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What is the Sustainable Development Facility?



The SDF has the objective increasing the sustainable development impact of Sustainable Development Goals by providing the technical services to organizations and project teams in low income countries, free of charge, with all costs being carried by the donor contributions to each SDF project.

The SDF was established by The George Boole Foundation Limited, a non-profit organization, so the profit motive is not a driving force in this initiative. A fundamental objective is to to reduce dependency by enabling communities to address climate change, poverty and sustainability in a practical manner by building competence and self-reliance. By supporting an integrated extension service the SDF will increase the effectiveness of donors and investors to increase the impact of allocated funds on future sustainable development. All funds received are used to deliver:
  • The free provision to organizations in low income countries of an advanced cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) due diligence system supported by a growing family of analytical tools, over a five year period, to identify, design and implement projects in support of Sustainable Development Goals

  • Training in the use of the SaaS system and ongoing technical support of project designs and decision analysis

  • Regular reporting on progress to donors

  • The continued development (design and implementation) of cloud-based software services
The service provides expert orientation and administrative support for both donors and beneficiaries, where beneficiaries are organizations involved in project identification, design and execution.

For further details on the general service benefits for donors and beneficiaries please use the menus above.






Why the SDF needed?

The average failure rate of funded projects has remained at around 35% since the 1990s. This represents an annual loss of around $75 billion. In the case of agricultural projects the failure rate is estimated at 45% of funded projects. This problem is increasing. The United Nations 2019 Sustainable Development Report on progress in Sustainable Development Goals, called attention to the failures of the Agenda 2030 project portfolio with regard to the reduction in income disparity, raising of production sustainability or in lowering the rate of increase in global temperatures.

However, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals does not address agriculture as a single integrated sector but divide relevant factors that contribute to agricultural production and rural population wellbeing into what were formerly cross-cutting issues. Up until 2015, these issues were seldom handled in an effective manner because of the very wide range of emphasis placed on their application as criteria for project funding by different donors. As a result, the analyses applied across the board to sustainability and risk analysis were inadequate. Since 2015, the coordination of the multiple strand represented by the SDGs represent a major challenge for project teams dealing with agricultural projects under conditions of climate change. The objective of improving production sustainability is very complex requiring an integration of technical, economic, environmental and social analyses. Food security, fibre and feedstock production need to be analysed from a production systems perspective to be able to ensure that planning results in truly sustainable production integrating sustainable real incomes of farming families and companies, lower carbon footprints and stablized carrying-capacity of the ecosystem.

To reverse this decline requires that the quality of project design and overall project cycle management and evaluation procedures are made more relevant to rural communities, sector viability and national performance.






How were the SDF service components developed?

The George Boole Foundation established and managed a 10 year applied development programme, the Decision Analysis Initiative 2010-2020, involving leading agricultural project practitioners, evaluators, development economists, applied decision analysts, systems engineers, information technology experts and stakeholders. The participants included practitioners with over 40 years of experience agricultural sectors involving interventions by the FAO, World Bank, European Union and many other development agencies.

This work was supported by two divisions:

The Open Quality Standards Initiative (OQSI) concentrated on the development of due diligence procedures and identification of support tools.

The Systems Engineering Economics Lab (SEEL) designed and built prototypes to OQSI specifications to conduct demonstrations and tests.

The result of this effort was the design and implementation of the SDGToolkit a new project cycle management system with a particular emphasis on projet design to avoid the current performance gaps in SDG projects.






The SDGToolkit, the operational framework of the SDF

The result was the design and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals Toolkit (SDGToolkit) which combines a horizontal sequential due diligence design procedure and a library of analytical tools that provide the necessary analysis for vertical domains and critical factors. These provide the required conversion of existing information into useful evidence for decision making on project design.

Further information on this cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution can be found on the SDGToolkit website.