The tasks of SDG Watch Europe are divided between 4 interlinked Work Strands to ensure coherence at all levels.
Joint High Level Policy & Coordination for Ambitious and Integrated EU SDG Implementation
The work of this strand involves examining the adequacy of existing EU strategies, policies and practices in light of the need to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and targets. This includes the demand to carry out a “gap-analysis” of EU policy frameworks and processes, and calling for their revision or replacement where appropriate.
Policy proposals based on common principles and cross-cutting issues, once developed together, will be advanced through joint high-level advocacy and through members supporting each other with more technical advocacy. All members take the lead on those domains where they have the obvious expertise or mandate. They are encouraged to include other alliance members who wish to engage in the work.
The added value of working together on policy co-ordination to support our advocacy aims is clear. It should lead to greater overall policy coherence, strengthen our advocacy impact and facilitate more synergies and linkages between the work of our different organisations.
Monitoring , Accountability, & Review of European SDG Implementation Across All Sectors
Strand 2 will closely follow and report on how the EU and the Member States are dealing with the SDG implementation. Do they have a strategy, plan of implementation, institutionalisation of civil society engagement? Are they covering all the goals? At which level?
The leading institutions of the EU and the UN will monitor progress towards the SDGs based on national and regional monitoring.
This monitoring is likely to face several challenges: the ‘creative’ use of data to give the impression of national or regional progress, insufficient data-sets relating to several goals, bias in data-gathering towards quantitative input data rather than qualitative impact data, the ignorance of alterantive data sources such as research and civil sciety, and others. Strand 2 members can play an important role in challenging the EU and Member States to concretise the SDG implementation in a structural way and in insisting on the use of reliable, verifiable and adequate data.
The monitoring information and data linked to SDG implementation from various EU Member States can also be pooled at an EU level, allowing EU wide patterns or trends to emerge which can then be used as part of possible “shadow reports” produced by the SDGs Coalition and submitted to UN bodies such as the HLPF.
The work of this strand will also ensure that the advocacy messages of SDG Watch Europe will be evidence-based, giving them a necessary credibility.
Engaging CSOs & Citizens at Local, National and EU level
SDG Watch Europe will reach out to CSOs (in the EU and other European countries, non EU member states) to raise awareness, promote engagement and to help to build the capacity towards the implementation of the SDGs at all levels.
We need to cater for the actual appetite of people/citizens to get involved. We as CSOs also need to bridge the gap and to engage people and build legitimacy from the bottom-up. SDG Watch Europe shall explore how to work with national platforms and networks to ensure a bottom up approach.
SDG Watch Europe seeks to involve CSOs involved with marginalized citizens, through their European networks. The objectives are to inform them about SDGs related to their situation and facilitate their involvement in order to contribute to advocacy processes at national and EU levels. Similarly, the SDG Watch Europe can create linkages with other campaigns and social movements concerning issues related to advocacy and campaigning and the SDGs. SDG Watch Europe can add value by coordinating key European events (also as part of globally coordinated actions).
SDG Watch Europe can also advocate with decision-makers for space for CSOs to organize, discuss, support, follow & monitor the implementation of the SDGs at EU level (including possibilities of financial support for the SDGs Coalition to fund a secretariat etc).
Reflection, Innovation, Experimenting & Learning Together
Civil Society in Europe might not be fully SDG-ready itself. Are our ways of working, cooperating and implementing sufficiently advanced integrated and coherent? If we demand this from other actors, we need to take the lead, walk the talk and set the example to follow.
To develop our ways of working, Strand 4 will –
Be a think tank
Explore new ways of working, advocating, and monitoring in order to promote and implement the SDG’s – including how sustainable development principles can be fully mainstreamed across the work of our organisations
Reflect on how to use the SDGs to bring about systemic change and a shift away from the dominant neoliberal ideology that puts profit and competition first; develop a common or shared vision of the transformation we would like to see
Bring new knowledge into the coalition: develop innovative new partnerships academic and research institutes, the private sector and others and continue to learn on how best to achieve Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
Be a support and mutual learning space
Develop a support structure, or work with existing ones, to assist CSOs through the creation of mutual learning spaces.
Map the priorities of our organisations and the synergies that exist
Strengthen the basis for common action by the members of the SDGs Coalition
Facilitate capacity-building amongst civil society members based on self -assessment of training and development needs. These training and development needs would be linked to CSO involvement in SDG implementation, monitoring and follow-up activities.
Be an implementer
Environmental, human rights, social, health, and development organisations are to a very large extent the actors who do the real implementation of the SDGs.
Together with government, and very often financed by governments to do this. This day to day experience of trying to achieve the goals should inform our policy action and is a strong channel for citizen’s participation