Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
Work with me: seeing that the complex issues contained in the Agenda 2030 are systemic issues that can only be addressed by collaboration between actors from all sectors, how could increased participation and collaborative governance models be leveraged to improve policy outcomes and accelerate progress?
The Topic in Depth
written by Realdo Silaj (AL)
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an action plan adopted by the United Nations (UN) in 2015 aiming to achieve universal sustainability and a prosperous future. The issues covered by the agenda touch every person’s life in a different way, as the issues addressed are cross-cutting and universal.
States widely agree that the SDGs should be implemented, but the diverse nature of the goals and the states themselves, makes their implementation very different. Alongside states, there are many actors involved with the SDGs like international organizations, Civil Society Organisations, local formal and non-formal actors, whose interactions are very complex. Governing this multilevel system is inherently complicated in ensuring accountability and efficiency of the implementation of SDGs. The states stand at the centre of the current model of governing the implementation, but its proven inefficiency has increased the attention to finding new models that include other actors in policy-making, aiming for wider cooperation and more efficiency. For example, states following the 2030 Agenda have agreed to deliver their annual Voluntary National Review, but not all countries comply with this pledge, or are objective in their evaluation, thus calling for new ways to accelerate progress in the 2030 Agenda.
With the state-centred model being ineffective in achieving visible progress, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is now a challenge to the existing forms of implementation and decision-making. Considering the importance and the diverse nature of the SDGs, also noting that Partnership for the Goals is the SDG 17 itself, there is a need to address the issues set out. Firstly, because the commitment by countries to implement the Agenda is voluntary, international actors can't hold them accountable if they fail to implement the agenda. Secondly, the way policies are created and implemented differs between states, and even between regions or cities, thus proving a challenge for the establishment of a universal reporting system. Thirdly, non-state actors are not part of most systems of formal decision-making, while the work of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Expert Groups or Networks and NGOs and often provide more effective actions.
Finally, the interest of states in implementing the SDGs differs from the overarching interest of the UN itself and other actors that push for implementation, because what might be a priority elsewhere, might be considered not as such in another. The key element to understanding why the international implementation of the SDGs is vital, is because the issues in the 2030 Agenda are global and affect each state and person on the planet, though in different ways.
Collaborative governance is a model that brings together in various levels the public and private actors in decision-making, with the aim of producing efficient policies. In this model, vertical collaboration (national to local) and horizontal collaboration (among cities, states, organisations) are both part of an effective governance for the implementation of SDGs. The challenge remains in determining the effectiveness of a governance system which needs to cover the system of accountability, legal framework, transparency and the means of cooperation among all actors. Lessons from current reports show that embracing NGOs and expert-based CSOs’ work into local or national policy implementation is more efficient in achieving progress in the 2030 Agenda. A model of such governance offers an option for all actors to send and receive feedback on the SDGs, with the chance to create and apply efficient policies. Social labs for example are a way of addressing complex systemic problems by bringing together multiple stakeholders to incentivise social change, like the Open Government Partnership organisation, collaboratio helvetica in Switzerland or the Gipuzkoa Lab in the Basque Country, Spain.
Every citizen is impacted by the SDGs, and in the strive for efficient solutions, policies should include all groups of interest. The cooperation of governments as public policy makers, with actors that represent all the groups in the society, adds the voice and ideas of all groups to the cause of implementing the SDGS. All in all, efficient implementation of the 2030 Agenda is directly linked to having an effective framework of cooperation where policy-makers (governments) are accountable for implementing efficient SDG-related policies that cover the needs of all citizens, together with non-state actors in all levels of governance. Your first step into this topic, is in knowing what You are (or not) able to do in that aspect.
created by Daylen Rory Evanmire (GE)
Food for Thought
How can states better integrate the 2030 Agenda in their National Strategies for the implementation of the SDGs?
What can the EU do to incentivise its member states and partner countries to increase the cooperation with non-state actors?
What role should CSOs play in policy-making?
How can sharing of best policies and practices be encouraged in implementing the SDGs at a national and local level?
What larger role can National or Local Parliaments play in implementing sustainable policy, in cooperation with other actors?
Do you think that your local/national government is properly implementing the SDGs, especially those that directly connect with you?
Chris Ansell (2016) Collaborative Platforms as a Governance Strategy, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324130398_Collaborative_Platforms_as_a_Governance_Strategy
Ann Florini and Markus Pauli (2018), Collaborative governance for the Sustainable Development Goals, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/app5.252
Bob Deacon (2016), SDGs, Agenda 2030 and the prospects for transformative social policy and social development, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-international-and-comparative-social-policy/article/sdgs-agenda-2030-and-the-prospects-for-transformative-social-policy-and-social-development/7CDCA25416AD5FD2C3827FF0EB5450F1
Mayo Fuster (2017), Analytical framework of the democratic and procommons qualities of collaborative economy organizations, https://decodeproject.eu/blog/analytical-framework-democratic-and-procommons-qualities-collaborative-economy-organizations, an economic viewpoint of collaborative models.
Matthew Koschmann, “The Collaborative Challenge: Making Quality Decisions Together in the Age of Complexity,” https://youtu.be/iN_A7keXtVg , Video introducing the concept of collaboration and what fosters and challenges it.
European Commission (2016). The Press release on the priorities of the EU in reaching the 2030 Agenda, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_16_3883
SDG Tracker, A graphic demonstration of the progress made so far towards implementing SDG 17, https://sdg-tracker.org/global-partnerships#targets
Circle Forward, 8 Principles for Collaborative Governance Infographic, https://circleforward.us/8-principles-for-collaborative-governance-infographic/
United Nations, “Multi-stakeholder partnerships & voluntary commitments,” Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge Platform, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdinaction
European Committee of the Regions, “Charter for Multi-Level Governance (MLC) in Europe: Charter commitments,” https://portal.cor.europa.eu/mlgcharter/commitments/Pages/default.aspx
European Commission, The Commission’s holistic approach for sustainability and the SDGs, https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/international-strategies/sustainable-development-goals/eu-holistic-approach-sustainable-development_en
United Nations, “Partnerships for the SDGs: Global Registry of Voluntary Commitments and Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships,” https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnerships/about#faq