Last updated on:
Tuesday, 18 August 2020

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 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.

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.