Key Actions for Country Progress on SDG 16+

E-Consultation to shape the Global Alliance's SDG 16+ Report for HLPF 2019

Key actions for country progress on SDG 16+

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1. Ensure implementation mechanisms for SDG 16+  are fit-for-purpose 

Goal 16 requires countries to strengthen institutional mechanisms to gather data, plan and monitor policy efforts and deliver outcomes, based on their context. Ensuring that there is coordination across different ministries in developing sectoral strategies, collecting data, and reporting on progress are essential for fostering peaceful, just, and inclusive societies. However, it is a challenge to establish effective mechanisms to achieve SDG 16 + specifically, which means harmonizing the actions of a range of agencies across a system. To motivate institutions to participate in systems to collect and analyse relevant data, officials need to understand the benefits of collecting data and how it will improve the efficiency of their institution’s work.

 

2. Utilize human rights mechanism to achieve the SDGs

Many of the SDG targets are already aligned with human rights standards. Where there are gaps, they need to be closed, for instance, by aligning countries’ SDG implementation policies with their human rights commitments. National Human Rights Institutions can monitor implementation of the SDGs in a human rights-based manner and support civil society and marginalized groups to engage in the process of SDG planning, monitoring, implementation and reporting. National coordination bodies for Universal Periodic Review/Human Rights reporting and SDGs/VNR reporting should collaborate to reduce the reporting burden as well as the duplication of efforts on adapting, monitoring, collecting data and developing policy efforts on overlapping SDG and international human rights commitments.

 

3. Involve sub-national stakeholders 

National governments cannot tackle the whole 2030 Agenda alone and indeed a‘whole of government’ approach to achieving Goal 16 + is required. That includes local government actors, as well as local parliaments, justice sector institutions including the judiciary, prosecutorial agencies and the police. Two thirds of all SDG 16+ targets are linked to actions at the local level, and delivery of the SDGs takes place locally. However, local authorities often face challenges including, among others, limited legal authority and financial prerogatives; organizing systematically and ensuring resources for citizen participation; and data flows between national and local level.

 

4. Partner and meaningfully involve a broad range of stakeholders

  • Many governments are working with civil society, universities and the private sector to adapt and implement SDG 16 + in their country contexts. Stakeholder engagement can be most effective and sustainable when interactions areinstitutionalized within formal government structures and at different levels of government.

  • Sometimes multi-stakeholder consultations may be inclusive but not participatory. It remains a challenge to ensure participation of marginalized groups, while hearing the voices of those who are marginalized within the marginalized groups, for example women in indigenous populations. In addition, the deterioration and shrinking of civic space has a pervasive impact on the realization of SDG16+, with many civil society actors prevented from meaningfully participating in development planning and policy making processes. 

 

5. Invest politically and financially in measuring SDG 16+

  • Measuring SDG 16 is politically, technically and financially possible and the VNR reports show that countries are doing this. Recent research  shows that most of the 46 countries which submitted VNRs provided statistics for at least some of the SDG16+ indicators. The same research shows that most countries could collect the majority of extra data using extensions to their existing surveys.

  • Of the 23 global indicators in SDG 16, 10 are survey-based measures since many issues related to governance, peace, security and human rights require asking people what they think or what they have experienced. Surveys are also key for highlighting disparities across population groups. However, it can be a challenge to sustain the generation of data from surveys over time. National data sources have been complemented by measures and standards at the international level.

 

6. Prioritize data disaggregation to ensure no one is left behind 

  • Many Goal 16+ targets and indicators call for considering the outcomes of policy efforts in relation to their impact on women, children, the disabled, the elderly, different population groups including indigenous people, religious or cultural groups and socio-economic groups.

  • However, disaggregated data required to measure such outcomes is often lacking and/or is not evaluated for its potential use in tracking equity between and within various groups.

 

7. Involve a broad range of data producers to address data gaps 

Where there are gaps in official data sources, some countries have been working inpartnerships with civil society organisations, universities and the private sector to gather data on Goal 16+ targets in their countries. However, the potential for partnerships with non-state actors on data collection and analysis does not reduce the need to allocate public funds to data collection and National Statistics Offices.

 

Photo credit: Shubhangi Singh/UNDP India