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Int’l Water Management Institute Shares Eight-step Process for Countries to Mainstream the SDGs

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12 July 2019: The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has released a publication that offers guidance on how developing countries can adapt the SDGs to their own priorities and contexts. The report highlights examples of how countries have successfully adapted the SDGs.

By Catherine Benson Whelan

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has released a publication that offers guidance on how developing countries can adapt the SDGs to their own priorities and contexts. The report highlights examples of how countries have successfully adapted the SDGs.

Highlights:

  • The report uses UNDG’s approach to mainstreaming, which aims to achieve policy coherence and multi-stakeholder engagement.
  • To create policy coherence, the report recommends integrated policy analysis to ensure that proposed policies and programmes support nationally-targeted SDGs and integrated modeling to articulate interconnected goals and targets and analyze and inform policies, programmes and projects.
  • To tailor the SDGs to national and local contexts, the report highlights opportunities to set priorities within the SDG framework and promote local ownership of these priorities.

The report titled, ‘Mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals in Developing Countries,’ uses the UN Development Group’s (UNDG) approach to mainstreaming. This approach aims to achieve policy coherence and multi-stakeholder engagement through a focus on accountability, data and partnerships. The report outlines an eight-step process for countries, as follows:

  1. Raising awareness through engagement with national, sub-national and local stakeholders. The report suggests that options for raising awareness can include introductory workshops to present the SDGs to government officials and stakeholders, public awareness campaigns, and use of media and academia. Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland have translated the SDGs into local languages to increase public understanding of the SDGs.
  2. Multi-stakeholder approaches, including working with national bodies and forums to review SDG plans and fostering public-private partnerships (PPPs) to leverage the ingenuity, investment potential and scaling-up ability of business.
  3. Tailoring SDGs to national and local contexts, such as by setting priorities within the SDG framework and promoting local ownership of these priorities. The report recommends: reviewing current strategies and plans to compare them with the SDGs and identify possible gaps; making initial recommendations to national leadership on areas for change; setting nationally relevant targets that are ambitious yet achievable; and formulating a strategy and plans using systems thinking and matching ambition and commitments with capacities and resources. Botswana, for instance, has developed a National Vision for 2016-2036 and a National Development Plan 11 that aligns with the SDGs, integrated its sectoral plans with the SDGs, and implemented an all-of-government approach.
  4. Creating horizontal policy coherence, such as through integrated policy analysis to ensure proposed policies and programmes support nationally targeted SDGs, coordinated institutional mechanisms to create partnerships across sectoral ministries, and integrated modeling to articulate interconnected goals and targets and analyze and inform policies, programmes and projects. Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Namibia and Tonga piloted the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) ‘Rapid Integrated Policy Assessment’ tool, which helps countries identify linkages between targets and determine their readiness for SDG implementation. Countries used the assessment findings to identify gaps and cross-sectoral linkages that can serve as entry points for SDG implementation.
  5. To foster vertical coherence, the report recommends fostering partnerships across levels of government, supporting monitoring and review at local levels, and conducting impact assessments to ensure that large development projects take into consideration nationally- and locally-tailored SDGs, among other actions. South Africa’s National Adaptation Strategy, for example, articulates linkages among SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 14 (life below water) and SDG 15 (life on land).
  6. Managing budgets and finances to implement the SDGs, including through transforming national budgeting processes to fit the results-based orientation of the SDGs. The report recommends that countries, inter alia: utilize all sources of finance and mechanisms to finance the SDGs; implement outcome-based and participatory budgeting approaches; and implement budget mainstreaming, such as by integrating gender mainstreaming into budgets. The report shares examples of how five countries in southern Africa are financing their national development plans and strategies.
  7. Monitoring, reporting and accountability. The report cautions that monitoring will require coordination across ministries to gather relevant SDG data and ensure efficiency, and recommends that countries synchronize current monitoring efforts with the SDGs and set numerical benchmarks for SDG targets. The report further recommends aligning monitoring at a regional level, as the African Union (AU) has done with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063.
  8. Identifying and addressing risks and fostering adaptability. The report underscores the importance of reflecting on lessons learned from SDG implementation and making course corrections as needed.

The Report can be accessed here:

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