By Ronja Ievers (Hui E! Community Aotearoa)
E nga mana, E nga reo
It has been 4 years since New Zealand made a commitment, when it signed onto the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to empower people, reduce inequalities, promote social, economic and political inclusion, and to leave no one behind. Yet knowledge about the SDGs in New Zealand is still fragmented, and government engagement is low. Inequalities continue to exist and we are facing a major threat to our land, bio diversity, waterways and marine life.
When the government therefore announced to present its first progress report (voluntary national review – VNR) towards the agenda at the UN high-level political forum in 2019, the community sector decided to make full use of the opportunity provided by the VNR and to go further than simply responding to the official government report and plans. This led to a
small group, representing a wide range of civil society organisations, as well as New Zealand’s unique bicultural history, being set up to oversee an independent analysis on SDG progress.
The People’s Report on the 2030 Agenda and SDGs draws on tangata whenua’s, communities’ and organisations’ diverse insights and expertise through a national survey, interviews, available statistical data and existing local, national and external reports. Over 20 people contributed their expertise to the report and 187 people participated in the national survey, which asked for their views on where we are at and what is needed looking forward. It demonstrates the rich diversity of the sector, and their work, and focus of the organisations.
The many people who have contributed to the People’s Report in various ways hope that it, and the government’s own progress report (VNR), will provide a basis for moving forward together–in greater partnership to implement a vision and framework that clearly link Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the SDGs and the Living Standards Framework, to create a more just, equal
and sustainable future.
Former New Zealand Prime Minister, as head of the UN Development Programme, Helen Clark played a key role in leading the UN in its efforts to encourage all sectors to be actively engaged when she said that “Leadership is required at every level: global, regional, national, local and individual…the public and private sectors, NGOs and civil society. The role of government must be complemented by those of local governments and other stakeholders”¹.
The full report can be downloaded at www.sdg.org.nz/peoples-report
The project was supported by funding from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, Wellington Community Trust, PPTA and TEU.
¹ Helen Clark (2018), Women, Equality, Power: Selected speeches. p 384, published in Allen & Unwin