Sustainable Development Goals in the UK Contents


1.The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030 or the Agenda) is a ‘plan of action for people, planet and prosperity’ consisting of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (the Goals or the Global Goals). A list of the Goals can be found in the appendix. In September 2015, 193 Member States, including the UK, adopted this Agenda and committed themselves to working ‘tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030’.1 This report looks at what the Government is doing to implement the Goals in the UK.

2.It continues the work of our predecessor Committee, who reported on this issue during the last Parliament.2 It also builds on the work of the International Development Committee (IDC) which published its report on this issue in June 2016 and concluded that, ‘the Government’s response to domestic implementation of the SDGs has so far been insufficient’.3 In addition to our inquiry the Women and Equalities Committee recently published a report on the implementation of Goal 5 in the UK.4 The Communities and Local Government Committee has asked Ministers about providing universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces (Goal 11.7).5 Since the Goals were adopted there have also been a number of statements and debates in Parliament on the Goals.

3.Chapter two looks at the importance of communicating the Goals to stakeholders and the public to build awareness and encourage engagement. Chapter three assesses progress being made on developing measuring, monitoring and reporting against the Goals. Finally, many of the issues raised by the IDC have still not been addressed satisfactorily, so chapter four of our report continues to scrutinise the Government’s efforts to implement the Goals in the UK.

4.To support the inquiry, we issued a call for evidence and received 56 written submissions. We held five public evidence sessions where we heard from a range of NGOs, businesses and public bodies, as well as Ministers from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Cabinet Office. In addition, we met with the Colombian Ambassador to the UK and officials from the Colombian Government in Bogotá. We also organised an outreach event with young people in Birmingham. All written and oral evidence can be found on our website and summaries of the private meeting and the outreach event can be found in the appendix. We are grateful to all those who contributed and to our specialist adviser Farooq Ullah, founder and co-chair of UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD).6

1 United Nations Resolution A/RES/70/1, para 2

2 Environmental Audit Committee, Second Report of Session 2013–14, Outcomes of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit, HC 200, para 38–39; Environmental Audit Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2014–15, Connected world: Agreeing ambitious Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, HC 452, para 75

3 International Development Committee, First Report of Session 2016–17, UK implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, HC 103, para 74

4 Women and Equalities Committee, Eight Report of Session 2016–17, Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5 in the UK, HC 885

5 Oral evidence taken before the Communities and Local Government Committee on 5 December 2016, HC (2016–17) 45, Q147–149 [Andrew Percy]

6 List of interests: Member, Stakeholder Forum’s Board of Directors; Chair, Future Earth Engagement Committee; Co-Chair, UKSSD; Associate, IISD; Fellow, RSA; Associated Partner, European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN).

20 April 2017