Sustainable Development Goals in the UK Contents


64.By adopting the Global Goals the Government has committed itself to implementing the Goals in the UK as well as overseas. The Government’s doughnut-shaped approach - seeing the Goals as something for the UK to help other countries do, rather than drawing on other countries’ experiences in implementing the Goals here at home - must change if it hopes to fulfil its commitment to work ‘tirelessly for the full implementation of this Agenda by 2030’. We are deeply sceptical and concerned about the Government’s view that updating the Single Departmental Plans to incorporate the Goals will do this. It is a necessary but not a sufficient mechanism. While it is positive that the Government is utilising existing governance infrastructure which Departments take seriously, it will not be enough to encourage cross-government working and policy coherence on sustainable development.

65.The Government should demonstrate leadership and ambition from the very top of Government, set out in a report how it intends to take an integrated approach to implementing the Goals in the UK, and utilise partnerships with businesses, civil society and the public sector, some of which are already taking ambitious steps to tackle the Goals to establish national consensus. As the UK leaves the European Union a re-evaluation of Britain’s national economic, social, and political purpose is under way. Demonstrating a deep and meaningful commitment to meeting Global Goals domestically would send a powerful signal about the Government’s ambition for a “Global Britain” in which no one is left behind, and help forge a new cross-party consensus in the way that the creation of the NHS and the welfare state did after the Second World War.

66.This report represents the start of our work to hold the Government to account on the Goals. We intend to monitor the Government’s progress over the course of this Parliament and will undertake any work we deem necessary to scrutinise the Government’s efforts and highlight any successes and failures to implement the Goals in the UK. In particular, we will look at the extent to which the Government’s updated Single Departmental Plans will facilitate a cross-government and policy coherent approach to tackling the Goals. The current and past inquiries undertaken by other select committees, along with the substantial number of statements and debates in Parliament, demonstrate that this ambitious and far reaching agenda needs to be scrutinised across the whole of Government. We will strongly encourage other parliamentarians and select committees to continue this work over the lifetime of the Goals.

20 April 2017