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SDG update - 1 August

1 August 2016 – this week’s SDG Delivery Update compiles news, opinions, reports, and events on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with reports from the High Level Political Forum, and UNDESA's 2016 Global Sustainability Report.

The High Level Political Forum provided the first global opportunity for countries to share progress on implementing the SDG agenda, photo: United Nations Development Programme via flickr.com, creative commons licence.


  • David Waskow and Leo Horn-Phathanothai (World Resources Institute): Making the Links Real: Connecting Development and Climate Action at the Country Level. This WRI commentary, a new long-form digital publication, identifies challenges and solutions for integrating the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement. The authors outline areas where climate and development issues already overlap, fusing into a single challenge, but note that fragmentation of knowledge and action stands as an obstacle to success. They highlight six key challenges to be tackled: 1) vision and narrative; 2) integrated plans, policies and strategies; 3) institutional coherence; 4) a whole-of-society approach; 5) finance; and 6) monitoring and reporting. A related blog by the authors on WRI Insights is also available, here.





  • UNDESA: Overview of institutional arrangements for implementing the 2030 Agenda at national level. This policy brief is a preliminary document that aims to help gather information about institutional arrangements for implementing the SDGs and support a reflection among Member States and with other stakeholders. It takes stock of the various approaches countries are currently taking while identifying common characteristics and common challenges. The document aims to help understand the situation and facilitate future exchanges among countries and other stakeholders. It is released in a draft format with the aim to collect feedback from all. A write-up by IISD is here.


  • UN Statistics Division: The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016. This report presents an overview of the 17 SDGs, using data currently available to highlight the most significant gaps and challenges. The statistics show the importance of using coordinated global data generation efforts to provide a timely, reliable foundation on which follow-up and progress reviews can be based.


  • Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN): SDG Index and Dashboards – Global Report. This report introduces the unofficial SDG Index and Dashboards and summarizes the preliminary results. It creates for the first time a measure of the SDGs’ starting points for 2015 at the country level, and can help every country identify priorities for early action, understand the key implementation challenges and identify the gaps that must be closed in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. In addition to the full report, the datasets for the SDG Index and Dashboards can also be downloaded, here.


  • UNDESA: Global Sustainable Development Report, 2016 Edition. This year’s report, designed as an assessment of assessments, adopts the SDGs as its scope. It endeavors to present a range of scientific perspectives and to be policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive. Like its predecessors, the 2016 GSDR continues to explore possible approaches and vantage points from which to examine the science-policy interface, as well as scientific approaches that can inform policies building upon integration and interlinkages across sustainable development goals, sectors, and issues. Links to individual GSDR chapters and chapter briefs are also available, here.


  • Spotlight on Sustainable Development: Report by the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This report, co-published by DAWN, Third World Network, Social Watch, ANND, and Global Policy Forum, features contributions from a range of think tanks and NGOs, putting a spotlight on the fulfillment of the 17 goals, with a particular focus on inequalities, responsibility of the rich and powerful, means of implementation and systemic issues. Overarching questions include: What are currently the main obstacles to achieving the SDGs? Are there transnational spillover effects that influence or even undermine the implementation of the goals? Are the current policy approaches, as they are reflected, inter alia, in the 2030 Agenda, an adequate response to the challenges and obstacles (or are they part of the problem)? What has to be done? Which specific policy changes (at international level) are necessary?


  • OECD: Development Co-operation Report 2016. This report, launched at the HLPF, explores the potential and challenges of investing in developing countries, in particular through social impact investment, blended finance and foreign direct investment. The report provides guidance on responsible business conduct and outlines the challenges in mobilizing and measuring private finance to achieve the SDGs. Throughout the report, practical examples illustrate how business is already promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. Part II of the report showcases the profiles and performance of development co-operation providers, and presents DAC statistics on official and private resource flows. Related report coverage and articles are available in the News & Blogs section below.


  • UNDESA: Implementing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda: The 2016 Inaugural ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up. Building on the Summary by the President of ECOSOC of the Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up (held in New York from 18-20 April 2016), this publication covers the substantive contributions from a diverse group of participants, including the keynote presentations; the general debate; the interactive dialogue with major institutional stakeholders; and a series of round tables and panel discussions on the themes spanning the entire scope of the Addis Agenda. The publication also contains a summary of side events held during the forum in a separate annex.



  • UNDG: The Sustainable Development Goals are Coming to Life – Stories of Country Implementation and UN Support. This report provides insights into the range of actions and partnerships for the roll-out and implementation of the SDGs at country level, allowing a glimpse into the early efforts of 16 countries and the role United Nations Country Teams play in the process. The paper illustrates how these countries are beginning to integrate the 2030 Agenda into visions, strategies and plans at the national, subnational and local levels. Country efforts include raising public awareness, seeking engagement of different stakeholders, adapting the Goals to national and local contexts, increasing coherence across policy areas and between levels of government, assessing risk and strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms. An IISD summary of the publication’s launch during the HLPF is here.


  • UCLG: Roadmap for localizing the SDGs: Implementation and monitoring at subnational level. This roadmap has been drawn up by the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, UNDP and UN Habitat to support cities and regions to deliver the 2030 Agenda. The roadmap covers a number of important areas of action for local and regional governments in relation to the SDGs, including public awareness-raising, advocacy towards national governments, and implementation and monitoring. "Localization" refers both to how local and regional governments can support the achievement of the SDGs through action from the bottom up and to how the SDGs can provide a framework for local development policy.


  • Christian Aid and InsirAction: Leave No One Behind and Global Equity: Reviewing our Shared Commitments. This paper asks how the SDG commitment to address inequality between countries (as well as within countries) could be dealt with through national reporting. The authors consider this question through the lens of 5 different targets which relate closely to Christian Aid priority themes: Migration; Fossil Fuel Subsidies; Climate Finance; Illicit Financial Flows and Domestic Resource Mobilization. An accompanying blog post by Helen Dennis is available here.


  • SDG Philanthropy Forum and UNDP: Converging Interests: Philanthropy-government collaboration to achieve the SDGs. This draft for consultations at the HLPF uses case studies from Colombia, Kenya, Ghana and Indonesia to offer evidence-based perspectives on how to engage philanthropic organizations in the process of SDG implementation, defining institutional entry points for philanthropic contributions. The paper offers a roadmap which enables participation of the philanthropic sector and other stakeholders, and presents ideas for national SDG review mechanisms.


  • OECD: TOSSD Compendium for public consultation. This overview of current thinking about the aims, structure and features of total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD) is designed to provide information to a wide spectrum of readers and to facilitate interactive feedback regarding challenging questions about TOSSD that urgently need to be addressed. Part I provides a general, easy-to-understand overview of the proposed TOSSD measurement framework – its origins, its purpose, its components, and how it might be structured and implemented across the international system. Part II is composed of a number of “technical specification summaries” outlining in more detail key conceptual and functional aspects of the measurement framework. A write-up by IISD is available here.


  • SD in Action Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 6/7 – June/July 2016. This newsletter covers: events at the HLPF; the science-policy interface; a call for proposals for a UNDESA grant on energy for sustainable development; a global sustainable transport conference to be held in November; and the Co-Chairs’ summary of the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs.








This update is compiled by WRI, a member of IRF — a collaboration of 10 international research institutions providing critical thinking, integrated analysis and raising awareness around the 2030 Agenda. Suggestions for this digest are welcome. Please e-mail Adam Fishman (afishman@wri.org) with items to post, questions or comments. To subscribe to this weekly digest, along with other WRI newsletters, please visit this sign-up page on WRI’s website.