The new do-tank “2030beyond” aims to get the SDGs back on the political agenda

The 2030 Agenda, adopted by the UN Member States in 2015, is the most ambitious and important development agenda, the world has ever seen. However, five years in, the world is not yet on track to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. And the COVID-19 crisis is likely to result in a setback on all 17 SDGs.

This represents a challenge, but also an opportunity.

According to the new do-tank 2030beyond, the SDGs offer a chance to emerge from the current crisis stronger and more resilient, on track to a world in harmony, where all people can lead a sustainable, productive and healthy life. But for that to happen, we need political leadership, says the founder of 2030beyond, Kirsten Brosbøl:

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic we were already far from reaching the goals in 2030 and because of COVID-19 we now see setbacks on all 17 goals,” Kirsten Brosbøl says and adds:

“This means that there now is an even bigger need to maximise the pressure to create political attention on the 2030 Agenda. It is a make-or-break moment. Some have started to question whether we can even reach the SDGs and if they are too ambitious. This is a wrong approach in a time of crisis. Now more than ever we need a common plan for the road towards a sustainable world. We should use the current crisis to readjust and use the SDGs as a framework to design our recovery plans to build back better.”

As a former member of the Danish Parliament[1] and Minister of Environment[2] of Denmark, Kirsten Brosbøl founded and chaired the Danish All-Party Parliamentary Group on the SDGs in 2017-2019.

Sharing best practices

Now, as a founder of 2030beyond, she wants to use that experience to connect parliamentarians worldwide in a global network as a platform to share best practices and ideas on the implementation of the SDGs for parliamentarians to learn from each other.

“Parliamentarians can learn a lot from each other by sharing experiences. It is not ‘one size fits all’ but there is a lot of knowledge and best practice out there, waiting to be conceptualised and disseminated. This is not happening systematically through the existing parliamentary networks,” she explains.

Identifying SDG pioneers

For 2030beyond, parliamentarians all over the world are the main target group as they are crucial to secure a focus on the SDGs, adopt sustainable policies, while also block the ones that are not.

“We identify SDG pioneers in different parliaments and support them to create a change and to lead on in their own parliaments. Just as it happened bottom-up in Denmark, not by the party leaders, but through a cross-party network, where like-minded MPs came together across party lines to act and raise awareness,” Kirsten Brosbøl says.

“We aim at those, who are already engaged or interested in the SDGs, not necessarily speakers of parliament or committee chairs. We invite those, who are interested in hearing more about it and want tools to embed the SDGs in their parliamentary work. The ones reaching out to us are already engaged in the topic and interested in learning from each other and hearing what is happening in other countries,” she says.

Besides parliamentarians, 2030beyond also aims to mobilise civil society and the private sector to accelerate action.

Aiming for concrete political action

2030beyond has big ambitions. However, the non-profit is still in its early phase and big tasks still lie ahead, Kirsten Brosbøl emphasises.

“The SDGs should be on the agenda. We have to establish screening mechanisms for SDG budgeting and monitoring progress. Concrete political action is the ultimate goal. We need legislators to be actively involved to shape concrete legislation and regulations to ensure systemic change.”

[1] (2005-2019)  [2] (2014-2015)                     Related DDRN post, December 2017: Civil society in Denmark on the move for SDGs

Mette Mølgaard Henriksen is a journalist, University of Southern Denmark & MSc in development and international relations with a specialization in Latin America Studies, Aalborg University