Multi-stakeholder engagement in 2030 agenda implementation

CCIC partnered with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs to research how governments engage with diverse stakeholders to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda calls on governments to apply a whole-of-government and a whole-of-society approach to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. Based on a review of country reporting to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development over 2016-2019, the study identified trends and country experiences with respect to multi-stakeholder engagement. The report showcases 10 lessons to inform inclusive and participatory approaches to 2030 Agenda implementation.  

VNR Stakeholder Engagement Research

Podcast: The Sustainable Development Goals and Canada’s National Strategy for the 2030 Agenda

Podcast: The Sustainable Development Goals and Canada’s National Strategy for the 2030 Agenda


In this episode of Development Unplugged, Nicolas Moyer, President and CEO of CCIC, hosts a conversation about the international Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the development of Canada’s National Strategy to address them and how civil society is engaging to meet these goals.  


Our guests are:  

Tina Cobb – Senior Policy Advisor of Sustainable Development and Strategic Partnerships at the Government of Canada Sustainable Development Goals Unit (SDG Unit). 

Mike Simpson – Executive Director of the British Columbia Council for international cooperation (BCCIC). 

Podcast: The Sustainable Development Goals and Canada’s National Strategy for the 2030 Agenda

Four must haves for Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy

Shannon Kindornay, Director of Research, Policy and Practice, Canadian Council for International Co-operation, and Laurel Wayne-Nixon, Lead SDG Policy Researcher, British Columbia Council for International Cooperation


On May 15, 2019, the Government of Canada closed its two-month consultation on Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy. Along with 192 other countries, Canada committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 — a bold vision to realize progress for prosperous and inclusive societies and environmental sustainability for people and the planet. The 2030 Agenda includes an ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and is grounded in human rights, gender equality, inclusivity, participation, planetary boundaries and efforts to leave no one behind.


Over March to May 2019, the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation and the Canadian Council for International Co-operation partnered to prepare a series of policy briefs on Good Practice in 2030 Agenda Implementation to inform Canada’s national strategy. Based on this work, and broader participation in the consultation on the strategy, there are four key elements we expect to see in Canada’s draft 2030 Agenda National Strategy, set for release ahead of the summer.


1) Guidance on all aspects of 2030 Agenda implementation

With only 11 years left on the agenda, the national strategy will need to spell out all aspects of implementation with a particular focus on where and how the government will accelerate action. This means that the strategy will need to move beyond describing sustainable development priorities to include plans to raise awareness on an ongoing basis, engage non-state actors and diverse communities, foster partnerships and build capacity for implementation, coordinate all levels of government and across sectors, localize implementation and monitor and evaluate progress. We expect the plan to detail who is responsible for what, how implementation will work through existing and new processes, and key milestones. In this context, we will be looking for how the Government of Canada plans to make a whole-of-society approach to implementation meaningful in practice, particularly for communities at risk of being left behind.


2) A plan to leave no one behind

Canada’s 2018 report to the United Nations on its progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda stressed efforts to leave no one behind. The 2030 Agenda is not about shifting averages. Its success is rooted in progress for everyone, everywhere and governments will be judged on their ability to target the furthest behind first. We expect the national strategy to outline who is being left behind in Canada and abroad, matched by a clear roadmap for how Canada will engage and support the empowerment and leadership of those identified.


3) A national plan for global leadership

We expect Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy to outline how Canada will realize progress on sustainable development in Canada and abroad. The universality of the 2030 Agenda requires actions to address sustainable development challenges in Canada and globally such as climate change, financial stability and health pandemics that transcend borders. Leaving no one behind globally means focusing on those furthest behind in Canada’s efforts to support sustainable development in other countries. To support Canada’s global leadership, we expect Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy to set an ambitious agenda for 2030 Agenda implementation in Canada and with respect to Canada’s global commitments, grounded in evidence, local priorities and whole-of-society approaches that work to leave no one behind.


4) A robust accountability system

The consultation included a focus on the Canadian Indicator Framework to monitor progress on the 2030 Agenda and transparency and accountability. We expect the national strategy to include a transparent commitment to report on progress in Canada and globally. Canada’s SDG data portal is already a good practice in terms of providing Canadians with the latest data on SDG implementation. A timetable for more comprehensive reporting at national and global levels is now needed. We also expect to see provisions to review the national strategy itself, for example in 2025 and 2030, with a focus on lessons learned, success factors, course correction and future efforts. Finally, Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy should spell out how elected officials, people living in Canada and independent bodies, such as human rights councils, will be engaged to ensure overall accountability for 2030 Agenda implementation.


Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy has significant potential to help push the needle on sustainable development in Canada and lay the groundwork for a more inclusive, prosperous, environmentally friendly and collaborative society. We, along with many others, are ready to contribute to Canada’s whole-of-society approach to leave no one behind.


This opinion piece is part of the Good Practice in 2030 Agenda Implementation Series produced by the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation and Canadian Council for International Co-operation and funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

Podcast: The Sustainable Development Goals and Canada’s National Strategy for the 2030 Agenda

Research partnerships to realize the 2030 Agenda in Canada

Nasya Razavi, Post-Doctoral Visitor, The City Institute, York University and Jon Beale, Manager, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada

 The 2030 Agenda is ambitious. Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires a whole-of-society approach across sectors. Collaborative research partnerships create pathways between practice and research that advance learning towards effective sustainable development solutions. Producing timely and relevant knowledge that informs evidence-based programming and policy is key to meeting the SDG indicators in Canada. However, challenges around research partnerships mean these collaborations happen less frequently than they could in Canada. Additionally, expenditures on research and development in Canada will require a breakthrough to meet the 50% increase in dedicated researchers needed to achieve targets in science and innovation.

Existing contributions to the 2030 Agenda

Nevertheless, existing innovative partnerships happening across Canada provide a starting point to bridge the gap in SDG-related research partnerships. For example, the Alliance 2030 is an on-line platform that creates space for diverse organizations and individuals the opportunity to connect and collaborate. The Blueprint, Generation SDG, an effort of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative, showcases a range of collective actions and local partnerships in Canada working to advance sustainable development. Finally, the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation’s (BCCIC) Movement Map reveals the “invisible mosaic” of organizations contributing to the sustainable development without an explicit reference to the SDGs. This trend exists in academia as well. Scholars are fueling SDG research though their efforts are not necessarily framed as such.

In response to this blind spot, Next Generation – Collaboration for Development, a joint research program between the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development, has teamed up with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Canada to map areas of research on the SDGs in Canada. This project aims to identify how researchers and their partners contribute to the implementation of the SDGs and to uncover under-represented areas in SDG research. Further, based on emerging research on academic and civil society collaboration, the team has identified capacity challenges for building effective and fair partnerships, and determined the need for accelerated knowledge mobilization and outreach.

Promoting collaboration

Implementing the SDGs in Canada means significant investment in research and development, but also fostering a partnership-enabling environment as shown in a recent policy brief by CCIC and BCCIC. Government and government agencies have a role to play in facilitating exchanges within and between sectors by acting as a convener to support cross-sector exchanges and knowledge sharing. Financing collaborative efforts and capacity building mechanisms can support the transformative elements of the 2030 Agenda, including engaging historically marginalized communities in Canada as partners.

There is an opportunity to leverage existing funding opportunities to better link research and collaborative research projects to the 2030 Agenda. For example, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Imagining Canada’s Future initiative focuses on future global challenges facing Canadians that in part reflect the SDGs. SSHRC also provides funding opportunities to support collaboration between academics and non-state actors and manages certain programs that could support the 2030 Agenda. The National Research Council Canada also supports international innovation and collaboration. Bolstering these existing approaches and explicitly linking research to the SDGs could further buttress collaboration. Responsive funding and seed funding to support the capacity to test new ideas could enhance community and non-state actor efforts, leading to new synergies and scaling of successes. Universities across Canada have already started to take on the 2030 Agenda by incorporating the SDGs into their strategies on campus. Universities provide fertile ground for SDG research, monitoring and evaluation, enabling multi-stakeholder partnerships, and importantly, engaging students.

There are great strides to be made towards implementing the SDGs. Promoting a culture of cross-sectoral collaboration and research partnerships presents an exciting opportunity to advance the 2030 Agenda in Canada and abroad.


 This opinion piece is part of BCCIC and CCIC’s Good Practice in 2030 Agenda Implementation Series, an initiative funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program.

First posted on the Government of Canada’s Show Your Colours Blog here