Review: Discussion on Sustainable Development in Bonn
The UN System Staff College (UNSSC) and the City of Bonn organized an open panel discussion titled “Bringing the 2030 Agenda to Life: Brokering Consensus for Sustainable Development at the Global, National, and City Level”. Experts discussed the topic at the Old Town Hall in Bonn yesterday.
Amongst others the panel featured Mr. David Donoghue, the former Ambassador of Ireland to the Federal Republic of Germany and one of the key negotiators of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. “We have to maintain the political momentum”, he stressed. “That is as important as finding ways of communicating the Agenda better.” According to Mr. Donoghue the current mood is not as good as it was a few years ago, but most governments are still firmly committed to the SDGs. An important role is also played by "positive competition and motivation between states" in implementing the Global Goals.
Ms. Malini Mehra was also part of the panel discussion. She is the CEO of GLOBE International, and a member of the London Sustainable Development Commission. She pointed out that language barriers are still a challenge, whilst communicating the goals. But in general, the Global Goals are more likely to resonate with people because they differ from their national affairs. Ms. Mehra pointed at the importance of anchoring the Sustainable Development Goals in national education systems, as young people are the motor for future development.
Ms. Monika Zimmermann, Deputy Secretary General of the ICLEI World Secretariat, added a civil-society perspective to the discussion. According to her, “it’s not that problematic, when people don’t understand the term ‘SDG’ but it’s important that they understand the notion, values and principles behind the goals – and we need to teach them”. ICLEI works with local governments around the world to assist them in becoming sustainable, low-carbon, resilient, ecomobile, biodiverse, resource-efficient and productive. During the discussion, Ms. Zimmermann highlighted the interconnectedness of the Global Goals and how this shapes implementation on all levels. “The Sustainable Development Goals are not necessarily telling us something we have not known before, but they show how all aspects are interconnected. And that one challenge cannot be solved without considering the others."