Panama – Sumarse

What is Panama doing with respect to the SDGs and how have they engaged business around this agenda?

The Republic of Panama has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a roadmap for national development through the Executive Order No. 393 of September 2015. Acting as the starting point for SDG national action, this order provides the governance framework for the public sector on how to contribute to the 2030 Agenda. The country also articulated a clear vision to drive substantial and meaningful action for the SDGs in the National Strategic Plan with a State Vision – Panama 2030 released in 2017.

Using the 2030 Agenda to guide and inform governmental action and policies, Panama presented its first Voluntary National Report at the 2017 UN High-Level Political Forum. The report emphasizes Panama’s progress in establishing a regulatory and institutional framework for the implementation of the SDGs, carrying out a process of alignment between the Goals and the Government’s policies and programs, as well as making an inventory of the country’s indicators and their current status as the basis for the development of its monitoring and follow-up system.

Throughout the development of its Voluntary Report, Panama carried out an internal diagnosis on the current state of our efforts with respect to the SDGs, providing the opportunity to evaluate progress and identify existing gaps. This exercise gave a clear picture of where the country needed to focus its efforts to catalyze greater for sustainable development. Panama reaffirms its commitment to the SDGs as the country prepares to present the its second Voluntary National Review report to the UN in July 2020, taking stock of the achievements made in the first five years (with particular attention given to poverty reduction).

In parallel, Panama’s Ministry of Commerce and Industries (MICI) led the creation of a National Social Responsibility and Human Rights Plan to encourage and facilitate companies that sign strategic public-private alliances with the government to engage and effectively contribute to the sustainable development of Panama.


What are some of the key trends with regard to how business is engaging with the SDGs in Panama?

The importance and business case of the SDGs is well understood by Panama’s private sector, with a view to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable world. With the support of Panama’s government and Sumarse, companies across the country are engaged in a national movement  to tackle key sustainable development challenges, including  developing a more inclusive and diverse society, by engaging in the inclusion of people with disabilities, promoting gender equality and the prevention of violence in the workplace, supporting climate action and the reduction of inequalities.

The private sector has enhanced its efforts to integrate the SDGs in business and sustainability strategies by identifying specific contributions and prioritizing the SDGs where it can achieve greatest impact. These trends are materializing through increasing alignment of corporate disclosures with the SDGs following the recommendation of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Mirroring other Latin American countries, Panama formally introduced in 2019 a Public-Private Partnership Regime for development to incentivize private investment, social development and job creation. This first-level legal framework that orders and formalizes the formula for the private sector to invest, with the prospect of reasonable profitability, in public initiative projects, expanding the State’s options to meet social needs.

July was declared as the month of the SDGs by the government of Panama This initiative aims at raising awareness on the Goals and sustainable development among the public, including the national business community, but also to foster capacity-building activities to drive meaningful SDG action. Personalities from the private sector and the civil society are appointed SDG ambassadors to foster dialogue and engagement of all stakeholders.


What is Sumarse doing with respect to the SDGs?

Sumarse aims to help businesses in Panana to integrate the SDGs into sustainability strategies and business modelds. We do this through five types of activities that consistently and systematically drive business engagement with the SDGs: raising awareness, building capacity, providing leadership and sharing of best-practices, and offering a platform for multistakeholders partnership and policy dialogue. Each of the five workstreams are closely connected and build on the outcomes of each other.

Through our work program, Sumarse contributes specifically to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 5: Integrate the Women´s Empowerment Principles to their sustainability and business strategies.
  • SDG 8: Support companies in aligning business strategies with sustainability and identify opportunities and risks to contribute to the 2030 agenda and the SDGs.
  • SDG 10: Raise awareness and foster multidimensional capacity-building for human rights including Human and Business Rights, Poverty, Children’s Rights, People with Disabilities, Inclusion and Diversity.
  • SDG 16: Raise awareness in the private sector of Corporate Governance, Ethics and the role of Board of Directors.

To accompany business in their sustainability efforts, Sumarse encourage and support companies in using key globally recognized SDG and Human Rights resources for business, including the SDG Compass, the SDG Blueprint, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, the Women’s Empowerment Principles, the E Learning Platform Red Integrarse.


More information

To learn more about Sumarse’s approach and work, please visit our website:

More information on Panama and the SDGs: UNDP Panama, Panama VNR page.

Contact: Bruno Basile, Director Ejecutivomailto:

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