150 stakeholders gathered in Berlin to strengthen partnerships for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
By Saionara König-Reis – The 5th meeting of Partners for Review gathered 150 participants from 50 countries in Berlin from November 5-7 2018. The meeting offered plenty of opportunities to exchange knowledge, co-create, and strengthen partnerships during the 3 days of intense dialogue between stakeholders of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) who are searching for creative solutions to accelerate positive change for the lives of people and for the conservation of our planet.
This is the second time that Dianova International has been represented at this meeting, increasing our capacity to overcome the common challenges faced by us and our peers in government, civil society and private sector. Our representative, Saionara König-Reis, moderated a session on Institutional Mechanisms for Policy Coherence, discussing concrete cases in which governments are breaking silos across their ministries and the different sectors in society to deliver better services for people on SDGs implementation and review.
Other issues addressed during the meeting included the Voluntary National Review (VNRs) processes, including perspectives on the upcoming HLPF reform and the different roles and opportunities for engagement at the various levels (international, regional, national and local). The data challenge was also addressed from an inclusive perspective, highlighting cases in which National Statistics Offices (NSOs) are partnering with the broader group of stakeholders in society to build more comprehensive capacities for data production and SDGs reporting.
In addition to having the opportunity to exchange practices and views on the different issues pertaining to the implementation and review of the 2030 Agenda, the meeting provided a space for peer support and co-creation of solutions to problems faced by stakeholders in these processes. We used this opportunity to go deeper into a long-standing challenge in regards to the engagement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in the review of the SDGs, exploring the following question with our peers: how can we leverage citizen-generated information (including data, stories, statistics, etc.) to boost the official follow-up processes of SDGs reporting at national and subnational levels?
Some key insights on this discussion indicated that both sides (governmental institutions and external stakeholders) need to be open to build a trusting relationship in which governments fell comfortable to show shortcomings and ask for help, and that CSOs see that their inputs are valued in the process. For that to happen, we need to work on creating the official means for meaningful participation by providing access to information and capacity building opportunities; including CSOs in the processes at an early stage; having clear and transparent criteria for participation; and demonstrating how external inputs are taken into account. On the other hand, CSOs can make constructive contributions in areas still untapped by governments – such as collecting the voices of people on the ground and having exclusive expertise in some SDGs indicators – helping to build a more comprehensive framework for SDGs delivery and monitoring.
Whereas we may not have had the time during those few days to come up with a full set of solutions for such a complex question and the other issues we discussed, this seems like a good way to start.
And in fact, while many questions remain unanswered and conversations about challenges and opportunities to achieve the SDGs by 2030 are still ongoing, meetings like this renew our energy and open our minds for new ways of working together – and more effectively – with the tools we already have. And we have to move faster, because the people and the planet can no longer wait.