A partnership of research institutions
from around the world supporting
change for a sustainable future

IRF retreats in Liberia and Colombia debate the way forward for countries on the SDGs

We are two years into the global commitment to end poverty, combat inequality and shift the world onto a sustainable development pathway by 2030. Countries are settling down to the business of deciding what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mean for them and how they can contribute to achieving them. 

Retreat participants

Whether from government or civil society, those working to make the vision of the 2030 Agenda a reality are seeking opportunities to learn from each other and work across national boundaries, particularly at regional and sub-regional levels.

To support this interest and demand, IRF is organizing a series of regional retreats for senior government officials and their non-governmental and regional partners. The first of these retreats were held in Liberia in September 2017 and Colombia in October 2017, each co-hosted by the government of those countries. Further retreats in Asia and Europe are now being planned.

The Liberia retreat included government and civil society participants from eleven African countries, with representation as well from several regional organizations. The discussions focused on two major SDG-related challenges for Africa: achieving inclusive and sustainable growth, and accountability for transformative governance. As discussed in this blog by retreat facilitator Rosebell Kagumire, one issue of particular interest was how to transform the agriculture sector to make it a reliable engine of inclusive growth. Participants shared many examples of both good practices and continuing challenges; these are being documented in an upcoming IRF research report.

The Colombia retreat focused on sharing experiences on how Latin American countries are integrating the 2030 Agenda into national policy frameworks and sustainable development strategies. The thirty participants represented the governments of twelve Latin American and Caribbean countries. Discussions revolved around issues identified in a scoping paper prepared ahead of the retreat (available in Spanish or English). Participants shared information on how their countries were approaching integration of the Agenda, and identified emerging best practices from around the region. These have been documented in a policy brief from SEI available in both English and Spanish. For more information about the brief, read SEI's news announcement.

The retreats both generated suggestions on future activities in support of experience sharing and capacity building. In addition to planning additional retreats in Europe and Asia, over the coming year IRF will be exploring with regional partners opportunities to follow up on those ideas.