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SDG Implementation: What’s on the Horizon for 2017?

As wind blows in the sails of 2017 – or ‘Year Two’ if you work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, the editors at the SDG Knowledge Hub, will be watching for a number of trends on the horizon:

  • SDG-related integration,
  • national monitoring and reporting, and
  • partnerships and finance are expected to take shape this year as national governments continue to bring the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to life.

High-level national reporting will be complemented by action at multiple levels within countries to set individual targets. For example, the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP) will assess the efforts of over 100 Parties to establish their own targets to achieve the goal of land degradation neutrality (SDG 15.3). The lessons learned within and across countries through this process can provide multiple entry points to review implementation.

Discussions on forests will also provide an opportunity in the first half of 2017 for the international community to engage in the integrated consideration of the Goals. The UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) will meet to adopt its Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF), which will align its voluntary Global Forest Goals and associated targets with the SDGs, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as well as other global strategies and agendas.

The UNSPF will elevate the role of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests as well as partnerships with other UN entities, regional organizations and stakeholders. Will the Plan spur collaborative action on the SDGs? We will also learn more as it provides input to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on the cross-sectoral contributions of forests to the SDGs.

Another arena in which this integration could be displayed will be within the Group of 20. Germany, which will hold the G20 Presidency in 2017, has already announced that the Group “wishes to make headway on ambitious implementation” of the Paris Agreement. To that end, it will aim to link climate and energy policy more closely, thereby integrating SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy). The document outlining the priorities for the G20 2017 Summit also draws a link between climate change, food security and migration. More from the IISD