Berlin Workshop Facilitates Idea Exchange for 2030 Agenda Implementation
Photo by IISD/ENB | Pamela Chasek
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The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) hosted an “Open SDGclub.Berlin” workshop, including a series of “lab” discussions, through which participants explored options for enhancing SDG implementation.

Discussions highlighted challenges and opportunities related to politics and power, strategies for transformative change, and communicating the 2030 Agenda.

23 November 2016: The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) hosted an “Open SDGclub.Berlin” workshop, which provided a platform for exchanging ideas and developing new networks and initiatives related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The meeting brought together representatives of national sustainable development councils, other multi-stakeholder and advisory bodies, intergovernmental organizations and civil society organizations to focus on challenges and opportunities for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event took place from 21-23 November 2016, in Berlin, Germany.

Through a series of “lab” discussions, each of which was framed with inputs regarding relevant case studies or ongoing projects, participants explored options for enhancing SDG implementation, such as through: advisory bodies; learning platforms and tools for transformation; transnational social cooperation; multi-stakeholder engagement and communication; transnational cooperation by civil society organizations in the context of the High-Level Group on the 2030 Agenda; inserting SDGs into top national policies; networks; data sources and intermediaries; and national implementation reviews. Participants also engaged in discussions with: Rita Schwarzeluhr-Sutter, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety; Thomas Silberhorn, State Secretary, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; and Tanja Gonner, Chair of Management Board Gesellschaft fur Internationale Susammenarbeit (GIZ).

Participants recommended a worldwide “SDG parliamentary day,” to encourage all national parliaments to convene discussions about the 2030 Agenda.

During a wrap-up discussion, Open SDGclub.Berlin participants focused on how to turn the discussions into concrete action to advance the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They highlighted challenges and opportunities related to politics and power, strategies for transformative change, and communicating the 2030 Agenda. On politics and power, participants noted that the SDGs are subject to political priorities and societal powers. Recommendations included to work with civil service employees and encourage initiatives such as a worldwide “SDG parliamentary day,” through which all national parliaments would be encouraged to convene discussions about the 2030 Agenda on the same day. On strategies for transformative change, participants discussed the conditions required for transformative solutions to arise, including how to create a truly multistakeholder approach, how to localize the 2030 Agenda, and how to encourage vertical integration.

On communicating the 2030 Agenda, a number of speakers emphasized the need to involve the private sector as a crucial player, and suggested reframing the narrative used to engage the private sector, from one of altruism to one of risk management and new markets. The role of civil society organizations in keeping other actors accountable and bringing in local level actors was also highlighted. Participants also recommended follow-up actions including holding further such events, with participation expanded to include representatives from advocacy organizations, the private sector and elected officials.

The German Council for Sustainable Development is appointed by the government of Germany on the basis of a triennially renewed mandate and membership. It is a multi-stakeholder body advising government and conducting its own projects and initiatives. [Open SDGclub.Berlin website] [Meeting concept note][IISD Sources]

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