SINGLE COUNTRY PROFILE
Tuesday, 18 August 2020
The UK government published Agenda 2030: Delivering the Global Goals (2017) to provide more detail on UK government activity to support Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) delivery both domestically and internationally.
Each UK government department has embedded the SDGs into its Single Departmental Plan – an established process to focus government efforts on important issues. Each department’s Single Departmental Plan outlines how planned activity will support the delivery of the SDGs.
Additionally, the SDGs are integrated into: Scotland’s National Performance Framework (NPF); Wales’ Well-Being of Future Generations Act; and Northern Ireland’s draft Programme for Government (PfG).
The UK published a Voluntary National Review (VNR) of progress towards the SDGs in 2019, a product of collaboration between government, civil society and private sector organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK’s VNR provides a comprehensive account of action and also identifies areas of further work and next steps.
In 2015, the UK along with the 192 other UN Member States signed-up to the global Sustainable Development Goals.
The UK Government is committed to supporting implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs have been embedded across government departments in their Single Departmental Plans, which provide a framework to focus efforts on important issues in sustainable development. Single Departmental Plans (SDPs) are central to the way that the UK Government plans for delivery of its priorities including the SDGs. SDGs are embedded within SDPs, alongside other public commitments, and departments are specifically required to show what work they are doing that contributes at home and abroad.
Additionally, the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own approach to embedding the Sustainable Development Goals:
- Scotland’s National Performance Framework (NPF) is the main mechanism for implementing the Goals in Scotland. The NPF is underpinned by law and is intended to inform discussion, collaboration and planning of policies and services across Scotland.
- Since 2015 Wales’ efforts have been shaped by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 which puts sustainable development on a significantly stronger footing in the legislative and policy landscape in Wales. The Act localises the 17 Goals into domestic legislation through Wales’ own 7 sustainable development goals (wellbeing goals).
- Northern Ireland has incorporated the three dimensions of sustainable development; economic, social and environmental, into the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) strategic plans, rather than through separate sustainability strategies. This has resulted in the principles of sustainable development being embedded in the Northern Ireland Executive’s highest- level strategy, the draft Programme for Government (PfG).
• UK Government – The Department for International Development provides overall leadership and policy oversight of the 2030 Agenda and the Goals, with Cabinet Office supporting on domestic implementation. All other government departments are responsible for supporting delivery of aspects of the SDGs that relate to their policy remit. The Office for National Statistics are responsible for reporting data on the SDG indicators through the National Reporting Platform.
Separate arrangements exist in the Devolved Administrations.
On 5 July 2019, the UK Government published a report highlighting examples of how delivery of the Government’s programme supports the delivery of the SDGs. Development, sustainability and inclusivity underline much of our domestic approach to policy making and delivery. The report can be found at:
The UK Government is committed to supporting implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UK published a Voluntary National Review of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals in 2019. The UK’s VNR is data rich and sets out the UK’s journey to 2030, incorporating input from a wide range of sectors from all parts of the UK. It provides a balanced account of progress thus far, pinpointing areas of success as well as areas of further work.
The UK and the Devolved Governments
The UK’s approach to SDG delivery reflects its unique constitutional arrangements. Full detail on the approach across the UK is found in the UK’s Voluntary National Review (in particular page 10-12)
The UK is committed to the delivery of the SDGs. The SDGs are fully embedded in the UK Government’s programme of work through departments’ Single Departmental Plans (SDPs) – the planned activity of each department.
On 5 July 2019, the UK Government published a report highlighting examples of how delivery of the Government’s programme supports the delivery of the SDGs. Development, sustainability and inclusivity underline much of our domestic approach to policy making and delivery.
Scotland’s National Performance Framework (NPF) is the main mechanism for implementing the Goals in Scotland. The NPF and the Goals share the same aims: encouraging transformational social, economic and environmental change to achieve increased well-being and a more peaceful and prosperous future. The NPF is underpinned by law and is intended to inform discussion, collaboration and planning of policies and services across Scotland.
Since 2015 Wales’ efforts have been shaped by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 which puts sustainable development on a significantly stronger footing in the legislative and policy landscape in Wales. The Act enshrines Wales’s commitment to sustainable development and seeks to strengthen efforts to tackle key intergenerational challenges, such as climate change, poverty and inequalities. The Act localises the 17 Goals into domestic legislation through Wales’ own 7 sustainable development goals (well-being goals), a legally binding common purpose to work towards the 7 well-being goals, the inclusion of a culture as a fourth dimension of sustainable development, and the establishment of statutory partnerships to advance sustainable development.
Northern Ireland has incorporated the three dimensions of sustainable development; economic, social and environmental, into the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) strategic plans, rather than through separate sustainability strategies. This has resulted in the principles of sustainable development being embedded in the Northern Ireland Executive’s highest- level strategy, the draft Programme for Government (PfG).
The Secretary of State for International Development in the Department for International Development (DFID) has overall leadership and policy oversight for the Goals in UK Government. The Cabinet Office is committed to supporting DFID on domestic coordination and ensures that progress on the Government's priorities, including the SDGs, is maximised.
Each UK government department has embedded the Goals in its Single Departmental Plan – an established process to focus government efforts on important issues. Each department’s Single Departmental Plan outlines how planned activity will support the delivery of the Goals. Each department also works with its partners and stakeholders to deliver these priorities.
During preparation of the UK’s Voluntary National Review, bespoke structures were also created with different departments leading on different Goal-focused chapters. More detail is set out in the Voluntary National Review.
The SDG Team in the Department for International Development: firstname.lastname@example.org.
National — sub-national linkages
In the UK national frameworks capture government priorities in relation to the SDGs, with work taking place on multiple levels to strengthen delivery across the UK. The UK recognizes the importance of stakeholder engagement, partnerships and cross-government co-ordination to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Many sectors are making substantial efforts to raise awareness, form partnerships and use opportunities in the UK and globally to deliver the Goals, going beyond “business as usual” to make a real impact. Further detail is reflected in the Delivering the Goals through shared endeavour chapter of the Voluntary National Review (page 13 onwards).
THE PUBLIC SECTOR
The public sector has a significant role to play in ensuring decisions are taken to deliver long term value for money, taking into account social, economic and environmental factors. The public sector can help to meet these commitments through its work practices and wider behaviour. Many local authorities and public bodies also have sustainable operations and procurement targets. Reducing the impact of the way government and the public sector operates is vital to delivering sustainable development: the decisions made on policies and programmes and their real-world outcomes are significant.
The UK is committed to reducing its carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050 as well as ensuring that we are resilient to the effects of a changing climate: to achieve this all policies must take this into account through carbon reduction and adaptation plans. Climate change is just one of the symptoms of unsustainability and the Government is committed to safeguarding the wider environment, fairness and ensuring quality of life in all decisions.
Each public sector organisation will have different initiatives for reducing the impact of its buildings and operations. The public sector as a whole is committed to reducing the financial deficit and delivering value for money. Sustainable development can play an important part in that through efficiency savings and delivering multiple benefits. Government policies are in place to support sustainable practices throughout the public sector, including procurement, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, sustainable travel and policy and decision-making.
COMMUNITIES AND CIVIL SOCIETY
Citizens, communities and the voluntary and community sector are at the heart of the Government’s ambitions to create a more sustainable society and can play a key role in supporting people in supporting sustainable development initiatives. The UK government welcomes the contributions from communities and civil society. Everyone has a role to play in delivering the SDGs and the UK’s Voluntary National Review demonstrated the importance of collective action across the UK to fix foundations, act strategically, plan for, and adapt to a rapidly changing future. We will continue to strengthen mechanisms for to enhance stakeholder engagement and maximise opportunities for working collectively and collaboratively.
Civil society is central to tackling big societal challenges and thus achieving the Goals. In 2018, the UK government published the Civil Society Strategy (2018). The Strategy set out a bold new vision for how government will work with and support civil society in the long term. The Strategy is encouraging people, organisations and businesses to help make a difference; it is the beginning of an ambitious, evolving programme to help build a strong society and future for the UK that works for everyone.
Officials in the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Cabinet Office co-chair a cross-government group, which provides a platform to coordinate Goal implementation, integrate the Goals into departmental activity, and consider progress towards their implementation.
In addition, the UK's high-level Official Development Assistance Ministerial meeting, supported by the Senior Officials Group on ODA, addresses policy coherence and coordination in the UK's approach to development assistance. In addition, a series of coordination bodies in specific sectors ensure that different government departments working within a particular field e.g. climate.
Building on the Single Departmental Plan (SDP) process and in the Voluntary National Review, the Government committed to a review of official and ministerial level structures to further support domestic SDG implementation.
The UK’s VNR provided a comprehensive review of the UK’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This data-rich account covers both our domestic and international work in sustainable development and identifies actions taken and next steps.
The SDGs are embedded in the Single Departmental Plans across Government Departments and included in the Departments’ Annual Reports. The Departmental Plans and Annual Reports are publicly available on the websites of each department.
With responsibility for collating UK data for the indicators, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) is committed to sourcing data that gives the clearest picture of the UK’s contribution to the Goals and checking the validity of the data using the UK Code of Practice for Statistics. As of April 2019, the ONS reports UK data on 188 (77%) indicators of the total 244.
Of the 188 indicators for which UK data is being reported, over 70% are disaggregated by at least one variable. The UK is committed to filling disaggregation gaps and plans to disaggregate data for the Goals by: age, sex, disability status, ethnicity, income, geography and migratory status, wherever possible. This commitment is outlined in the Inclusive Data Action Plan (2018). This action plan was developed by the ONS in collaboration with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) Leave No One Behind Data Collaborative.
Stakeholder engagement is crucial to the effective mainstreaming of sustainable development across government. The UK engaged with stakeholders throughout the preparation of the Voluntary National Review, with multiple phases of engagement:
- A national call for contributions resulting on over 270 submissions from across the UK.
- DFID attendance at stakeholder events across the UK to discuss the VNR process, hear views and inform early drafting.
- Goal specific outreach by Government departments leading on Goal-specific chapters.
- Sector specific engagement events held in March 2019, targeting civil society, faith groups, the private sector and Parliamentarians amongst others, supplemented by a survey to allow electronic submissions from those who could not attend in person.
- After the VNR was finalised, we held a ‘lessons learned’ stakeholder engagement event to encourage further improvements going forward.
The UK continues to engage with various groups of NGOs, private organisations and civil society to ensure that sustainable development is supported by efforts across society.
No information available.