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Civil Society Report Spotlights Need for Whole-of-Government Approach to SDG Implementation

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The world is not on track to achieve sustainable development, and fundamental policy changes are required to “unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs,” according to a report published by the Civil Society Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The report argues that most governments have not turned the 2030 Agenda into real policies on the ground, and in some cases policies are even moving backwards.

The report calls for more coherent fiscal and regulatory policies, and a whole-of-government approach to sustainability.

The report was launched on 12 July 2018 on the sidelines of the HLPF by DAWN, a global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions.

12 July 2018: The world is not on track to achieve sustainable development, and fundamental policy changes are required to “unleash the transformative potential of the SDGs,” according to a report published by the Civil Society Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The report titled, ‘Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2018,’ describes policies, resources and actions required to implement the 2030 Agenda, and highlights strategies and approaches that deviate from business-as-usual to instead prioritize human rights and respect for planetary boundaries.

The report was launched on 12 July 2018, on the sidelines of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) by DAWN, a global coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs) and trade unions. The authors note that the report is informed by the experiences and reports of national and regional groups, and reflects geographic and cultural diversity.

The report argues that most governments have not turned the 2030 Agenda into real policies on the ground, and, in some cases, policies are even moving backwards. It underscores the importance of: fiscal and regulatory policies and a whole-of-government approach towards sustainability; promotion of policies that benefit sustainable development, human rights and gender justice; ensuring that SDG implementation is prioritized by heads of government and not “hidden in the niche” of environment and development policies; and ensuring that national sustainable development strategies constitute the “overarching framework for all policies.”

The first part of the report summarizes the findings and messages from national “spotlight reports” on redefining policies for sustainable development and alternative national reports that focus on inequality. The second section focuses on cross-cutting policy reform areas that highlight interlinkages between various SDGs, as well as the need to “de-silo” current policy approaches. It discusses: the increasing concentration of wealth and economic power as an obstacle to sustainable development; policies that strengthen the nexus between food, health, ecology, livelihoods and identities; and sustainable peace and development under militarized security approaches.

On SDG 6, the report spotlights the “re-municipalization” of water.

The last part of the report consists of 17 “Spotlights on the SDGs” that highlight selected examples of good or bad policies regarding specific Goals. For example, the report spotlights, inter alia:

the need to mobilize resources for social protection systems for all (SDG 1);
the right to food and nutrition (SDG 2);
the need to strengthen public funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) (SDG 3);
the quest for public funding for education (SDG 4);
women, macroeconomic policies and the SDGs (SDG 5);
the (re)municipalization of water (SDG 6);
pro-poor energy policies (SDG 7);
alternatives to public-private partnerships (PPPs) and increased examples of deprivatization (SDG 9);
invoking extraterritorial human rights obligations to confront extreme inequality between countries (SDG 10);
curbing the consumption of ultra-processed foods and beverages (SDG 12);
climate justice and how climate change battles are increasingly being fought and won in court (SDG 13); and
policies to address the gender dimension of illicit financial flows (SDG 16).

This is the third edition of the Spotlight Report, which is published by members of the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), DAWN, the Global Policy Forum, Public Services International (PSI), Social Watch, the Society for International Development (SID) and the Third World Network (TWN), and supported by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.

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