UK businesses and civil society organisations lead the way in implementing the SDGs in the UKThursday 14 December
It’s been two years since the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed by world leaders, but the UK still does not have a coherent or compelling plan for how it is going to achieve them.
So Bioregional, together with the other partners of the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) network, have decided to write their own plan.
At the beginning of December, the UK Government committed to producing a report on how it will address the SDGs for the United Nations in 2019. This report, known as a Voluntary National Review, is already long overdue. Waiting until 2019 will slow down the momentum that has been starting to build in the UK.
UKSSD’s multi-stakeholder-led national plan for the SDGs aims to fill this gap. The plan will have 17 chapters, each one devoted to one Goal. It will show where the UK is falling short against the SDG targets, the opportunities they present, and the challenges we will need to address to achieve them. Together, the UKSSD network will present it to the UN’s High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Developments in New York at a dedicated launch event in July 2018.
UKSSD Network Director and Co-chair Emily Auckland says:
“We often hear about UK showing international leadership on climate change, but to date, this has not been the case for the SDGs. The government’s unwillingness to adopt, or even discuss, how we can achieve the SDGs at a national level has been very disappointing. Ministers seem to see them as only being relevant to UK overseas aid. There have been inquiries from select committees and each time the same recommendations are made – for joined-up and comprehensive leadership from Government.
“We need this so all of us can play our part in achieving the Goals. With the UKSSD network we have an opportunity to demonstrate UK leadership on the SDGs by producing the world’s first stakeholder-led national action plan to implement the SDGs.
“The plan we are developing is designed to provide a politically neutral foundation for the Government in the UK to develop its own version. We hope it will want to work with us to do so.”
Why do the SDGs matter to the UK?
The 17 wide-ranging SDGs were developed in a ground-breaking way with civil society organisations, including Bioregional, and agreed by world leaders in 2015.
They provide a golden opportunity to help nations make sustained progress on addressing climate change – both individually and collectively.
The SDGs recognise how the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability are interconnected. There is a standalone Goal on tackling climate change, Goal 13: “Take urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts”. But they acknowledge that national policies and global programmes on climate change won’t be effective if they are devised in isolation; they need to join up with action on poverty reduction and inequality, health, education and so on.
They also recognise the roles and responsibilities of all – governments, business, civil society and citizens – in creating positive and necessary changes. And they are meant to apply everywhere, in countries rich and poor.
The built environment industry has big part to play in contributing to achieving these Goals, with carbon emissions from buildings accounting for around a third of global carbon emissions.
About the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development
UKSSD is a wide-ranging network of business and civil society organisations that share the belief that the SDGs are a golden opportunity to solve the deep and challenging sustainability problems we face in the UK. Bioregional is proud to have helped set up UKSSD, and is now co-chair.
If you would like to get involved in supporting the development of this plan – and in helping the UK to become a fairer, happier nation, while living within planetary limits, you can sign up to contribute your expertise to the plan or join the UKSSD network.
Register your interest here.