During a side event on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Colombia and Finland, participants exchanged views on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation at the country level.
Speakers highlighted operational challenges including communicating the SDGs and implementing them in an integrated way.
14 July 2016: During a side event on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Colombia and Finland, participants exchanged views on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation at the country level. Speakers highlighted operational challenges including communicating the SDGs and implementing them in an integrated way.
The event, organized by the Permanent Missions of Finland and Colombia, took place on 14 July 2016, in New York, US, on the sidelines of the 2016 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Titled ‘Developing Institutional Mechanisms to Deliver Action and Engage Stakeholders – Sharing Good Practices Between Colombia and Finland on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda,’ the event highlighted findings of a joint workshop on SDG implementation organized in June 2016 in Bogotá, Colombia.
Opening the meeting, Kai Sauer, Permanent Representative of Finland, said his country and Colombia have been cooperating at the political and expert levels since 2015 to share good practices and facilitate mutual learning on the national implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Sauer noted that both countries already have institutional mechanisms in place for implementation. He added that in Denmark, 8% of the population is familiar with the SDGs, and expressed interest in how many citizens in other countries are aware of the Goals.
Annika Lindblom, Secretary-General, Finland’s National Commission on Sustainable Development, said SDG implementation in her country is based on a multi-stakeholder approach, including through the National Commission, a Prime Minister-led partnership forum that has been operating in Finland for 23 years. Coordination for SDG implementation being led by the Prime Minister’s Office, she said, makes it easier to engage all line Ministries and stakeholders. Lindblom reported that the Finnish Development Policy Committee and the National Commission on Sustainable Development are working together to strengthen and improve policy coherence between follow-up and review processes on sustainable development and development. She also highlighted the importance of both high-level political support, and of communicating the SDGs, saying Finland has found it useful to utilize social media, organize parties to recognize champions of SDG implementation, hold other SDG events, and collaborate with NGOs on communication activities.
Felipe Castro, Colombia’s Inter-Institutional Commission for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, underscored the need for the SDGs to “complete the unfinished business” of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in his country, including on gender equality and HIV/AIDS. He added that Colombia is working on linking the 2030 Agenda to other processes, including the national peacebuilding process, and reported that the 32 Departments of Colombia (sub-national entities) have included the SDGs in their development plans. On communication, he said 12% of the population in Colombia is aware of the 2030 Agenda, according to a perception survey, and his country is seeking to raise SDG awareness through media and other initiatives. He supported Finland’s remark on the importance of political leadership for implementation, noting that in Colombia, the President is well aware of the SDGs and supportive of actions taken at the technical level to foster implementation.
Mathilde Bouye, World Resources Institute (WRI), highlighted key observations from a WRI study on 15 SDG experiences. She noted that the SDG localization process is critical, and only a few of the countries examined used the localization process to assess synergies between SDG targets, or developed sustainable development indicators.
Javier Cortés Fernández, UN Global Compact, highlighted the need to create capacities to internalize SDGs in companies and to understand SDGs’ added value. He noted the usefulness of the SDG Compass, a tool developed jointly by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to provide guidance for companies on how they can align their strategies and measure and manage their contribution to the SDGs.
Additional questions discussed by participants included: how to include people with disabilities, children and youth, and indigenous peoples; how to get skeptical political parties “on board” for SDG implementation; and how to link human rights agendas with the 2030 Agenda at the national level.
Finland and Colombia are among the 22 UN Member States that will present Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the 2016 session of the HLPF, the first year in which VNRs are taking place. The HLPF is convening from 11-20 July, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and the VNR presentations will take place from 19-20 July. [Side Event Information] [Concept Note] [HLPF Website] [IISD RS Coverage of HLPF]