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Major steps towards a more just, equal and sustainable future

ronjaievers-headshot1Ronja Ievers

Pou Takawaenga – External Relations Coordinator | Hui E! Community Aotearoa

It’s been quite a couple of weeks for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New Zealand – the government published its first progress report, the Voluntary National Review (VNR); a group of organisations launched New Zealand’s first People’s Report on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs; and the School of Government of Victoria University of Wellington launched a new website with a view to providing a new hub for SDG discussions in New Zealand.

Also, Stats NZ launched its Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand web portal, which, in time, will also provide a benchmark for monitoring progress against the SDGs.

These are all great resources and highlight the importance of the SDGs to our country, where we are making progress or lagging behind, and what we need to do urgently. The People’s Report also offers over 30 recommendations for central and local government, NGOs and the private sector to ensure a more just, equal and sustainable future.

While I am heading to New York for the high-level political forum on sustainable development – the UN’s main mechanism for monitoring progress towards the SDGs, let me tell you a bit more about the people’s report. Hui E! has been chairing the steering group that oversaw the project.

The People’s Report is the result of many months of work gathering people’s and organisations’ views and expertise on the progress of the global 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, which New Zealand signed up to in 2015. The report complements the government’s progress report (VNR), which it will present to the United Nations on 17 July.

Despite New Zealand’s reputation as a leader in human rights, a country with a clean, green image, and its work in addressing many of the issues included in the SDGs, the People’s Report identifies clear areas such as persistent inequality, and the major loss of our biodiversity and marine life and the worrying pollution of freshwater sources. The poorer outcomes for Māori in particular draw attention to the effects of many years of neglect and post colonial racism.

A survey of 186 organisations indicated engagement between government and civil society is inconsistent with a lack of collaborative planning and sustainable funding and resourcing models. This is a concern for the achievement of the SDGs, which have multi stakeholder partnerships at the heart of this global development agenda.

With climate change being a major concern internationally and here at home it was concerning that only about a third of those NGOs and others who participated in the survey had a policy on climate change.

The many people who have contributed to the People’s Report hope that together with the government’s VNR report, it will provide a benchmark and open a new pathway for civil society and local and central government to work together so that New Zealand can join other countries in implementing this ambitious multilateral partnership, linking Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the SDGs and the Living Standards Framework.

“When I think about the report, I think about whenua – land, and that land and people cannot be separated – oranga whenua, oranga kai, oranga tangata”, says Moko Morris, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Te Atiawa. Moko is one of the two co-writers of the report, and together with Dr Gill Greer is also attending the HLPF over the next couple of weeks where we hope to present our findings.

Project oversight was provided by a steering group, convened by Hui E! Community Aotearoa, and funding was provided by the NZ National Commission for UNESCO, the Wellington Community Trust, PPTA and TEU.

People’s Report: www.sdg.org.nz/peoples-report

New SDG website: www.sdg.org.nz

Wellbeing Indicators webportal: https://wellbeingindicators.stats.govt.nz/

Government VNR:https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/23333New_Zealand_Voluntary_National_Review_2019_Final.pdf

 

This blog has been contributed by a member of the ComVoices network. The views presented here are not necessarily those of ComVoices.

ComVoices is a Wellington based network of national community and voluntary sector organisations. It was established so that sector organisations would have a more powerful voice at Government level and in the community.

Click here for our websitehttp://comvoices.org.nz/