2019 Voluntary National Review: SDG Engagement and Action

From Open Government Pioneer Project
SDG Network Scotland


What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Scotland has a strong identity with sustainable development. Whilst Scotland and all other members of the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, sustainable development has been pursued to varying extents throughout the history of Scotland. The SDGs provide the latest variation and form the basis of an aspirational world transformation: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.[1] For those unfamiliar with the SDGs, they’re a set of seventeen goals that tackle a range of issues; from improving health, ending hunger, poverty, and inequality to taking action on climate change.

How are the SDGs being taken forward in Scotland?

The Scottish Government have made sure that the National Performance Framework is part of Scotland’s efforts to meet these goals. Since June 2018, the framework has mapped the 17 SDGs onto the Scottish National Outcomes, which means that Scotland can achieve the SDGs by meeting its National Outcomes. In terms of non-governmental organisations and citizens, Scotland's SDG Network was set up in May 2017, is open for anyone to join and works closely with Government to promote a whole society approach to the SDGs and sustainable development.

What is the Voluntary National Review?

The UK is currently preparing to produce a review on its progress towards achieving the SDGs. The review will be presented to the UN in July 2019, and Scotland's SDG Network has set up an open Working Group that comprises stakeholders across society and the Scottish Government to guide the Scottish contribution and ensure the SDGs can be used for a better, sustainable Scotland. You can find out more about the review here, Working Group here, and updates from Scotland's SDG Network here.

UK and Scotland developments

Our latest update on the UK Government’s approach to the review revealed limited opportunity for the voice of devolved nations and indeed even less for non-governmental stakeholders to come through. Whatever form the review takes, Scotland must still make the most of the opportunity. The lack of clarity over the review has meant that steps have been taken in Scotland to ensure that, whatever the outcome, Scotland will be in a position not only to report on SDG progress but begin the conversation on action. The partnership approach the Network and Government are taking means that the evidence and information will be publicly available for civil society and others to act on this. Read more here.

Your input

What are we asking?

No matter where you are with sustainable development, we want you to contribute. The review provides the perfect opportunity to start a conversation with citizens and organisations to build greater awareness and involvement around progressing the SDGs and sustainable development in Scotland and what can and should be done to increase momentum. That's why this page has been set up to crowdsource ideas and information and reach out to a much wider group of people and organisations across Scotland.

The aim of this initial engagement is to gather ideas and suggestions for how we can progress engagement and action with sustainable development, SDGs and the Scottish National Outcomes. In doing so, we hope to be able to understand and discuss further what people and organisations are currently doing to increase awareness, involvement and action on the SDGs and use this to develop a plan for Scotland.

Why this approach?

If the review is to be more than a box ticking exercise, it should be used to drive engagement and action.We want to make this initial discussion as deliberative and participative as possible, ensuring that anyone can contribute to planning for Scotland's contribution to the review on SDG progress and the delivery of the SDGs and sustainable development more generally. By collecting your input online, we hope to facilitate further discussion with Scotland's SDG Network and other groups and use this page to support wider engagement plans for the SDGs in Scotland. We also see this as a useful tool to share learning with local and national civil society groups and governments.

How do I use the wiki?

Anyone can edit, add and share information on this page simply by clicking the 'actions' box in the top right corner of the page and selecting 'edit'. Just remember to save your edits before leaving the site. You do not need an account to make edits, but by creating one your contributions will be attributed to you - it's a personal choice! If you do encounter any problems, just get in touch with the Coordinator for Scotland's SDG Network. Please treat others’ inputs respectfully: feel free to use links and add the name of your organisation where appropriate.

Now, add your voice to the conversation or feed in another way

Go ahead and populate the three grids below with any information you feel is relevant to the questions. If you're unsure about anything or using this platform isn't quite right for you, in January we'll be running some themed conversations on twitter and the SDG Network's forum where we will take the responses we receive to populate these grids. If you'd prefer to write a more in depth blog, you can also submit one here. If you have already provided case studies for other reports or purposes, feel free to link to these here.

If you encounter any problems updating and editing this page, please send your contributions to Paul Bradley (paul.bradley@scvo.org.uk).

Follow civil society and government at @SDGScotland and @ScotGovOutcomes. Join the Network here.

What you're up to
Fill a box: let us know what you or your organisation are doing to increase engagement with & action on sustainable development, SDGs and the Scottish National Outcomes?
Example: Scotland's SDG Network is working open and collaboratively to bring SDG champions together into one space. Example: The Scottish Government has aligned Scotland's National Performance Framework with the SDGs.
Example: Arc of Inclusion co-delivering a equalities project, seeking to engage people from a range of equalities groups to explore common interests, and potential longer-term collaboration to realise the potential of the SDGs. Example: Youth Voice in Sustainable Democracy Project: 30 volunteers, aged 16-24 to be part of a project aimed at bringing the voice of young people to the heart of government.
Example: Bridge 47 project - Scotland partner in project. Example: Scottish SDG Reporting Working Group - Scottish Environment Protection Agency and ICAS delivering group on business reporting.
Example: One Stone Advisors - Resources for reporting and aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals. Example: Support the Goals - Stories and ratings of business in Scotland and the UK
What success and challenges you've faced
Fill a box: what successes and challenges have you faced in raising engagement with and action on sustainable development, SDGs and the Scottish National Outcomes?
What next?
Fill a box: what support would help your current efforts or to contribute more to increase engagement with and action on sustainable development, SDGs and the Scottish National Outcomes?

Feeding back on plans

Thank you for adding your voice to the section above. We would also welcome your views the the Working Group's open delivery plan and terms of reference for the group. If you have time, please find the documents using the links below and add your comments directly onto the Google Documents.

Visit: VNR Working Group Terms of Reference
Visit: VNR Delivery Plan: Part A) SDG Implementation in Scotland, Part B) UKGov Voluntary National Review



  1. Reflecting on the Emergence of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: A Call for Action in Scotland. By May East (UNITAR) and Rehema M. White (University of St Andrews, Learning for Sustainability Scotland)
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