In January 2016, the Austrian Government chose the so-called “mainstreaming approach”, with every ministry responsible in its own field of responsibility. For coordination purposes, an “inter-ministerial” working group was installed. Frankly, this means that SDG-implementation was delegated from the government to the administrative level, lacking high level political commitment.
The Austrian Government has not presented a plan or a roadmap for the overall implementation process of Agenda 2030 so far and no overarching consultation processes or participative structures exist either. As the main effort so far, the Federal Chancellery launched an information area on its website dedicated to the SDG-Implementation in early 2017. This page collects information and supports it with a first depiction of existing programmes and their contribution to achieving the SDGs. CSOs are – together with networks in science, business or regional politics – still waiting for opportunities to articulate and contribute with inputs to Agenda 2030 implementation. In addition, for these stakeholders there is still only very limited access to information about the implementation process and the concrete plans and schedules on a political and administrative level. The first Austrian Voluntary National Review is only announced for 2020.
SDG Watch Austria is a CSO platform of more than 140 organisations. These organisations are aiming to jointly promote an ambitious implementation of the Goals via advocacy, events and other cooperation. The Platform meets several times a year to exchange news and information. Organisations also chose to form “thematic initiatives”, which are dealing with the SDGs in a specific context such as “education for sustainable development” or “SDGs on a local level”.
Austrian CSOs have formulated suggestions for pending SDG implementation in a letter to the government in January 2017. This letter is the basis of the work and positioning of SDG Watch Austria. Other important stakeholder groups such as scientific networks, business networks or the league of towns are active on the SDGs as well, being confronted with the same restrictions as the CSO coalition, which mainly are the lack of a concrete plan and participation structures for the SDG-implementation process.
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