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Sustainable Development Goals in the UK inquiry launched

25 July 2016

The Environmental Audit Committee launch an inquiry into the domestic implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs were adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015.

The SDGs cut across all areas of Government – from ending poverty and achieving gender equality through to tackling climate change and using resources sustainably.

Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs are universal and apply to all countries and peoples. The Committee's inquiry is focused on the delivery and impact of the Goals within the UK.

The International Development Committee reported on the SDGs earlier this year. They expressed concern about "insufficient" progress towards domestic implementation so far and a “worrying lack of engagement” by Government Departments.

The Government has committed to publishing a report later this year, detailing its approach to the Goals.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) have been carrying out an information gathering exercise about how to measure the UK's domestic progress against the SDGs.

The Committee's aims in undertaking this inquiry are to:

  • Establish how the SDGs might be implemented and progress measured in a way which leads to meaningful change within the UK and allows effective scrutiny of the Government's performance.
  • Consider how it will scrutinise the Government's performance against the SDGs as part of its wider programme of scrutiny.

The Committee invites submissions on some or all of the following points:

Domestic delivery of the SDGs

  • What are the potential costs, benefits and opportunities to the UK of delivering the Goals domestically?
  • Which Goals are the most relevant to the UK? Where is UK domestic performance believed to be strongest and weakest?

How best to deliver the Goals

  • What structures, governance mechanisms, resources and lines of accountability are required within Government nationally and locally to ensure that efforts to deliver the Goals will be meaningful and achieve real change? Who should be providing leadership on this agenda?
  • How are other countries implementing the SDGs domestically? What examples of best practice are there that the UK can learn from?        

Measuring and communicating performance

  • How can performance against the Goals be measured and communicated in a way that best engages policy makers, local government, businesses and the public and allows effective scrutiny of the Government's performance by Parliament and civil society?
  • How should measurement against the SDG indicators be integrated with existing measures of sustainable development performance, such as the Sustainable Development Indicators and the Well-being measures?
  • How can performance best be communicated in a way that involves businesses, the public and local government in achieving the SDGs within the UK?

Deadline for submissions

Submissions should be no more than 3,000 words in length and should be made through the online portal. The deadline for submissions is 5 pm on Friday, 16 September. Send a written submission using the form on the inquiry page.

The Committee values diversity and seeks to ensure this where possible. We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence. We aim to have diverse panels of Select Committee witnesses and ask organisations to bear this in mind if invited to appear. 

Further information

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