Scotland's Sustainable Development Goals Network
Meeting of the Sustainable Development Goals Network

Global Goals: what’s in it for you? by Paul Bradley

We’re all busy. Busy working on projects, policies and campaigns in the hope that they’ll make a big impact to our organisations. I’m no different, busy promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)to third sector organisations across Scotland.

The question you’re probably asking is, ‘Why do the SDGs matter to me?’

The broad, international agenda of the SDGs can make them seem distant and idealistic, yet if you work in the Scottish third sector, at least one – but probably more – of these goals will squarely align with your mission.

Work is already underway to ensure the National Performance Framework aligns with the Scottish Action Plan on Human Rights and the SDGs – a commitment made by the Scottish Government in its Open Government National Action Plan. The First Minister has expressed pride in Scotland being one of the first nations in the world to sign up to the SDGs. I’m not surprised – it’s an opportunity to promote Scotland’s ambition to take a person centred, human rights based approach.

While this is to be welcomed, it’s only a start and the SDGs need to become embedded across the whole of Government. This agenda needs domestic leadership and the third sector can help the Scottish Government develop its plan for the SDGs by championing the targets that are relevant to Scotland to secure real change.

By simply taking some time to map how the work you do links with the SDGs, you’ll quickly see how relevant you are to this agenda (take a look at the Empower Project for an example). You’re probably already trying to show the impact your organisation makes elsewhere, but by using the SDGs in this way you’ll find alignments in your work to so many different areas, which will undoubtedly help to rejuvenate and prioritise the political debate around your area of work. It might also reveal important areas where you’re less active, which can signal opportunities for further work and support the fostering of new partnerships and collaboration across the sector.

The SDGs give us a framework to think bigger, and it’s important that we push for Government and Parliamentary support to ensure the initial commitment is not left behind.

There’s also an opportunity to join a growing network  that will be with you every step of the way, and one where you can play a central part. They’re a great group of people with one clear shared agenda – to make the SDGs really take off in Scotland.

My next blog will consider the importance of a more transparent, accountable and participative government – an open government – to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Watch this space!

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