A general debate on the 'UK Voluntary National Review on the Sustainable Development Goals’ has been scheduled for Tuesday 11 June 2019.
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The 2015 UK aid strategy did not refer to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs – also known as the Global Goals), which were approved at the UN in September 2015. The 17 goals, with 169 associated targets for human development, are to be achieved by 2030. The rallying cry throughout the negotiations was ‘leave no one behind’.
The SDGs are the successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – eight goals with 18 associated targets for human development, which were agreed in 2001, most of which were to be achieved by 2015.
The Goals were briefly mentioned in the December 2016 Bilateral and Multilateral Development Reviews, where the UK said it would “drive forward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
For a while, there was criticism that details about how the UK was going to do this remained sparse. However, in March 2017 the UK government published Agenda 2030: Delivering the Global Goals, outlining the government’s approach to implementing the SDGs in the UK and internationally.
Then, in December 2017, the UK government published Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. This report set out some of the ways that the government is supporting the delivery of the SDGs, showing how this was now reflected in updated Single Departmental Plans for all relevant government departments.
Over the last year Penny Mordaunt on several occasions reiterated the importance the government places on achieving the SDGs. In late-2018 she said that it would be conducting a “national conversation” with “British savers and pension holders” about how they can invest in developing countries to help meet the SDGs and that the results will be announced at a UK-Africa Investment Conference in 2019.
In October 2018, DFID stated that the UK was “well placed” to deliver the SDGs by 2030 and had made “significant progress” towards some of them. Later this month, the government is due to submit a report to the UN (called a ‘Voluntary National Review’ [VNR]) assessing its performance on the SDGs. The International Development Committee is currently conducting an inquiry on UK progress in implementing the SDGs.