News Release: SDGs off-track, under further threat by COVID-19

SDGs off-track, under further threat by COVID-19

July 10, 2020 – In time for the United Nations High-Level Political Forum 2020, global civil society platform CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) raises the alarm on being off-track in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs), and under further threat amid COVID-19, as shown by its survey on the implementation of the SDGs and the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

The HLPF 2020 is the UN’s main platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. For the first time, it is taking place virtually, with the theme “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the Decade of Action and delivery for sustainable development.”

“The 2020 HLPF is happening under extraordinary, once-in-a-generation, circumstances with a pandemic literally grinding the world to halt. The magnitude of its impact on the 2030 Agenda progress is yet to be fully realised, but it is certain to be substantial and as devastating as it had not been since the Second World War. Therefore, the reconstruction should include all of society, and engage the participation especially of civil society,” said CPDE Co-Chair Marita Gonzalez.

CPDE’s VNR study presents the perspectives of 43 CSOs from 32 countries. The study uses the lens of effective development cooperation to analyse SDG implementation and conduct of VNRs. The results show that effective development cooperation is key to putting the SDGs back on-track.

The full report can be read and downloaded here:

“In our study, respondents acknowledged the integration of SDGs in national development planning, but suggest weak country ownership and institutional stakeholder engagement, as well as poor transparency and inclusivity in the SDG processes,” explained CPDE Co-Chair Beverly Longid.

Moreover, they identified major gaps in implementing SDGs, such as the inadequate engagement of CSOs, and anticipate challenges amid COVID-19.

“CSOs in our study expect challenges in attaining the goals in light of COVID-19: whatever progress has been made towards achieving the SDGs over the past five

years is now in danger of being clawed back by the COVID-19 pandemic,” shared CPDE Co-Chair Richard Ssewakiryanga.

Respondents offer recommendations to improve SDG implementation, founded on fostering an enabling environment for civil society participation, especially embedding meaningful CSO participation in governance structures.

For CPDE’s part, it presents the Belgrade Call to Action as a means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly to help reverse the global trend of shrinking civic space.

“Through the Belgrade Call to Action, we articulated measures that can be undertaken to promote civil society participation in the 2030 Agenda implementation,” explained CPDE Co-Chair Justin Kilcullen.

CPDE also calls on UN Member States to consider the COVID-19 as a wake-up call to rethink the socioeconomic model, and realise that delivering the 2030 agenda and the Decade of Action is a collective endeavour.

 As CPDE Co-Chair Monica Novillo argues, “Achieving the SDGs was already a daunting challenge prior to the pandemic. The end of this crisis is still a long way off, but it presents the world with the challenge of rebuilding our societies with the furthest behind at the forefront.”

 CPDE is an open platform that unites CSOs from around the world on the issue of effective development cooperation (EDC). It strives to make development more effective by reshaping the global aid architecture and empowering CSOs working on the ground.

It represents CSOs from six regions (Africa, Asia, Pacific, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean), and eight sectors (Agriculture and Rural Development, Feminist Group, Indigenous Peoples, Faith-Based Organisations, International Civil Society Organisations, Youth, Labour, and Migrants and Diaspora).

To know more, visit, or visit @CSOPartnerships on Facebook, @csopartnership on Instagram, and @CSOPartnership_ on Twitter.#


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