On the sidelines of the 2016 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the UN Development Group (UNDG) launched a publication on translating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into practice in 16 countries.
At the launch side event, representatives of the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Montenegro, Pakistan and Sierra Leone presented their experiences and challenges related to SDG implementation.
20 July 2016: On the sidelines of the 2016 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the UN Development Group (UNDG) launched a publication on translating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into practice in 16 countries. At the launch side event, representatives of the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Montenegro, Pakistan and Sierra Leone presented their experiences and challenges related to SDG implementation.
Titled ‘The Sustainable Development Goals are Coming to Life: Stories of Country Implementation and UN Support,’ the UNDG publication reports on early efforts taken by countries to integrate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into their strategies at the national, sub-national and local levels, and on the role played by UN Country Teams (UNCTs) in this process. The countries featured in the publication are: Brazil, Cabo Verde, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Indonesia, Mauritania, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Turkmenistan and Uganda.
Helen Clark, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and UNDG Chair, launched the publication on 20 July 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. She noted that the 16 countries included in the publication are among 95 countries UNDG has been asked to support. Clark highlighted key observations from their experiences, including that: early actions to mainstream the SDGs at the national level are “well underway,” and in a number of countries, initiatives go “well beyond mapping;” high priority is given to tracking and reporting; and some of the most inspiring experiences are coming from countries with complex situations, which embrace the SDGs as part of their solutions.
Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan, said her country: launched its development strategy in 2015, which is fully aligned with the SDGs; is establishing an SDG support unit with the help of UNDP to serve as a platform for national SDG coordination; and will be finalizing an SDG framework by the end of the year. She added that the Parliament of Pakistan established a Secretariat to serve as a resource center for the SDGs, and noted that funding SDGs’ implementation is a challenge. She expressed concern about the “deteriorating core resources” of the UN Development System (UNDS), and called for recalibrating and strengthening the UNDS.
Noting the civil war and the current “post-Ebola” phase in his country, Vandi C. Minah, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone, said the SDGs are a blueprint to move from a state of fragility to a state of stability. He remarked that countries should not define themselves by disasters of the past but by what they want to achieve, and noted that governments will be judged by how they deliver on the SDGs.
Temístocles Montás, Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Dominican Republic, reported that a Presidential decree established the National Commission for Sustainable Development. He added that a national assessment indicates a 72% alignment between SDGs and targets at the global level, and goals and targets at the national level. He also reported that Dominican Republic is finalizing a common methodology to align and integrate the SDGs in the Ministry’s policies and in municipal development plans. He announced the launch of a National Policy on Climate Change and a National Policy on Clean Production and Consumption at the end of July 2016.
Sahar Nasr, Minister of International Cooperation, Egypt, said: the HLPF shows that there is SDG commitment, but commitment and ownership at all levels is needed; civil society needs to monitor implementation and its SDG ownership is important; programmes supported by donors and development partners have to be “home grown;” and there is a need to strike a balance between prioritization, and achieving all 17 Goals. She encouraged other countries to participate to the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the HLPF, as it helps to create momentum and encourages countries to take action, she noted.
Jelena Knezevic, Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Montenegro, said Montenegro adopted a new national sustainable development strategy that goes until 2030, which constitutes a framework for transposing the 17 SDGs and 169 targets. She reported that the SDG global indicators are being integrated in her country’s national monitoring system, that tools such as the ecological footprint will be used, and that a sustainable financing framework is being created to increase budgetary allocation for sustainable development.
Participants also called for: strengthening the capacity of institutions; strengthening data capacity, especially on data collection, interpretation and disaggregation; and greater inclusivity and collaboration at the national level. Jong-moon Choi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, said the UNDG publication helps to understand the context of SDG implementation on the ground.Egypt, Montenegro, the Republic of Korea and Sierra Leone presented VNR reports at the 2016 session of the HLPF, which convened from 11-20 July, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. [The Sustainable Development Goals are Coming to Life: Stories of Country Implementation and UN Support] [HLPF 2016 Website] [IISD RS Coverage of HLPF 2016] [IISD RS Sources] [UNDP Press Release]