On September 25, 2015, world leaders heeded the call of the Secretary General and adopted the seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to shape the Post-2015 Development Agenda until the year 2030. The success of the SDGs depend heavily on local prioritisation of the Goals; inclusive and participatory mechanisms to achieve them; local, regional and global partnerships; and effective Monitoring and Evaluation systems to measure the impact. In its efforts to promote the SDGs at the national level, UNDP organised a National Dialogue on Mainstreaming the SDGs into National Development, on Tuesday December 8, 2015.
The National Dialogue achieved three broad aims as it raised awareness of the SDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. It brought together diverse national development stakeholders in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss a way forward to achieve the SDGs, it highlighted the challenge of monitoring and evaluation and introduced tools which would allow the country to measure its progress in achieving the goals. To emphasize the importance of a nationally driven Post-2015 Agenda, UNDP collaborated with the Ministry of Planning and Development in hosting the dialogue. The number of participants exceeded expectations, demonstrating the interest of stakeholders in working towards the SDGs. Participants consisted of representatives from UN agencies and other international and regional organisations; senior government officials; representatives of the Tobago House of Assembly; representatives from municipal corporations; academia; the private sector and other stakeholders in national development planning.
Key messages from the speakers resonated with attendees. Gonzalo Pizarro, Regional Policy Adviser on Poverty, MDGs and Human Development- UNDP, reminded participants that the Post-2015 Agenda 2030 is undergirded by four (4) Ps: People, Planet, Partnerships and Prosperity. He explained that the 3 principles of the SDGs are: Universality, Integration and “No one left behind.” Ms. Anya Thomas, Senior Project Officer, Sustainable Development- CARICOM Secretariat, affirmed the commitment of the organization to assisting countries of the region in implementing the SDGs as well as aligning its work and Strategic Plan to the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Important interventions and presentations were also made by representatives of the University of the West Indies, the private sector and other UN agencies.
One of the highlights of the National Dialogue was the working group session which encouraged stakeholders to collaborate with each other to address selected development issues utilising the Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) approach. This approach allowed participants to appreciate the multi-stakeholder engagement required to achieve the SDGs and address cross-cutting issues as well as, the importance of pooling resources to be able to better support the implementation of the Post 2015 Agenda.
It is anticipated that that this event will kick-start other more targeted dialogues with interest groups such as the civil society, the business community and youth.