Edward John-Bull is Director of CAFOD partner Caritas Sierra Leone which has led on the creation of a coalition supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He attended the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development with the government of Sierra Leone, which presented its SDG implementation strategy for review at the meeting.
As the first major UN conversation since the Sustainable Development Goals were agreed in September 2015 wrapped up in New York, it may have come as a surprise that a country left in a fragile state by the wreckage of civil war and Ebola would be amongst the first to volunteer its plans for implementation to scrutiny – like a footballer with a broken leg putting themselves forward to take a penalty.
Yet Sierra Leone is one of only 22 countries to have presented their strategy for the delivery of the goals for review at the meeting. A coalition representing private, NGO and government sectors is working to take advantage of Sierra Leone’s willingness to act as a guinea pig and ensure that the country ‘walks the talk’ on the SDGs.
Caritas Sierra Leone, with the support of CAFOD, created the Sierra Leone Coalition 2030 in January. This has provided one strong voice for civil society organisations to influence the government in designing, monitoring and following-up on the implementation of the SDGs. We have three key activities: to ensure that the voices of people who have been left behind are heard; to educate people about the SDGs; and to work closely with the government as an instrument of accountability.