On 25 September 2015, the 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The purpose, as written on the top of the agenda, is Transforming our World. The agenda is universal – for all countries – whether in the North or South – ending the differentiation between developing and developed countries. One core principal of the agenda is “Leave No One Behind”. The Agenda has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During the preparation process of the Agenda, GCAP national coalitions in 39 countries organized consultations at local and national level – involving communities and civil society – to develop the demands, which were brought to national governments and regional and global processes. Please see the global report here. Based on the consultations, GCAP insisted on putting addressing inequalities at the center and facilitating the active participation of people in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. In 2015, we together with partners mobilized 32 million people all over the world to act against poverty, inequality and climate change.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) go far beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and offer the hope of a future where people live in harmony on a safe, sustainable planet. Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs include goals on inequalities, peace, decent work, justice and transparency while also vowing to end violence against women and children, human trafficking and dangerous climate change.
While GCAP welcomes the adoption of the Agenda 2030, we recognize that the Agenda is a compromise of 193 governments. Together with the Paris Climate Agreement, this was one important step for solving the world’s most pressing problems. Still we criticize the weakness of the discussion on the structural and root causes of inequalities and poverty. Especially, there is no critical assessment of the role of the private sector, which is only portrayed as part of the solution, even though businesses often exacerbate inequalities, including gender inequality, poverty and climate change.
GCAP will continue to challenge the structural aspects and causes of inequalities and poverty. We will hold all actors to account – including governments, private sector and international institutions, including the UN. To achieve the SDGs, policies that promote equality such as tax justice, decent work, distributive measures, social protection and gender equality are crucial.
GCAP works at local, national, regional and global levels to monitor the implementation of the SDGs in order to ensure that countries achieve the goals and meet and exceed the targets for all groups. GCAP focuses on a bottom-up approach to engage people and governments. Our strategy of engagement with this framework is captured by the expression, “Localising SDGs – Supporting Local Communities Fighting for Justice.” This includes working with coalitions (especially NGOs, women’s organizations, youth groups, trade unions), as well as other constituencies and partners at national, regional and global levels based on grassroots-level work.
GCAP works on the whole Agenda 2030, but especially on Leave No One Behind and the following four SDGs:
- SDG 1: No Poverty
- SDG 5: Gender Equality
- SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
- SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Inclusive Institutions
Voluntary National Reviews
Each UN member state reports every few years to the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF).
GCAP National Coalitions influence governmental Voluntary Nation Reviews (VNRs) and also prepare and contribute to independent civil society reports. Some examples include:
2016 HLPF : Philippines
Global Day of Action – 25 September
Since the Agenda 2030 was approved on 25 September 2015, we use this day to hold governments accountable in the public. Each year we demand the implementation of the Agenda 2030 with a focus on inequalities and the participation of socially excluded groups.
On 25 September 2017, GCAP initiated in cooperation with the UN SDG Action Campaign the Global Day of Action – Act4SDGs to mark the anniversary of the SDGs. Many CSOs from local and national level, and also regional and global CSO networks joined and made the day a success. On 25 September 2018 the Global Day became even stronger and we plan bigger mobilizations in 2019 and 2020.
Coalition Building – National, Regional and Global Coalitions
National – Many GCAP national coalitions coordinate or are part of national coalitions on the Sustainable Development and the SDGs. They include different sectors of civil society – working on social, environment, climate and human rights, organisations of women, youth, older people, trade unions, different constituency groups as people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, Dalits.
Regional – GCAP coalitions, regional coordinators and representatives co-founded several regional SDG networks in cooperation with other networks for regional coordination and advocacy – with regional organisations as the African and the European Union and with the UN regional bodies.
- Africa: Africa CSW Working Group (AWG). GCAP Africa is one of the three co-chairs.
- Asia: Asia Civil Society Partnership for Sustainable (APSD). GCAP Asia is represented in the ADSD steering committee and hosts the secretariat.
- Europe: SDG Watch Europe. GCAP Europe is represented in the steering group, is co-chair of Strand 3 and co-hosts the secretariat in rotation with other members.
Global – GCAP together with global and regional partners formed the global alliance Action for Sustainable Development (A4SD). Together we coordinate and influence processes at the UN around the HLPF – especially the VNRs and also the HLPF Reform process.