This Study examines ownership and use of the 2030 Agenda by different actors. Has it changed the practices of national governments, major international organisations, specific communities such as the Ocean community, companies or NGOs? Are their implementation approaches relevant? What have the SDGs brought to policy debates and policy-making at the international and country levels? And what are the potential tools to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?

Key Messages

  • Four years after its adoption, more and more references are being made to the 2030 Agenda by international organisations, governments, the private sector and non-state actors, but they rarely question practices, nor do they initiate a transformative project.
  • Governments are not doing enough to implement the 2030 Agenda. Implementation must be accelerated by 2030. Some interesting experiments exist, in particular to integrate the SDGs into budgetary processes.
  • It is essential to restore the backbone of the 2030 Agenda, to develop a clear vision of what does or does not contribute to the SDGs, and to prevent the SDGs from falling victim to an overly vague game of interpretation that everyone can join without questioning the real impact of their actions on the agenda as a whole.
  • To ensure the 2030 Agenda becomes a true global roadmap, it is time to move away from a form of “weak consensus” and to make this programme central to debates, particularly when they are difficult and complex. It should facilitate discussions on sectoral policies, especially trade policies, by questioning their impacts on all of the SDGs. It must assist decision-making and inform the approaches and trade-offs needed to develop sustainable development pathways and to encourage actors to question whether they can do things differently and better. The six transformations proposed by the Global Sustainable Development Report provide a useful approach for these discussions.
  • The High-Level Political Forum should be a place for dialogue and guidance to accompany and develop mechanisms to manage friction and conflicts between the SDGs and to enable real exchanges between actors about the strategic choices to be made. This forum needs to be clearer on what does or does not contribute to the SDG transformative project and must assess the effectiveness of the actions reviewed.
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