The UK parliament’s international development select committee has published a report on the UK government’s implementation of the SDG agenda following its inquiry, to which IDS Director Professor Melissa Leach gave oral evidence.
Implementing the SDGs at home as well as abroad
The universal scope of the goals means they apply in rich countries such as the UK as well as developing countries, although the committee’s report highlights that questions remain around how exactly they will be implemented in the UK. The report also underlines the need for greater policy coherence across UK government, more clearly defined government departmental responsibilities and a White Paper to review the UK’s approach to aid and development to ensure the effective implementation of the goals and progress against them, both at home and abroad.
Policy coherence for sustainable development
In her evidence to the committee Professor Leach outlined how IDS believes that the Department for International Development (DFID) alongside other UK Government departments should take an integrated approach to the implementation of the goals.
Professor Leach said:
“The committee’s report makes for compelling reading and their recommendations around greater policy coherence and cross-departmental coordination resonate strongly with our own research which suggests that the transformational potential of the SDG agenda will only be realised if there is a focus on all of the goals, not just a few, and the cross-cutting principle of ‘leave no-one’ behind is fully embraced.”
“This must also be underpinned by sustained and long-term investment, which includes the 0.7% aid spending commitment. This will be critical to addressing central challenges such as inequality, marginalisation and sustainability that limit development progress, are at the root of global crises such as the current refugee situation and affect everyone, everywhere.”
Ensuring a participatory process that includes the poorest and most marginalised
IDS research also argues that the subsequent implementation and monitoring of the goals must be an inclusive and participatory process that reaches out to the poorest and most marginalised. Building on the work of the Participate Initiative which sought to bring the voices of people living in poverty into the SDG debates, the Participatory Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) programme aims to foster and support PMA learning processes that enable citizen participation for accountability to be embedded in development policy and practice. Initial work is being undertaken in Egypt, Ghana and South Africa, however the lessons and knowledge garnered through the programme’s activities will undoubtedly resonate more globally.
The SDG agenda the Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
The Least Developed Countries Independent Expert Group, the International Institute for Environment and Development and the ESRC STEPS Centre will host a dialogue on Monday 13 June to discuss the challenges and opportunities that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) create for LDCs and seek ways forward above and beyond the current implementation debate.
IDS alumni are also hosting a series of events in ten countries looking at the implementation of the goals in those countries. From Kenya to Nepal, Mexico and Tanzania, each event has a shared discussion theme: How can low-middle income countries respond effectively to the Sustainable Development Goals and are there knowledge gaps and research capacity issues that need to be addressed?