks from world leaders who were championing initiatives, campaigns, and programs deserving of investment and support. One such climate rockstar was Her Royal Highness Queen Diambi Kabatusuila from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“This is my first COP. And the reason I’m here is to put a face to the issue of the climate crisis affecting my people,” said Queen Diambi. “Living in villages in the middle of the forest, they don’t know about the great institutions that are changing the world and saving the world. What they know is that they hear chainsaws getting closer and closer as they cut down our trees and people polluting our rivers as they dig for gold with mercury. Many of the solutions being discussed at COP are overly technocratic and lack the wisdom of the ancient world. My people live a simple lifestyle that is harmonious with the planet. Not only do they need to be protected, but they offer a different paradigm that offers a valuable perspective as humanity collectively works together to address the climate crisis.”
Following the Queen’s remarks, attendees were called upon to add meaningful support – financial or otherwise – to those leaders and initiatives highlighted at the FOSD Reception. From campaigns supporting communities on the front lines of the climate crisis to innovative programs empowering the next generation of environmental leaders, the event successfully showcased high-impact leaders and provided guests with opportunities to make a meaningful difference. A good time was had by all. Of course, it helped that the dance party – with Queen Diambi at the heart of it – lasted until almost midnight.
The following evening, the SDG Lounge presented the SC1.5NCE NOT SILENCE Dinner, co-hosted by the Youth Negotiators Academy (YNA) and March For Science. The event celebrated the YNA’s inaugural class of youth negotiators for COP27. Its signature initiative – the Climate Youth Negotiator Program – was launched on Earth Day 2022, and called on governments to officially include a youth leader as part of its UNFCCC negotiating delegation. The co-founders of YNA, four incredibly accomplished women in the international youth climate movement, recognized the power of including young people in climate negotiations—as well as the need to properly support and train them. In less than a year, YNA had formally secured support from 27 governments and trained 55 youth negotiators heading into Sharm El-Sheikh. The high-level dinner attracted heads of state, UN leadership, philanthropists, and other key stakeholders championing climate action at COP27.
The SDG Lounge concluded its COP27 festivities with a birthday party for perhaps the most famous climate influencer in Sharm El-Sheikh – Frankie the Dino. Indeed, the protagonist at the center of the UN’s signature climate campaign Don’t Choose Extinction made a special in-person appearance to celebrate his 125,000,001st birthday.
“We are here to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Don’t Choose Extinction campaign,” said Boaz Paldi, UNDP Chief Creative Officer. “It is absolutely essential that Frankie is at COP27 and brings the message of decarbonization and fossil fuel subsidy reform. We still have a long way to go. Last year, $423 billion were used on fossil fuel subsidies around the world. This year, it will surpass $600 billion. So we’re not there yet. But this needs to happen and needs to happen quickly. That’s why we’re so thankful that so many climate leaders from around the world have joined us to celebrate and champion this important campaign.”
Hundreds of youth leaders, diplomats, environmentalists, innovators, philanthropists, corporate executives, family offices, and climate champions were in attendance. After Boaz’s closing remarks, they descended on the stage to take selfies with Frankie and celebrate the campaign.
“The SDG Lounge was designed to connect leaders and amplify impact with a balance of entertainment and empowerment,” said Sergio Fernandez de Cordova, Executive Chairman of the PVBLIC Foundation. “As we set out to cultivate ‘partnerships for the goals,’ it’s critical that we strengthen social bonds amongst those with professional overlap and shared passions. The momentum generated at the SDG Lounge in Sharm El-Sheikh has no doubt built a community of impact for years to come.”