Mexico was one of the countries to lead on developing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of IRF’s series of interviews on implementation, Gerardo Franco from RIMISP talked to Adolfo Ayuso-Audry from Mexico’s Specialised Technical Committee for the Sustainable Development Goals Information System about how the country was approaching implementation.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are one of the most ambitious development agendas to have been agreed by the international community. Mexico was part of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly that generated the proposals that formed the basis of this new agenda.
RIMISP interviewed Adolfo Ayuso-Audry, the deputy general manager from the country’s Specialised Technical Committee for the Sustainable Development Goals Information System who is ideally placed to explain how Mexico is working towards implementation of the new agenda.
“The implementation of the SDGs is not starting from zero”
Ayuso-Audry explained that the different institutions that have been measuring and monitoring progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are being updated to work on the SDGs.
“The implementation of the SDGs is not starting from zero,” he said. “It considers the previous base accomplished with the creation – since 2010- of the Specialised Technical Committee of the Millennium Development Goals (CTEDSIODM). In Mexico the Committee spent ten years measuring and working with the MDGs.
“This process has been directed by the Presidency of the Republic, along with the Institute of National Statistic and Geography (INEGI) in charge of the Technical Secretary, and the Records Secretariat of the National Population Council (CONAPO)”.
He added that an important characteristic of this Committee is that it has survived independently from changes in the government. This is because it is attached to the Institute of National Statistics and Geography (INEGI), he said, which is a decentralised and autonomous body.
“The great challenge is not only being able to report on progress, but to design policies to accomplish the SDGs”
Ayuso-Audry explained that the Committee are working with all the government offices to carry out an analysis, mapping who will deliver and who is accountable, and identifying which aspects they can measure and which not.
“We also made an analysis of the elements contained in the National Development Plan (PND) 2013-2018 and the Sectorial Plans,” he said.
“Obviously, some elements of the Agenda are part of the PND, others are not. We are examining the way to match them. Also, we are in the process of reviewing the public policies, the sectoral programmes of each State Secretariat and the policies that have been announced (some of them have been initiated, others not). This work has been developed in conjunction with the United Nation Development Program (UNDP). This job is very extensive, however, we think it is very important”.
Three different baskets of indicators
One challenge that is clear from the Mexican process is identifying the indicators which will be used to measure progress on the 169 targets. Ayuso- Audry said that these have not specified yet in Mexico, as they are examining which targets could be measured and which not. There are currently three different baskets of indicators, separating the indicators that are known and can be measured, the ones that can be measured but the number is unknown, and finally the group of indicators which they not know the number and cannot be measured, he explained.
“We want to see how as communicate the SDGs’ message to raise awareness”
Ayuso-Audry told RIMISP that many actors will need to be involved in the process and they are making strategic efforts to engage with state and local governments, civil society and the private sector, for example
“The SDGs Agenda needs the participation of state or municipal governments,” he said. “Many of us think that a better option is to create a national commission including those actors, instead of an inter-ministerial commission, possibly linked to a national sustainability strategy.”
“We are looking at how we can work with governors. In Mexico we have a National Conference of Governors (CONAGO) and a group for municipalities.”
“We want to see how as communicate the SDGs’ message to raise awareness. We are working with civil society and already held the first meeting with the chancellery about reports in international forums with the civil society.”
He highlighted the importance of joint work between the public and private sector, emphasising the key importance of the private sector.
“Public-private partnerships are another pillar. We are convinced that 2030 Agenda will not be met if private initiatives are not involved. So, the Mexican Agency for International Development cooperation (AMEXID) has launched, from its General Directorate for Economic cooperation, a programme in partnership for prosperity.”
He explained that this programme invited different private sector actors to contribute to the 2030 Agenda.
“This is a very long debate, an area that we will have to address. We are confident that from the office of the presidency, we will able to reach large corporations and show the advantages that the 2030 Agenda has for them and the planet. “This aagenda is not for someone in particular, it is every one’s agenda”
A challenging process, with multiple questions
Ayuso-Audry’s responses reveal a challenging process to establish an institutional structure and coordinate the many actors who are crucial to address the 2030 Agenda. Mexico’s institutional framework, which has proved resilient has arguably been a major factor in its jump start on the SDGs.
There is also the technical challenge of identifying the indicators to measure the multiple targets. In the case of Mexico, it sees itself as a leader in the establishment of innovative methodologies for measuring development and is working on tools that it believes could be adapted by other countries.So many questions emerge: which is the best way to coordinate the different institutions involved in the process? How to involve the civil society? Which is the best strategy to engage with the private sector? How to install the agenda at local or regional level?
Of course there are no straightforward answers, but analysing the experiences that different countries will face could give some important inputs.
Vivián Diaz works with IRF partner RIMISP in Latin America.
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