Policy Brief on Civic Space

The effective engagement of nonstate actors in SDGs implementation The multi-stakeholder and inclusive nature of the 2030 Agenda are well established through its emphasis on whole-of-society approaches to implementation and leaving no one behind. A prerequisite to effective engagement is open civic space and an enabling environment for non-state actors to contribute, including an enabling digital environment.1 Some countries that presented their Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2021 reported efforts to create an enabling environment through policies that support multi-stakeholder engagement in 2030 Agenda implementation. These countries include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Namibia, Norway, Sierra Leone, and Thailand.2

On the other hand, ranging from 2017 to 2020, civil society shadow/parallel reports noted a range of challenges that prevent civil society delivery of the 2030 Agenda, including low levels of awareness of the agenda by the public, civil society and government, limited engagement and coordination with government, poor institutional preparedness to implement the 2030 Agenda by national and local governments, lack of an enabling environment, limited finance, issues related to data availability and monitoring capacities, and structural factors such as deeply rooted behaviors and changes in government. In 2021, several civil society organizations (CSO) parallel reports specifically pointed to challenges experienced at the national level, including the need for (i) improved SDGs coordination and integration, (ii) greater transparency and enhanced institutional mechanisms for SDGs monitoring and progress assessment, (iii) higher quality and more stable spaces for policy dialogue between CSOs and governments around SDGs implementation, and (iv) increased capacity-building for all stakeholders.

Policy brief - Civic space - Final

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