Civil Society Focus Shifts Toward SDG Advocacy, Implementation
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Civil society reactions to the post-2015 development agenda have begun to shift toward discussion of advocacy and implementation, as indicated in recent articles, blogs and other contributions.

Civil society organizations have presented initial analysis on which future performance can be based, and urged Heads of States and government to adopt firm commitments at the UN Summit for the post-2015 development agenda.

They also continue to address Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators, and to reflect on the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3).

post2015_summitSeptember 2015: Civil society reactions to the post-2015 development agenda have begun to shift toward discussion of advocacy and implementation, as indicated in recent articles, blogs and other contributions. Civil society organizations have presented initial analyses on which future performance can be based, and urged Heads of State and Government to adopt firm commitments at the UN Summit for the post-2015 development agenda. They also continue to address Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators, and to reflect on the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD 3).

No single country performs outstandingly in all goals, and even the “best-performing countries by today’s standards” will need to strive for significant improvements over the next 15 years in order to achieve the SDGs, writes Christian Kroll in an article published by BertelsmannStiftung, Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The publication presents a “stress test” for the SDGs with a color-coded SDG Index analyzing the relative performance of the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for each goal and 34 indicators. The “fit five”—Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Switzerland—“can be considered ready for the SDGs,” the report finds, and are in a good position to foster future improvement. The author identifies fostering an inclusive economic growth model, promoting sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns, increasing renewable energy and addressing injustice as the main challenges for the 34 OECD countries. The publication also presents: a detailed profile of individual country’s strengths and weaknesses; analysis of performance by goal; and best practices for achieving the SDGs, such as Sweden’s example of cutting its already low levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by more than one-third since 2006.

On advocacy and next steps, Beyond 2015 released ‘From Policy to Action,’ which contains key advocacy messages for implementing the post-2015 development agenda. The publication includes seven key messages for Heads of State and Government: an urgent commitment to start implementation of the 2030 Agenda at multiple levels, including clear plans and timelines for participatory implementation; definition of arrangements and responsibilities for coordination and implementation of the agenda to foster policy coherence; allocation of financial resources for implementation; a roadmap for communication and dissemination of information about the agenda at multiple levels; a commitment to and process for civil society engagement; commitment to accountability, follow up and review at multiple levels; and recognition of a universal, interlinked and indivisible agenda.

Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals (SV) and partners announced a 1000-day agenda to identify key actions to address the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and reach those furthest behind in relation to the SDGs. To identify priority actions, ODI and SV issued a call for research papers on Africa, Asia and Latin America to inform three regional dialogues across between January and April 2016.

The We Can Do Better campaign has released an election toolkit for citizens to advocate for action on climate change and environmental sustainability, gender equality and women’s rights and inequality and human rights during Canada’s election campaigns. The toolkit includes background material on what the SDGs’ concept of universality means for Canada, and provides an example of how citizens can engage with candidates to encourage promises and support for national implementation of the SDGs.

“Collective work around the 2030 Agenda has only just begun,” reflects the Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP) Network, which calls for additional commitments to action and accountability. TAP welcomes the 2030 Agenda, including its: people-centered nature; commitment to leave no one behind; commitments to transparency, accountability and participation in follow-up and review processes; and language on fostering peaceful, inclusive and just societies and on good governance and effective rule of law.

After the adoption of the SDGs, effort and attention must focus on designing indicators and ensuring their adoption, reflects Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International, in an article on the World Economic Forum (WEF). She also calls for a continued push for a global initiative to reform the governance of international tax cooperation that involves all international organizations with mandates on tax matters and action on climate change and inequality.

Other contributions evaluate targets, indicators and the SDG agenda. On targets, Jan Vandemoortele finds that the SDGs “contain 169 items, but less than 30 genuine targets,” in a post2015.org blog post. He explains that the majority of the 169 targets lack numerical outcomes, specific deadlines or clear aims, while others place an “exceedingly high” bar.

The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHT) released a report, ‘Measuring Global Health R&D for the Post-2015 Development Agenda,’ that highlights the importance of research and development (R&D) for new and improved drugs and health technologies to achieve the SDG on health. Noting a lack of indicators to monitor progress in global health R&D, the report proposes three such global indicators and complementary national indicators. Global indicators address, inter alia: investment in R&D for health needs; number of new registered health technologies targeting health needs; and R&D expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).

Alex Evans, Center on International Cooperation (CIC), evaluates the post-2015 development agenda using the OECD’s Development Cooperation Report’s ten-point checklist on partnerships in a blog post on Global Dashboard. Evans awards the SDG agenda a “C-minus,” while noting strengths such as the inclusivity of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the SDGs and the potential for effective monitoring of progress towards goals and targets. Among the SDG agenda’s limitations, Evans highlights the lack of: agreed implementation plans and enforcement mechanisms; clarity on roles and responsibilities; clear, focused targets; and resource mobilization.

Additional contributions address specific issues, such as infrastructure and road safety. Liesbeth Casier, IISD, describes the ways infrastructure development will play a role in many SDGs, and outlines how to make the business case for sustainable infrastructure projects that will perform better across asset life-cycles.

The US should use the SDG target on road safety to reach and exceed the high-income country target through initiatives such as ‘Vision Zero’ strategies that aim to design urban mobility systems where traffic deaths are considerable unacceptable, writes Natalie Draisin, the FiA Foundation. Her blog post describes how the US has historically reduced road fatality rates, and recommends further actions to lower fatalities, including sending a high-level US delegation to the Second Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety.

Poor countries cannot fulfill commitments to social protection for all without additional financing, writes Paddy Carter on a blog on the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) website. Carter recommends that donors consider supporting the introduction and expansion of social protection for all in countries that lack sufficient domestic resources in a way that also promotes domestically-owned social protection programmes.

Additional blog posts and articles address FfD 3. The Financial Transparency Coalition welcomes progress on international financial flows (IFF), including language on combating tax evasion and corruption and reducing tax avoidance in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA). Barry Herman of Future UN Development System (FUNDS) highlights the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) and the intergovernmental discussions on FfD through ECOSOC, as two AAAA agreements to follow. [BertelsmannStiftung Report] [Beyond 2015 Policy Brief] [ODI and SV Agenda] [Elections Toolkit] [TAP Statement] [WEF Article] [Post 2015.org Blog Post] [GHT Report Website][Global Dashboard Blog] [IISD Blog] [FiA Foundation Blog] [ODI Blog] [Financial Transparency Blog] [FUNDS Blog]


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