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The Sustainable Development Goals: it’s time for you to get involved!

Mon 25th September 2017 - Sustainable Development Goals

On this day in 2015, 193 UN member states gathered in New York to sign up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It’s the closest the world has come to a global strategy for tackling poverty, inequalities and climate change, and the SDGs have quickly become one of the world’s most talked about agendas.

On an international level, these goals are practically the only game in town. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Scotland and the rest of the UK. Whilst countries like Denmark are assessing all new legislation in relation to its impact on the SDGs, Scotland’s progressive rhetoric on the goals is yet to be matched by real action.

This has prompted a coalition of people and organisations to come together to fill the void in domestic leadership and to ensure the opportunity is not missed. Scotland’s SDG Network – which hosts representatives from Scotland’s domestic and international civil society organisations – is now entering an exciting stage in its efforts to mobilise the sector around the Sustainable Development Goals.

In the past few months the Network has met to discuss the challenges we face in progressing this agenda, collated ideas to overcome these to form a mobilisation plan, and members have now agreed a way forward to work with the rest of the sector, business and government. I can easily say that I’ve never worked with a group of people so committed and willing to step up and share ideas for moving us forward. From offers to develop the Network’s lobbying plans to creating links with the third sector and private sector, there’s a real sense of positivity with little time to waste.

It’s a collaborative effort and we need this to grow. With your help, we can not only ensure the SDGs are progressed in Scotland, we can also ensure these reflect our sector’s needs and interests. Take a look at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. If you work in any of these areas, in any role – comms, policy, services, leadership – then get involved now!

If you think the Network isn’t for you, there are also plenty of other ways to get involved:

  1. Tomorrow (Tuesday 26 September 2017) one of our Network members is running a free training session on using the SDGs at a community levelsign up here. More training sessions will be coming up so keep an eye on Scot to stay up-to-date.
  1. Members of the Network hold regular events on the SDGs and are often looking for speakers and input into the sessions – you can register your interest in speaking at a future SDG themed event.
  1. If you’re writing policy papers, reports or position papers, or are engaging with parliamentarians, you should reference your work in relation to its impact on the SDGs. The goals have cross-party support, they feature throughout Scotland’s Programme for Government, and the new National Outcomes (to be published later this year) will also align with the SDGs.
  1. The SDGs provide us with a global framework, yet each nation must decide its own priorities for achieving the goals by 2030. Tell us your priorities for one or more of the goals by taking part in our blog series, ‘Scotland’s Goals’. Entries will be posted on a number of channels including the SCVO blog and scot. If you’d like to take part, please get in touch!

The coming months are a crucial next stage for the SDG Network in Scotland. By January 2018, we want to see a network that is visible, active and shares a collective voice on the goals. By getting involved now, you can help us to work as a collective voice in empowering communities and organisations to make use of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 Note: to take part in today’s day of action please use #ACT4SDGs in all your social media communications.

This blog was written by Paul Bradley, co-coordinator of the Open Government Pioneers Project within Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO). The project uses the UK’s membership in the Open Government Partnership, and Scotland’s new status as a pioneer for open government, as a mechanism for promoting and securing dialogue and debate between people, communities and government in the pursuit of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (the Global Goals).