On 31 July, the Department for International Development (DFID) asked UKSSD to invite a small group of Measuring up authors to a meeting to explore its proposals for its report on the Sustainable Development Goals in 2019.  

The meeting, hosted by the team responsible for the Governments implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), involved UKSSD stakeholders and members of the Bond NGO network.

At the meeting, Neil Briscoe, Deputy Director and Head of Global Partnerships Department at DFID confirmed that there is growing interest across the Government in the SDGs. Increased awareness within other departments is helping support better integration of the SDGs in Single Departmental Plans – the Governments main approach to implementing the SDGs.  As we’ve previously highlighted, this is problematic so it’s positive that awareness is increasing, though the latest revision of the plans still fails to address our concerns in full.

DFID’s plans for the Voluntary National Review

Last year we welcomed the Government’s commitment to reporting progress on the SDGs in the UK, through a process known as a Voluntary National Review (VNR), at the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2019.

Having attended this year’s HLPF it’s clear the DFID team responsible for the VNR are keen to produce a thorough and honest report – though no doubt this will be shaped by political will. They were interested in hearing about creative and innovative approaches to the presentation of the report, including having young leaders speaking or having sections produced by stakeholders.

The Minister has signed-off their recommendations that the VNR reports on all SDG Goals and Targets, uses the themes of the 2019 HLPF and takes a data driven approach. All things we would broadly support.

Out the meeting, we joined with Bond to make a number of recommendations, these are:

  • We expect the UK Government to cover all the Goals for the full report, and to look at progress against targets
  • The VNR should look at interlinkages between the Goals and how to take them forward
  • The VNR needs to review progress, eg what have the SDGs changed
  • The focus is on domestic delivery but the VNR also needs to consider the UK’s global impact on SDGs through its footprint eg trade, consumption, modern slavery reporting, and the alignment of its Overseas Development Assistance
  • Stakeholder engagement is critical, however it is already late in the day in terms of process for stakeholders so it needs a defined methodology, budget etc
  • The report needs to be accessible and available to different audiences
  • The process needs to engage at the regional and devolved level

How stakeholders can contribute

We’re still waiting for clarity on plans for the consultation on the VNR and will continue to talk about this with DFID. It’s vital that stakeholders are viewed as active participants and that they can contribute in a meaningful way.  

We’ll share any news we have as it develops but if you’re not already a Partner of UKSSD consider joining today so you can work with us to drive action on the SDGs.