The inquiry comes after concerns from the International Development Committee regarding a “worrying lack of engagement” with the SDGs by government departments and “insufficient” progress on ensuring that the 17 Goals are implemented in British business and culture.

In undertaking this inquiry, the EAC aims to establish how the SDGs might be implemented and measured in a way which leads to meaningful change within the UK. It will also consider how it will scrutinise the Government’s performance against the Goals going forward.

The EAC is asking for written evidence to evaluate the current domestic delivery of the SDGs and how best to deliver, measure and communicate the Goals throughout the UK.

‘Go faster’

Key questions the enquiry will answer include: – 

What are the potential costs, benefits and opportunities to the UK of delivering the Goals domestically?

What examples of best practice are there that the UK can learn from?

How can SDG performance be best communicated in a way that involves business?

EAC chair and Labour Party MP Mary Creagh has previously spoken out about the importance of ensuring the SDGs “go faster” than the Millennium Development Goals they replaced, to tackle growing economic inequality.

In a speech to the Institute of Development Studies last year, Creagh said: “I am determined the SDGs do more to tackle inequality in three areas that matter deeply to the Labour Party: Human rights, climate change and universal health coverage – areas that this Government barely discuss at all, at home or abroad.”

SDG Index

This fresh inquiry comes less than a week after research organisation the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) presented the world’s first comparative study of the implementation of the SDGs in 149 countries. The SDG Index reveals that all countries continue to face major challenges in achieving the Goals by 2030. No country has yet achieved the SDGs, according to the Index, and even the top-placed nations scored “red” on several goals.

The UK and Germany are the only G7 countries to be found among the top 10 performers in the SDG Index. Small, developed countries are closest to fulfilling the Goals: Sweden, Denmark and Norway are the top three performing countries.

Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon encouraged businesses and governments to speed up processes to implement the SDGs and become more proactive in sharing best practices. Launching the UN’s first-ever SDGs report, Ki-moon said nations had “got off to a good start”, but that businesses should take the lead in pledging “never to rest until we have achieved a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.”

The deadline for report submissions to the EAC enquiry is Friday, 16 September. More information can be found on the enquiry page.

Alex Baldwin

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