Are we on target for 2030?
In June 2019, a whole host of progress reports on the 17 interlinked Sustainable Development Goals were published across the globe. This is because in July, 47 countries will present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) to the UN High Level Political Forum in New York.
For the first time, the UK Government also presented its VNR, and this has galvanised Government and civil society across the UK to take stock of where we are in the journey to achieving the 2030 Agenda. So are we on target? The answer is mixed, but it also depends on who you ask…
A missed opportunity to lead the way at UK level?
At the end of June, the UK Government’s 234-page document mapping out domestic and international progress towards the 17 interlinked Sustainable Development Goals was published. The report covers all 17 goals, including activity in the UK and internationally.
So what is the verdict? Initial analysis suggests the report lacks analysis, ambition and the perspectives of the most vulnerable. Importantly, the UK Government is yet to set out a vision and plan for how they will achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Developing an inclusive SDG implementation plan, is one of the principle recommendations made in Bond’s comprehensive new report on the UK’s global contribution to the SDGs, which the Alliance contributed towards. We co-wrote the Chapter on goal 17.
Here at the Alliance, we were particularly concerned by the lack of reference to policy coherence and interlinkages between the goals. Despite signposting between different goals, the chapters don’t explore how to improve integrated working across government departments.
In Scotland political commitment is clear, so now it is time for action…
The UK Government VNR includes contributions from the Scottish Government in each chapter. This is welcomed, but the limitations of such an approach are clear and the report does not give a full picture of what is happening in Scotland.
That’s why later in July, the Scottish Government will publish its own supplementary review with a more detailed account of progress in Scotland. The Scottish Government demonstrated commitment to working with civil society in the development of this report by joining a VNR working group with members of Scotland’s SDG Network. However, it remains to be seen how this report shapes up. Watch this space.
At the start of July, another new report was launched by the UWS-Oxfam Partnership. The report is an independent snapshot review of Scotland’s progress against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and includes contributions from a range of organisations, including Scotland’s International Development Alliance.
Overall, the ‘snapshot review’ concludes that whilst there is clear policy and political commitment on all of the goals in Scotland, more needs to be done in order to meet the 2030 targets.
Once all these reports are published, the real work must begin. Next year we enter the ‘decade of delivery’ for the goals, and we must be ready for that. That means comprehensive implementation plans in all parts of the UK for SDG delivery at home and abroad. We will continue to work with our partners across the UK to make sure that happens.