In Austria, the government follows the „mainstreaming approach“ to implement the 2030 Agenda. In 2016, all ministries were instructed to integrate the SDGs into their relevant programmes and strategies, and to develop new action plans for coherent implementation of the 2030 Agenda where necessary. This means that all ministries share the responsibility for achieving the SDGs. An interministerial working group (IMAG) was installed, which is co-chaired by the Federal Chancellery and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its mandate is to coordinate exchange meetings between ministries on SDG activities, foster further SDG implementation and conduct the reporting process as part of the UN’s Voluntary National Review (VNR).
The first VNR report was presented in 2020, which was preceded by a comprehensive multi-stakeholder process including civil society, academia, private sector and social partners. The report focuses on 3 thematic challenges: Digitalisation, Women, young people and „Leaving no one behind“ and Climate action. Furthermore, the report highlights several next steps regarding the implementation process in Austria. This includes the strengthening of the IMAG by introducing a steering group, the involvement of parliament, intensifying the multi-stakeholder process as well as the examination of SDG Fitness Checks, ex-ante SDG-impact assessments for strategies, measures and actions plans, SDG budgeting and the implemention of ascientific advisory board. The full report is available here.
SDG Watch Austria is a broad, cross-sectorial civil society network of more than 200 members, which was found in September 2017. In alliance with the private and academic sector, these organisations aim to jointly push for an effective and ambitious implementation of the 2030 Agenda via advocacy, a yearly multi-stakeholder conference called SDG Forum and other cooperations and activities. The platform meets several times a year to exchange information and strategies. Furthermore, some organisations formed thematic initiatives to focus on the SDGs in a specific context such as the initiatives on education, sustainable economy and SDGs on a local level. A steering committee of four umbrella organisations, which is elected by the members every two years, has the lead on the platform’s strategic decisions and management.
The key policy recommendations of SDG Watch Austria are, among others, clear political commitment on the highest level of government, a strategic approach to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, identifying priorities and ensuring policy coherence, pushing for mechanisms that ensure laws and budgets are SDG compatible, including all stakeholders in the implementation process such as parliament, civil society, academia, local actors and the private sector, and ensuring a transparent monitoring and evaluation process. These recommendations overlap largely with the 2018 report of the Court of Auditors on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Austria.
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