Scotland is making mixed progress towards achieving the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, according to a unique new report by civil society organisations published last week.
‘On Target for 2030?’ assesses Scotland’s progress against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing reviews on each goal, authored by expert organisations operating within each field in Scotland.
The UK and Scottish governments are completing their own national reviews, with these analyses expected to be released later this year. This report supplements these governmental reviews by capturing the independent assessments of a diverse range civil society stakeholders in Scotland working on issues as diverse as poverty, climate change, biodiversity, nutrition, equality, fair work, and education.
Co-ordinated by the UWS-Oxfam Partnership, in collaboration with the SDG Scotland Network, the report is believed to be the first such analysis in Scotland.
Organisations including the Child Poverty Action Group, Citizens Advice Scotland, the Fife Centre for Equalities, Girlguiding Scotland, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Scottish International Development Alliance all provide commentaries on progress and outline what Scotland still needs to do to reach each Goal by 2030.
The SDGs were adopted by the 190 countries making up the United Nations in 2015 to create a healthy planet for current and future generations and for a world free from poverty, injustice and discrimination – while leaving no-one behind. The goals are universal in nature and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made Scotland one of the first countries to pledge to deliver them in 2015.
A clear thread that runs through many of the contributions in ‘On Target for 2030?’ is that the negative effects of slow progress on the goals are felt disproportionately by low-income households. This undermines the cross-cutting commitment of all SDGs to ‘leave no-one behind’.
The editors of the report want to contribute to renewed pressure to meet these goals for governments, as well as amongst businesses and civil society itself. They say that improving progress is not just the responsibility of government, action is needed especially from business and the third sector, as well as individuals, in order for Scotland to fulfil its 2030 commitments.
Dr Hartwig Pautz, from the UWS-Oxfam Partnership, said: “This snapshot review is the first of its kind in Scotland. It brings together experts on every one of the goals for an honest assessment of where Scotland is and what we need to do to get on target for 2030, in their own words.
“While the individual assessments, put forward by a very diverse range of civil society organisations, show that there is clear policy and political commitment on many of these goals, more needs to be done to actually achieve them.
“The report shows that poverty and inequality are common issues with regards to many of the SDGs, and making progress on them will be essential to ensure we can achieve sustainable development.
Rhiannon Sims, Policy and Research Adviser, Oxfam Scotland, said: “The Sustainable Development Goals will only succeed if every country signed up to them puts in place the measures needed to drive change. Whilst there is clear policy commitment in Scotland, more needs to be done to achieve the 2030 vision.
“Governments have a big role to play, but achieving this ambition is not just a responsibility for government, it also for businesses and civil society itself to contribute to this shared agenda.
“The action needed to achieve the goals by 2030 is not unrealistic or impossible. We hope that leaders at every level can use this report to redouble Scotland’s commitments to make the world free from poverty, injustice and discrimination.”
Paul Bradley, Project Coordinator, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “Scotland’s charities and wider civil society organisations have provided expert insight into where Scotland is on the SDGs and what we still need to do as a nation.
“Meeting these goals for 2030 is not just up to politicians, it is a responsibility for all of us and this report shows that work is being done in communities by organisations up and down Scotland.”
· Report available at: http://uwsoxfampartnership.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/On-Target-July-2019-Web-FINAL.pdf
· Sturgeon commitment: https://news.gov.scot/news/leading-the-way-in-tackling-inequality.
· The UWS-Oxfam Partnership has operated, since 2011, as a formally established relationship between the University of the West of Scotland and Oxfam Scotland. It revolves around the development of Oxfam’s anti-poverty advocacy and campaigning in Scotland and seeks to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable Scotland.
· The SDG Scotland Network is a coalition of over 230+ people and organisations from across Scotland committed to making sure that the Global Goals for Sustainable Development become every Scot’s business.