Archive for the ‘post-MDGs’ Category

Implementing the SDGs: a new opportunity for civil society-government dialogue

December 7, 2016

With Agenda 2030 agreed just last year, 2016 marks the first year of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During this first year, CAFOD has been working with southern partners to support implementation plans at national level. With 14 years left to achieve them all, one thing is clear: the process to implement the SDGs is creating new platforms for dialogue between civil society and governments. And the encouraging part is that in many countries, governments are actually listening.

Let’s agree that the SDGs aren’t perfect, but they’re still a great plan for the world. They offer an opportunity to do things differently. As CAFOD’s animations show, we see four transformational shifts with the SDGs: 1) they are universal, so no more “you there”, “we here”; 2) they give us a plan to integrate social, economic and environmental solutions (at last!); 3) they tell us to do all of this while leaving no one behind; and 3) to make sure that we do it in an open, inclusive  and participatory way all the way through.

A few lessons so far…

During 2016, CAFOD supported five partners across 3 continents to be part of SDG implementation processes at national level. Our support model follows three simple stages: 1) discuss, learn and understand what the SDGs are; 2) create the tools and structures needed to participate effectively; and 3) build strong and reliable relations with policy makers.

First SDG workshop organised by Caritas Sierra Leone to form Sierra Leone Coalition 2030

First SDG workshop organised by Caritas Sierra Leone to form Sierra Leone Coalition 2030

In the last months, some partners have been organising workshops for marginalised communities to learn about the SDGs or training sessions for journalists to write about them. Others have created new coalitions, or joined existing ones, to speak with one single voice. A few have done technical research to make sure that they have reliable data to better monitor any real progress and hold governments to account. Other examples include:

In Sierra Leone, our partners have created a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs). Sierra Leone Coalition 2030 is now the SDG focal point and the formal organisation to talk with the national government. Having a coalition has shown to be extremely effective. It has helped organisations to learn from each other instead of competing between each other; the government has formally included them in the process; and it has allowed smaller organisations (those usually left behind) to have a voice. (see @coalition_2030)

In the DRC, CSOs see Agenda 2030 as the vision for the future of their country, something they say their government doesn’t have – and something to “finally aspire to”. Some of our partners in the Eastern provinces of the DRC have been using the SDGs to strengthen their programmatic work by aligning their strategies with goals and targets. They say the SDGs are helping them link different areas of work that’re usually treated separately. For example, education and health with sustainable agriculture. And their government is listening. (see @CaritasCongo)

In Zimbabwe, our partners have been training journalists to cover the SDGs in a way that helps them frame complex issues for the public. For instance, the link between the current droughts and gender inequality could be explained better through the SDGs. (see @PRFTZim).

In Bolivia and Bangladesh, our partners are focusing on training local community leaders, women’s rights organisations, indigenous groups, trade unions or communities representing people with disabilities, to better frame their demands from a human rights perspective. Others see the SDGs as a useful tool to enforce existing legislation at local level, such as the Disability Act in Bangladesh. (see @redunitas and ADD Bangladesh)

Caritas Delegation at the UN HLPF in New York, July 2016

Caritas Delegation at the UN HLPF in New York, July 2016

In addition, CAFOD is also working in collaboration with the Caritas Internationalis confederation to ensure national Caritas organisation influence their governments on national SDG implementation in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana (see report).

The results are mixed, yet positive. Above all, they show one very clear thing: the process to implement the SDGs is opening new opportunities for good dialogue among and between CSOs and government. Seizing these opportunities and making the best of them is now up to us.

Joint working and collaboration is key. If you or your organisation is working on SDGs in one of these countries, drop me a line: dmartinez@cafod.org.uk

The SDGs and Pope Francis: it’s a wrap

October 13, 2015

This blog is a reflection on my time at CAFOD and the recent adoption of the SDGs, so it’s a bit longer than usual. While the real work for change at the national level is in many respects only just beginning, it’s a good moment for me to share some thoughts on what I’ve learnt over the last three years, what has changed, and opportunities and challenges ahead.

(more…)

The Sustainable Development Goals and Laudato Si’

September 17, 2015

Next week, world leaders at the UN will formally adopt 17 new Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs build on the Millennium Development Goals with the aim of eradicating extreme poverty, tackling inequality and taking action on climate change as part of wide-ranging commitments to sustainable development.

Earlier this year, Pope Francis released Laudato Si’, an encyclical on integral human development which adds to the Catholic Church’s body of teaching. Laudato Si’ is unique in its intention to influence international politics and the multilateral agreements they produce. As a major UN outcome, how do the SDGs meet the challenge set by Laudato Si’?

(more…)

Will Addis Ababa fire the starter gun for a new approach to sustainable development?

July 12, 2015
ban ki moon addressing csos

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addressing hundreds of civil society organisations

Thousands of delegates have descended on a rainy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the third International Conference on Financing for Development. This is the first in three UN Summits this year that will show how much governments are willing to rise to the current global challenges, including climate change, ongoing poverty, hunger and inequality.

It is the chance to present an ambitious and transformative agenda to tackle structural injustices in the global economic system, to ensure that all development is people-centred for current and future generations and to protect the environment.

Addis presents the starter gun for the journey over the next six months that ends up in Paris in December for the climate change negotiations. AS Ban Ki Moon said to civil society groups today, a successful outcome in Addis is crucial for success in everything else.

(more…)

Laudato Si’: the Pope’s call to action on sustainable development

June 22, 2015
Pope Francis in Palo, Philippines,

Pope Francis in Palo, Philippines, January 2015.

Encyclicals are letters to the Catholic Church outlining the thinking of the Pope and in this case of the Bishops of the world. They do not normally generate global media interest and get leaked ahead of time. But like so much done by Pope Francis, this encyclical bucks the trend.

Its chosen theme – on care for our common home – is a direct plea to stop destruction of the planet and protect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people and communities. In a first for a papal encyclical, it calls on everyone – not just Catholics and people of faith – to protect the climate as a common good; a system that it essential for human life.

(more…)

What if? Scenario planning for post-2015

April 21, 2015

CAFOD has written a discussion paper on potential scenarios for 2015. Download it here and share your thinking in the comments section below >> What if Scenario Planning discussion paper

Negotiations across three processes at the UN are now in full swing. 2015 was always going to be a busy year for multilateralism, with the Financing for Development conference in July, the Post-2015 Summit in September, and the UNFCCC COP 21 in December. Big outstanding questions remain on how this year is going to deliver ambition across multiple fronts.

Which scenario do you think is most likely?

Which scenario do you think is most likely?

(more…)

Can we reach a principled approach to public-private finance?

April 10, 2015

In a year of major UN Summits on development finance, sustainable development goals (SDGs) and climate change, the topic that has dominated the discussions has been on the role of the private sector and the finance that it can provide and finance that can be channelled through it.

This is clearly controversial with some groups arguing that no development finance should go through the private sector, while others see it as the panacea to “crowd-in” as much private sector involvement as possible.

Whichever side you’re on (or somewhere in the middle), one thing is clear – that the role of the private sector is likely to increase significantly in all forms of development in the forthcoming years, and certainly within the lifetime of the new SDGs.

(more…)

The good, the bad and the meaningful – measuring what matters in the Energy SDG

April 1, 2015

Sinteyo at the Community Based Green Energy Project, Isiolo, Kenya

This week’s The Economist bemoans the list of potential Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets under discussion at the UN as “sprawling and misconceived”.

Most people would agree that 169 is a lot of targets. But whether you also agree with The Economist’s view that the SDGs are being “set up to fail” – and whom/what is to blame – the discussion at the UN has moved on.

On the table now are a list of potential indicators to measure progress on the targets compiled by the UN Statistical Commission. While this may seem like one for the technocrats, given the old management adage that “what gets measured gets done“, it is also a crucial discussion for civil society to watch.

(more…)

Inequality matters. The post-2015 agenda must matter too.

November 25, 2014

Next year, governments will come to the end of a long process to agree a new development agenda to replace the MDGs. A key demand from civil society from the earliest days of this process is that the growing problem of global inequalities should be centre stage of this new vision; many governments have joined this call. The MDGs concentrated on averages, so it was easy to hide large and growing gaps. The post-2015 agenda has the opportunity to set that right.

Growing inequalities are a problem because they undermine the very fabric of society. As Pope Francis tweeted, “inequality is the root of social evil.” Inequalities make it more difficult to break the cycles of poverty and exclusion, and move us away from a world of dignity and inclusion. Inequality is not sustainable; exclusion leads to conflict.

The richest 85 people now have the same amount of wealth as half the world's population

The richest 85 people now have the same amount of wealth as half the world’s population

(more…)

Digesting ‘Food for thought’ – the post-2015 roadmap

November 20, 2014

Following informal discussions on modalities for the final phase of negotiations on the post-2015 agenda, the Kenyan and Irish co-facilitators have released a ‘food for thought’ paper which outlines the shape of the year ahead. It’s framed as a think-piece and so open to change, but holds some important jigsaw pieces. While outstanding questions are still to be answered, it nonetheless allows us to start to piece together the puzzle of 2015. January to June is the final window to influence, before a series of high level summits decide our global development trajectory for the coming decades. Below is an analysis of the key points.

Updated roadmap with confirmed dates - 09/12/2014

Updated roadmap with confirmed dates – 09/12/2014

(more…)