ICLD has been working with spreading knowledge about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the very adoption of Agenda 2030, a development blueprint for a sustainable world. Today, when one-third of this journey already complete, the importance of realizing the SDGs is even more urgent.
Therefore, ICLD is enhancing its focus on Agenda 2030. Instead of the SDGs being an add-on to the work ICLD does, the organisation is putting maximum effort into integrating the SDGs throughout its work so that the goals permeate all of ICLD’s operations. Special attention is paid to ensuring that every person who participates in an ICLD’s programme or project – whether it be a research project with Knowledge Centre, an International Training Programme or the Municipal Partnership Programme – incorporates work with Agenda 2030 into their change projects.
Shannon Lövgren, programme officer at ICLD, says that ICLD feels time pressure and is eager to work tirelessly and collaboratively towards implementing the goals by 2030.
– These first 5 years have gone by very quickly, but we are not moving fast enough. What we need is to get more people, organizations, local governments and private industries engaged, and working together, so that we can make significant progress towards a sustainably world where no one is left behind. That is the goal of Agenda 2030 and we need everyone involved.
The Sustainable Development Goals and local democracy
An interesting fact about the SDGs is that around three-fourths of them are related to local level governments. For example, coping with a changing climate, which involves national level policy making, is impossible without such local actions as building sustainable cities, creating good jobs and decent work, investing in affordable and clean energy. Those are the things that get done at the local level.
That is why ICLD is firmly convinced that the most effective path to achieving these goals is to promote them in local governments both in Sweden and internationally.
Shannon Lövgren adds that using SDGs as a framework to promote democracy is a natural fit:
– When you are engaged with your local government, you are improving democracy. It is a way for us to build democracy using a bottom-up approach. We are not saying: “You need to be democratic.” We are saying: “We need to achieve these goals together. What role can you and your communities play?” That spreads democratic processes and municipal engagement.
Every small step forward at the local level is a step forward for the entire world
ICLD believes that every small step forward at the municipal level is a step forward for the entire world. Therefore, encouraging local municipalities to integrate Agenda 2030 into their local action plans is of great importance in moving us all closer to achieving the goals.
– That way, Shannon says, we can make small steps towards several different goals at the same time, for example, ending poverty, creating better health, taking climate action and promoting gender equality.
Additionally, the role of cooperation and competition between municipalities and their contribution to the SDGs should not be underestimated.
– I’ve seen this in Zimbabwe, where a municipality is looking to see what another municipality is doing, and them thinking: “In Murewa, they have a renewable energy plant. Why can’t we build one?” This creates neighborly cooperation and competition to be better, because nobody wants to be left behind, which is also a part of Agenda 2030 – to leave no one behind, Shannon Lövgren concludes.
|Shannon, what makes you so passionate about the SDGs?|
– I am passionate about the SDGs because it is a plan for making the world a better place. Agenda 2030 is a universal language for solving the world’s most challenging issues.
For once, we are speaking the same language. We have simplified an overly complex environment that we work and live in into small and clearly defined pieces which are manageable to work with.
I think it is really fun and exciting to work with the SDGs because once you teach people about them, they also get excited to have a plan to make the world a better place.
Last but not least, it is a way of multiplying good works and includes everyone into the vision of a world in which we can all live to our fullest potential.