Autumn 2015 Newsletter

In the wake of September's adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this second edition of the Foundation for Democracy and Sustainable Development's quarterly newsletter focuses on SDG 16, which aims to "ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels", among other targets.

Read on to find out how SDG 16 could act as the node of transformative potential in the SDG framework; how the UK's Westminster Government is (or isn’t) responding; the particular role of open data in monitoring – and achieving – the SDGs more broadly; as well as FDSD’s response to the Environmental Audit Committee's consultation on the UK Government’s approach to sustainable development.

We also round up relevant news and ideas from around the web, with stories and examples from Latin America, Africa and more.
As always, we're bringing together rigorous thinking and practical examples in partnership with others, to help inform and create change. Please get in touch at if you or your organisation would like to work with us, share inspirational examples, or write reports or provocations.
The inclusion of “accountable and transparent institutions” and “participatory and representative decision-making” in SDG 16 is an important end in itself. However, it risks being ignored, particularly by richer countries, in its role of  crucially underpinning achievement of the SDG project more widely. There has also been little attention paid to the most effective ways to achieve this goal in practice.
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With its emphasis on “responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making”, SDG 16 faced the greatest danger of being removed or watered down as the Goals were drafted. But SDG 16 survived, and could act as the node of transformative potential in the framework, argues Cat Tully.
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The SDGs provide a renewed impetus and necessary excuse for the UK to address its sustainable development challenges. With Holyrood and Cardiff leading the way, the onus is on Westminster to catch up. SDG 16 provides the means to do it effectively, transparently and accountably, says Andrea Westall.
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Open data is a term used to describe data that is free and openly available for anyone to use. The World Bank’s August 2015 policy paper, “Open Data for Sustainable Development” identifies a number of benefits of open data in enabling the monitoring and achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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This summer, the Environmental Audit Committee called for submissions to its consultation on the UK Government's approach to sustainable development. FDSD responded.
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News and comment from around the web
In October 2015, think-and-do tank Instituto Igarapé published 'Where is Latin America? Reflections on Peace, Security, Justice and Governance in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda'. The paper argues that Latin America has largely ignored SDG 16, despite being “a hive of innovation and experimentation” on preventing violence, extending justice and promoting good governance. It also identifies ways for governments and civil society to identify and share lessons from the region.
“Good governance will be pivotal for implementing, reviewing and improving the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, say the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development in their recently published e-book, Governance for Sustainable Development: Ideas for the Post-2015 Agenda
Adedayo Bolaji-Adio’s chapter (and related ECDPM publication) on ‘The Challenge of Measuring SDG 16: What Role for African Regional Frameworks?’ focuses on how to analyse, measure and implement Goal 16.
Legislation Lab is an online platform for enabling public discussion of upcoming legislation. International in reach, it offers citizens easy access to legislation – as well as examples of related experiences from across the globe – and uses a participatory model to collect their feedback.
Click here to view existing discussions and find out more about how Legislation Lab can be used to compare governments’ responses to the SDGs.
“For the Sustainable Development Goals to meet the ambition of being truly transformative, the monitoring and accountability framework, spanning from the local to the global levels, must be people-centred, inclusive, transparent and participatory,” says the Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP) Network in a new policy paper.

Another TAP paper focuses on SDG 16 indicators exclusively.
:: Images ::
SDGs - © United Nations
Critical role of institutions in implementing SDGs - © United Nations / Cia Pak
The UK, the SDGs, and Goal 16 - © Crown Copyright / Georgina Coupe
The role of Open Data in supporting democracy and the SDG's - (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) courtesy of NATS press office /
EAC submission - (CC BY 2.0) courtesy of Natesh Ramasamy /
Latin America and SDG 16 - (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) courtesy of World Bank / Charlotte Kesl

What role for African Regional Frameworks? - © United Nations / Martine Perret
Legislation Lab  - (CC0 1.0) courtesy of Barn Images /
TAP Network paper - (CC BY-NC 2.0) courtesy of Bernd Theller /

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