sustainable development goals


  • The Echo of

    By Ekaterina Porras Sivolobova, from Project 189, Kuwait and CIVICUS member delegate to the EC Partnership Forum 2018.

    partnershipforum2Let’s make sure that the echoes of the recent EC Partnership Forum in Brussels do not fade away. The event brought together Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and representatives from different governments to have a dialogue with the European Commission on how to collaborate to implement and localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – leaving no one behind.

    It was my first time in Brussels, and my first opportunity to engage with representatives from the European Commission. Hearing about the different struggles from civil society, from corruption to gender equality and the rising of the seas. I could not stop reconfirming that this is the time to double our solidarity with the European Commission and others, to roll-up our sleeves and get to work, to share our resources and do what has to be done.

    The decisions that will be taken in the coming years to achieve in unison the SDGs, will be important to pave the way to decentralised development, making sure not to leave anyone behind. I do hope that in the coming years, we all put our individual priorities aside, recognise the value of collaborative action and once and for all start creating a change, a real change. This form of solidarity is what will strengthen efforts and shorten and mitigate challenges.


  • Apply: Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator

    • New programme to support youth tackling major social issues through data collection
    • Initiative will amplify activists’ work and hold leaders accountable
    • Selected activists will receive funding, technical assistance and networking support

    2019 is kicking off with an exciting, innovative, youth-led and multi-partner programme called the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator! The launch of the Accelerator is a direct response to the challenges young people face in accessing sufficient and appropriate resources to meaningfully engage in development decisions and activities that affect their communities.

    The Accelerator will support promising youth advocates who are using data in innovative ways to address Global Goals 1-6 -- local development challenges related to poverty, hunger, health and well-being, education, gender equality and water and sanitation. These youth-led initiatives should relate to:

    • Data sourcing & Accountability: Initiatives that gather community views and experiences and/or crowdsourced data related to the specific development issue you’re working on. For example: Float Beijing Citizen Generated Data Quality
    • Data translation & Storytelling: Initiatives and campaigns that translate existing development data into stories that showcase progress and encourage leaders across sectors to act. For example: Stories for Advocacy

    Chosen youth advocates will receive funding, technical and networking support, valued at up to US$30,000.

    Apply Now!

    Do you want to increase youth representation and influence in development decisions in your community? Do you want to generate and use data to improve accountability for local development?  Do you have a great idea, but need a little extra support to realise its full potential? 

    If this sounds like you, check the eligibility criteria and frequently asked questions, and apply before 31st October! 

    Still not sure if this is the right opportunity for you, contact the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator coordination team at

    Important Dates

    • Applications open: 26 September 2018
    • Applications close: 31 October 2018
    • Finalists announced: 30 November 2018
    • Virtual orientation (mandatory): December 2018
    • Workshop in Arusha, Tanzania (mandatory): 21-25 January 2019 

    If you are selected, you will also have the opportunity to engage in additional networking opportunities to increase the visibility of your initiative, build local and global solidarity and mobilise funds.

    See press release


  • Global youth-led data initiative launched for UN's Sustainable Development Goals


    New youth-led global data initiative for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals kicks-off in Tanzania

    Selected from over 2,000 applicants, 26 young data innovators from around the world are meeting in Arusha, Tanzania from 21-25 January to launch the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator, a one-year initiative focused on sourcing and using data to drive progress towards the UN’s Global Goals.

    • Participants are from 22 countries (spanning Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East) and will receive technical support from a team of international development professionals and upwards of $30,000 each to deliver their projects.
    • Each grantee (all under the age of 35) will implement their bespoke data projects in their respective countries, tackling challenges related to poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality and water and sanitation (related to Global Goals 1-6).

    The initiative was announced in September at Goalkeepers 2018, an annual event put on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation during the UN General Assembly. It was was set up with the recognition that young people are the key to success for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, yet only a small fraction of donor funding goes to young people and youth-led organisations. Even when financial resources are available, the technical support (e.g. mentoring, technology, mass media) is often missing. With this in mind, initiative partners (Gates Foundation, CIVICUS, Restless Development, Action for Sustainable Development, The George W. Bush Institute, and the Obama Foundation) set out to identify youth-led data projects from the global south that are already using innovative forms of data collection and have the potential to be scaled-up to have an even greater impact in their communities.

    The ground-breaking data projects include an initiative to curb deforestation by providing rural communities with alternative sources of income; a campaign to strengthen food security by providing farmers with data on land fertility; and a plan to produce low cost drones to deliver medicine and HIV tests for young children and pregnant women living in remote areas. See the full list of projects.


    Successful project proposals were selected by a global steering group of accomplished youth advocates based on their feasibility, level of innovation, and scalability. The thematic areas of the projects vary, but they all share the objectives to assess local implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and to hold governments accountable for achieving these commitments. The projects fall under two primary workstreams: data sourcing and accountability, and data translation and storytelling.

    The Arusha workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to learn from one another, as well as other leaders and experts in their fields. It will be hosted at the MS Training Centre for Development (MS-TCDC), which has been in operation since the 1970’s supporting a wide range of civil society initiatives related to democratic decision making and sustainable development.

    Further background information

    The Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator is a part of Goalkeepers, which is a multi-year campaign dedicated to accelerating progress towards the Global Goals: using powerful stories, data, and partnerships to highlight progress achieved, hold governments accountable and bring together a new generation of leaders to address the world’s major challenges.

    To arrange an interview, please contact: Clara Sanchiz (Clara.sanchiz[at]


  • Harmonisation, Participation and Coherence are Key to Realising the 2030 Agenda

    By Mandeep Tiwana and Tor Hodenfield 

    Two challenges – overlapping reporting requirements and less than universal compliance with human rights obligations – could be addressed by involving civil society more meaningfully in substantive processes. Furthermore, it is essential that positions on human rights matters that are taken at the UN Human Rights Council are followed up at the UN General Assembly and, most importantly, are implemented at the local level.

    Read on: International Institute for Sustainable Development


  • Human Rights, Participation and the 2030 Agenda

    By Mandeep Tiwana, CIVICUS Chief Programmes Officer 

    This January, the UN organised a much-needed dialogue in Geneva on the link between human rights and Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. The discussion’s timeliness is brought home by the actions of right wing populists and authoritarian leaders who together with regressive anti-rights movements are seeking to roll back the clock on human rights progress.

    Read on: Oxford Human Rights Hub


  • Nutrition is political and civil society needs to shape those politics

    By Danny Sriskandarajah

    The two major nutrition meetings - the Global Nutrition Summit in Milan and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement global gathering in Abidjan – held this month were celebrations of the major progress made in this area in recent years, but also provided a glimpse of the challenges ahead, especially for civil society. Indeed, what is happening in nutrition seems like a microcosm of the broader sustainable development agenda.

    Read on: HuffingtonPost 


  • Promoting prosperity means starting with the basics

    By Danny Sriskandarajah

    Emerging challenges such as the impending rise of automation calls for new and innovative solutions. Yet sometimes, new problems can also call for old solutions. This is the case with universal basic income, an old idea, which has gained recent renewed interest by experts and policymakers – an idea which could help reduce equality and, by reducing economic insecurity, also promote empowered citizens. Two years into Agenda 2030, the world is changing in ways that would have been hard to predict when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were being agreed. From populist and protectionist politics, to rising inequality and climate change inaction, the changing political and economic landscape calls for bold and brave solutions.

    Read on:Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform


  • Reimagining youth power post COVID-19: Lessons from the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator

    GoalkeeperspicCIVICUS’ recently concluded experiment with a group of young activists offers interesting insights for youth power in a post-Covid-19 world. Many youth-led organisations say traditional grants by northern donors are not quite suitable for them due to, among other factors, donor’s impact expectations and reporting requirements. Are there better ways to resource youth so they can create effective change towards sustainable development in their communities? Here is what we learned through the Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator.

    by CIVICUS Youth

    The global COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world as we know it. Many organisations have adjusted by adopting new and better ways of working, co-existing and resourcing efforts to defend democracies, hold leaders accountable and protect civic rights.

    CSOs are leading theresponse to COVID-19, including youth groups, who are reimagining and adjusting ways to ensure more resources are channelled towards the most vulnerable and in need around the world.

    The story of a youth resourcing pilot

    In the spirit of social innovation, learning and experimenting, CIVICUS and partners have  been testing different resourcing models to support grassroots individuals, organisations and movements who are less likely to work withtraditional donors. Many youth-led organisations, while addressing some of the most pressing challenges faced by humanity today, have limited opportunities to access funding, and when they do receive resources, they often come with rigid requirements and conditions, or relationships with donors that are hard to manage. One of the alternative models we tested is theGoalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator, which was launched in 2018 with six partners to showcase what young activists can achieve through holistic support that goes beyond funding. The launch of the Accelerator was a direct response to the challenges young people face in accessing sufficient and appropriate flexible resources to meaningfully engage in development decisions and activities that affect their communities. The results were a rich source of learning for us at CIVICUS and all the programme partners and we hope to you too.

    Provide resources that support civil society in different ways

    The 20 month-long project supported 26 promising youth advocates (ages 18-35) from Africa, Asia and Latin America who are using data and storytelling in innovative ways to address Sustainable Development Goals 1-6 (poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, and water and sanitation). In addition to flexible funding, the advocates received technical support, mentorship, travel, engagement opportunities as well as a space to provide feedback on adjustments to programming to better address their needs and amplify the impact of their work. This ensured a truly “participant-led approach” where their voices were heard and meaningfully engaged and part of the process. 

    As a result, all of the participants report having increased their skills, 80% say they have forged new partnerships and more than half of them have managed to secure additional funding to sustain their projects. 

    Give activists space in media

    After over a year of working with the Goalkeeper advocates, we noticed a significant growth and prominence in the role they play in their countries of intervention. Their projects and profiles were shared publicly and they achieved improved services, scale, recognition and increased accountability among key decision-makers on the issues/thematic areas they are advocating. 

    Be open and flexible throughout the process

    Being open and responsive to feedback and the context and needs of advocates, allowed space for the programme to experiment new ways of doing things. Every three months, the 26 advocates met in small groups online to share success stories, challenges, needs, questions and suggestions for improvement. The space for reflection among peers also boosted creativity and ideas for collaboration.

    While experimenting with flexibility and trust, we learned to prioritise the principle of “do no harm” (especially in potentially dangerous contexts). Traditional grant-making has not always facilitated holistic support that provides for the physical, mental and financial security of young people.

    It was also very important to document and evidence the results of this approach so funders and organisations like CIVICUS have the certainty that flexibility, trust and meaningful equal relationships with grantees can lead to valuable learnings, strong partnerships and community impact.

    Avoid hefty reporting requirements

    We tried to avoid burdening participants by designing a very simple monitoring and evaluation framework that allowed for quick understanding and usability when reporting. Our previous civil society resourcing research revealed that reporting requirements from donors are often rigid, burdensome and come at a high cost, proving an obstacle to activists working towards the actual needs of the community. The framework we used allowed the advocates and us to really analyse progress achieved and it was adaptable to each of their programmes based on their quarterly updates and changes in their contexts. As a result, many participants started to use these tools beyond this particular program and adopted similar methodologies for other work within their organisations. 

    The Goalkeepers Youth Action Accelerator was an opportunity to take part in an innovative piece of work. Young people are the key to sustainable development and their creativity and innovation could be the missing link to solving some of the world’s intractable challenges of today. The Accelerator was a constant process of learning how to support a systemic shift within civil society to address long-standing injustices experienced by marginalized young people, especially in terms of resourcing. And, learning happens not in the moments when we think we are doing well, but most often through the difficult and challenging times – so we need to embrace those.


  • Rio+20 Interviews

    CIVICUS has conducted a series of interviews with key players involved in the Rio+20 process. You may see the list of interviews conducted so far below: earth-summit-306-rtxvfxs

    • Felix Dodds-Director of Stakeholder Forum
    • Chantal Line Carpentier- UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Sustainable Development
    • Elizabeth Thompson- Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Coordinator of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
    • Linda Sheehan - Executive Director of Earth Law Center
    • Cristina Diez Saguillo - Main Representative to the United Nations International Movement ATD Fourth World
    • Alice Vincent - Policy Officer at the World Future Council
    • Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda- General Secretary of the World YWCA
    • Roberto Bissio - Coordinator of Social Watch network and Executive Director of the Third World Institute
    • Jaehyun Jang - Programme Specialist and researcher at the Reshaping Development Institute (ReDi)
    • Nikhil Seth - Director of the UN Division of Sustainable Development and Head of the Rio+20 Secretariat
    • Dr Sabina Anokye-Mensah - from Voices of African Mothers
    • Catherine Pearce - Campaign Manager, Future Justice for the World Future Council


  • Should not meeting the Sustainable Development Goals get you fired?

    By Danny Sriskandarajah

    The problem with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), was that no one ever lost their job for failing to meet an MDG target. When I say this at high-level meetings, participants shift uneasily in their seats. Their unease really shows when I ask why, if we truly want the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed, would we not hold accountable those of us in governments, intergovernmental agencies, global business, or civil society organisations (CSOs) responsible for achieving them—even to the point that our jobs would depend on it?

    Read on: Brookings Institution


  • The Commonwealth's 2.4 billion citizens — what are their rights?

    By Cathal Gilbert and Trinanjan Radhakrishnan

    There has been a lot of talk of shared values ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), due to be held in London from 16th to 20th April. Described as the biggest heads of government meeting the UK has ever hosted, leaders from 53 countries will meet to hold talks aimed at creating a “prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future”, particularly for young people. Expect a lot of pomp and circumstance. But what about substance?

    Read on: The Hindu



  • The Post- 2015 Consultations- Does Quantity Add Quality?

    At the moment the average civil society organization can now choose to contribute to up to 11 thematic and 60 to 100 national consultations, each one of them using several outreach media – e-consultations, meetings, papers, expert groups, panels, twitter, video, facebook hangouts – multiplying the input opportunities ad infinitum..
    In addition, the UN High-Level Panel on post-2015 and their outreach team have set up their own consultation mechanism consisting of a mix of meetings and on-line questionnaires.

    Finally, there are still processes waiting to be established: the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the intergovernmental process who will ultimately negotiate the post-MDG framework.

    Read more atSerpents and Doves: CAFOD policy team blog


  • The SDGs will not be achieved unless civic space is protected

    Statement at the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
    Watch us deliver our statement below:


    The report on intersessional meetings on the 2030 Agenda concluded that the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be attained without stronger, inclusive and meaningful public participation in the development and monitoring of policies.

    Civil society plays a critical role in ensuring inclusive policy making by shining a spotlight on the needs of the most vulnerable, by propelling innovation, by identifying solutions to complex development challenges, and by taking responsibility for delivery of services on the ground. Civil society, including human rights defenders, also perform an imperative watchdog role. Without information from the frontlines it is all but impossible to hold states accountable to their commitments under the SDGs.

    When civic space is restricted, these vital roles are compromised. 

    Achieving the SDGs requires an expanded and safeguarded civic space, with the assured protection of human rights defenders. However, commitments made to protect and promote civic space have not been fully realised. Much more needs to be done to ensure that civil society can actively engage in implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.

    To this end, we urge the Council to support the following measures:

    • Adoption of the more robust and relevant indicators on SDGs 16.7, 16.10 and 17.17. 
    • Issue public pronouncements on the importance of civic space from political leaders, diplomats and representatives of intergovernmental institutions. 
    • Enhance the space for civil society groups in Voluntary National Reviews drawing on experiences from the UPRs.

    The SDGs will not be achieved unless civic space is protected and the full participation of civil society is guaranteed, and we call on this Council to hold to account states which do not do so. 

    See our wider advocacy priorities and programme of activities at the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council


  • To Achieve Ambitious Goals – We Need to Start with our Basic Rights

    By Oliver Henman and Andrew Firmin

    Recent protests in Ethiopia have seen people demonstrate in their thousands, angry at their authoritarian government, its favouritism towards those close to the ruling elite, and its failure to share the country’s wealth more equally. The response of the state, in a country where dissent is simply not tolerated, has been predictably brutal: at the height of protests last year hundreds of people were killed, and a staggering estimated 24,000 were arrested, many of whom remain in detention today.

    Read on: Inter Press Service



  • What's the status of the Sustainable Development Goals? UN & civil society annual meeting

    The 2018 High Level Political Forum will be held at UN headquarters in New York from Monday 9 to Wednesday 18 July.

    At the annual forum, governments, civil society and business, review progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

    UN member states self-report their progress towards the goals by presenting a report known as a Voluntary National Review (VNR). In 2018, 47 countries will present their Voluntary National Reviews, the highest number so far. The goals that will get particular attention from 47 countries* participating in the review, include:

    • Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
    • Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
    • Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
    • Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
    • Goal 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    • Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. This goal is considered each year.

    CIVICUS' Activities at the HLPF
    CIVICUS is hosting a complete programme of events, together with a number of civil society partners and coalitions:

    See the full calendar of civil society events and resources

    *Full list of countries under review at this year’s High Level Political Forum:
    Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Namibia, Niger, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Sudan, Switzerland, Togo, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uruguay, and Vietnam


  • WHO Executive Board Considers Health in Post- 2015 Agenda

    The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) met to consider a report outlining the framework for developing a health-related component of the UN's post-2015 development agenda. The Secretariat report proposes two interrelated components for a health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG): universal health coverage and healthy life expectancy.

    The report notes that even though progress towards health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been impressive in many countries, the post-2015 agenda needs to: ensure continuing progress towards these goals; sustain political and financial support; and maintain investment in tracking results and resources. It further states that SDGs should take into account the changing global health agenda, including through: increasing recognition of the social and economic impacts of noncommunicable diseases; a shift towards focusing on means that support health outcomes, such as health as human right, health equity, equal opportunity and addressing determinants of health; and increasing recognition of the mutually beneficial linkages between health and other sustainable development policies.


    Read more at Sustainable Development Policy & Practice