Sep 22, 2023 - Sep 22, 2023

UNGA 78: Empowering Civil Society - How to Unleash Innovation and SDG Finance through the Power of Community

UNGA 78: Empowering Civil Society - How to Unleash Innovation and SDG Finance through the Power of Community

Date & Time: 22 September 2023

Type: In-person and via Zoom

Event Location:  UN Headquarters, Conference Room 12, New York

The hybrid UNGA side event will take place on September 22 at 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. EST.

❗For those attending UNGA (with already secured UN Badges), you can join the event physically by registering here: https://shorturl.at/xyKP2 (Conference room 12)

❗ The event will also be streamed online, with translation available in French and Arabic. Registration for the online event is here: https://shorturl.at/acyP5


The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), are proud to present a special side event during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. This event aims to explore how innovation, alternative finance, and sustainable development can serve as catalysts, empowering civil society organizations (CSOs) to play a pivotal role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

CSOs stand as instrumental players in addressing today's paramount developmental challenges – spanning from poverty and inequality to climate change and pollution. With a profound understanding of the needs and concerns of marginalized communities, CSOs are at the forefront of driving positive change. Nonetheless, the gap to reach the SDGs in developing countries increased by 56% after the outbreak of COVID-19, totalling USD 3.9 trillion in 2020 (OECD 2022).

In response to this challenge, the interest in employing alternative finance mechanisms, novel business models, and innovative initiatives has soared. This surge is propelled by factors including heightened internet penetration, the proliferation of smartphone usage, and an ever-growing entrepreneurial spirit.

During the side event, the co-organizers will bring together a diverse array of stakeholders. Together, they will discuss innovative strategies for harnessing alternative financing and innovation, thereby fortifying CSOs to effectively address critical developmental issues. Moreover, the event will shed light on identifying gaps and requirements essential for bolstering CSO capacity, fostering innovation to combat poverty-linked challenges, and guaranteeing sustainable financing for those at the frontline of change.

Among the promising avenues for empowerment are crowdfunding platforms, which are utilized for various causes – spanning from funding community projects and supporting startups to aiding individuals with medical expenses. Additionally, blockchain and crypto-based solutions have demonstrated their potential in enhancing financial inclusion, facilitating remittances, and providing a hedge against inflation.

A significant highlight of this event will be the spotlight on the IsDB - ISFD NGO Empowerment for Poverty Reduction Programme (Tadamon). This programme, sponsored by ISFD, managed by IsDB, and executed by UNDP and partners, spans across 33 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Member Countries, where it supports local CSOs in their mission to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of marginalized communities.

With over 3,500 CSOs having joined Tadamon to drive transformational change, the programme runs a series of initiatives, including a Crowdfunding Academy, which has equipped 450 CSOs with skills in management, innovative financing, and crowdfunding, and the Tadamon Accelerator, which has supported 50 CSOs from 28 countries with training and $460,000 in grants.

Operating at the nexus of innovation and alternative mechanisms, the side event will showcase Tadamon’s achievements and lessons learned, exemplifying how innovation and sustainable development can empower local CSOs.

Agenda - download here.

Master of the Ceremony: Lejla Sadiku, Programme Specialist, UNDP 

Inspiring opening remarks

  • Haoliang Xu, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator 
  • Dr Mansur Muhtar, IsDB Vice President of Operations 
  • Ambassador Hameed Opeloyeru, OIC Permanent Observer to the UN 

Igniting Transformation: Tadamon NGO Empowerment Journey (3-minute video) 

Statement from Hiba Ahmed, DG, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, ISFD

Civil society organizations, innovation, and finance for SDGs session

Introduction to the NGO Empowerment Programme (Tadamon) (2019-2024): UNDP and IsDB present milestones and outcomes, highlighting projects and initiatives that include CSO mapping, capacity building and the Tadamon platform        

  • Dr Robert Pasicko, Program Coordinator, UNDP  

Panel Discussion

  • Voice from the ground: Edward Bitar, Founder and President of Live Love Lebanon, and Nasser Diallo, Founder and CEO of Clinic + O 
  • Crowdfunding in the Muslim world: Chris Blauvelt, Cofounder and CEO of Launchgood platform 
  • Crypto/blockchain for good: Doro Unger-Lee, Head of Education and Inclusion, Algorand Foundation 
  • SDG Finance / Innovation: Gina Lucarelli, Team Leader, Accelerator Labs Network, UNDP 

Moderator: Syed Husain Quadri, Director, Resilience & Climate Action Department, Islamic Development Bank 

Closing and forward-looking session 

Impactful Projects: Video on success stories by local CSOs (3 min) 

Crowdsourcing the redesign of the NGO Empowerment Programme – engage participants in designing the future phase of the NGO Empowerment Programme, driving innovation and sustainable impact. 

  • Syed Husain Quadri, Director, Resilience & Climate Action Department, Islamic Development Bank