The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are facilitating the establishment of SDG Innovation Hubs across the country.

On October 28, 2021, the Joint OSSAP-SDGs – UNDP Team concluded the zonal level consultative phase towards the establishment of the proposed SDG Innovation Hubs. The six selected states include Sokoto (North-West), Gombe (North-East), Enugu (South-East), Delta (South-South), Lagos (South-West) and Nasarawa (North-Central). The consultations in the six geo-political zones were conducted in close partnership with the identified State SDG Offices. These states were selected based on predisposing conditions, such as well-established framework for social protection; robust SDGs implementation mechanisms; accessibility and levels of security challenges. All six identified focal states have committed to providing their SDG offices for the establishment of the zonal innovation hubs.

The SDG Innovation Hubs will serve as a coordinating platform and resource centre on SDGs implementation and innovation for the respective geo-political zones. Due to Nigeria’s diversity, as well as structural challenges faced by sub-national SDG offices, the hubs will focus on the use of innovation and technology to drive and showcase solutions that address some contextual developmental challenges within the zones. Thus, the hubs are expected to develop innovative solutions using social protection to overcome bottlenecks and expand financing options capable of fast-tracking the achievement of the SDGs.

To effectively establish and sustain the SDG Innovation Hubs, the commitment of key private sector actors is crucial, especially in mobilizing expertise and financial resources in support of the hubs. During the zonal consultations, the commitment of the organized private sector was secured. For instance, in Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital, where the sixth stakeholder consultation was held with key stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society and the media, ASG Solar Tech Limited made a commitment to train 1,300 youth on solar energy infrastructure and repairs across the state, in addition to pledging to provide solar energy technology to power the North-Central SDG Innovation Hub. Likewise, in Delta state – Dennis Osadebe University, Asaba pledged to offer their premises towards the establishment of the SDG Learning Centre for the zone.

This initiative is one of the components of the UN Joint Programme on Institutionalizing Social Protection for Accelerated SDG Implementation in Nigeria – a two-year programme targeted at strengthening social protection in Nigeria. This joint programme is being implemented by four UN Agencies: United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF); International Labour Organization (ILO); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and World Food Programme (WFP) – with each agency having a specific component towards realizing the overall outcomes.

The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals has the mandate to coordinate the overall implementation of the SDGs at the national and sub-national levels. This includes advocacy; partnership development; resource mobilisation; and monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, safeguard the planet, and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by the year 2030.

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