Istanbul, September 4, 2020 - UNDP IICPSD, in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), organized the webinar on the Operationalization of “Skills for an Inclusive Future (S4IF)”. The event was held to share and discuss the principles and structure of the new joint network initiative by UNDP and EBRD.

In 2019, UNDP and EBRD agreed on the establishment of S4IF, a global multi-stakeholder advisory network on inclusive skills development. The overall aim of the network is to unlock the transformative potential of the private sector to prepare underserved populations for the skill requirements of the future. UNDP and EBRD are already engaged in several skills development initiatives that bring in private sector engagement. Enhancing and strengthening such initiatives through S4IF can help advancing the organizations’ priorities, building upon their respective comparative advantages, and serving to the broader skills development ecosystem. S4IF will focus on digital transformation, the future of work, and green economy as its long-term agenda, with a particular emphasis on the inclusion of women, youth, and people in disadvantaged regions. The network will also respond to COVID-19 pandemic as its short-term agenda.

 

During the opening remarks, Mr. Sahba Sobhani, Director of IICPSD, emphasised the strong synergy between UNDP and EBRD, quoted:

 

“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the very timely and promising partnership […] this initiative will build upon the complementary work and success of UNDP and EBRD, so I am very pleased that this was included in the EBRD’s COVID-19 response as one of the initiatives that the bank’s Gender and Economic Inclusion team is leading. UNDP will bring its decade-long expertise not only on private sector engagement in skills development, but also multi-stakeholder partnerships such as the Business Call to Action (BCtA) and the Connecting Business Initiative (CBi). We look forward to the great capabilities of EBRD with over 150 private sector engagement in skills development projects and its multi-billion dollars portfolio of clients and partners.”

 

During the webinar, some of the key features of S4IF for its operationalization, such as: the theory of change; outcome indicators; core service offerings; and value proposition were introduced. The presentation was followed by an active discussion among the participants.

 

Ms. Barbara Rambousek, Director of Gender and Economic Inclusion of EBRD, highlighted the importance and opportunities of partnerships as following:

 

“The pandemic has even exacerbated the need to focus on skills, and the global environment has changed completely in relation to skills […] partnerships remains key to understand where these challenges lie and to be able to jointly respond and react […] we all have our mandates, we all have strengths and advantages, but together we can achieve more […] we start small, but we think big, and I really see the opportunities to expand much further.”

 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the relevance of S4IF has further increased due to its focus on digital and future skills. This webinar provided an opportunity to discuss the operationalization of S4IF with internal and external stakeholders from various backgrounds, and confirmed the strong expectation towards the network initiative in tackling inclusion and skills challenges during the pandemic and beyond. 

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