1. Why is Agenda 2030 dear to Switzerland ?
The Global UN Agenda for Sustainable Development is dedicated to life with dignity for all – which is a vision shared by Switzerland. The promotion of sustainable development is also stipulated in our Federal Constitution, which is why the Agenda 2030 is very important for us.
Switzerland considers the Agenda 2030 as an achievement, which is unique in history. In 2015, 193 UN member states have set themselves ambitious targets to be reached by 2030. These targets are a universal call to end poverty, protect the environment and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
From the outset, Switzerland was a driving force behind the Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs. Our country was strongly involved in the negotiation process, particularly regarding the SDGs for water, gender equality and peace and inclusive societies. At the same time, we strongly advocated for a robust mechanism for follow-up and review.
2. Switzerland and Serbia: both have a global commitment
As UN member states, both Switzerland and Serbia have made a global commitment to the SDGs and now have to take concrete steps towards their implementation, taking into consideration the specific needs of our countries.
Besides doing its own “homework” to achieve the SDGs, Switzerland uses its international development cooperation to support other states, such as Serbia, to reach the SDGs. The initiative, which we launch today, is an excellent example of that.
3. “SDGs for All” dialogue platform
With this initiative, we expect to boost a society-wide dialogue around Serbia’s development priorities that gives an active voice to civil society, business, academia, youth and citizens from urban and rural areas.
Our experience in Switzerland has shown that the implementation of the SDGs is more successful when it constitutes a joint effort of national and local governments, the business community, academia, civil society and citizens. An open, broad and evidence-based dialogue that helps builds a common understanding of the priority needs and the measures needed to address them is another key ingredient.
The “SDGs for All” program is a joint Swiss and German initiative, which intends to do just that. It boosts a society-wide dialogue around development priorities in Serbia by giving a voice to civil society, businesses, academia, youth and citizens.
4. SDGs for all: to foster the dialogue with the government and local authorities
In other words, its goal is to be a forum to identify and discuss priorities for sustainable development, and to engage in a dialogue with the government on inclusive and evidence-based policy formulation aligned with SDGs and to monitor the progress of SDG implementation.
5. SDGs for all: to address the real needs of people
We believe that this dialogue will ultimately lead to development policies that better address the real needs of people and ensure that everyone benefits equally from the country’s development. For example, these policies should support employment and decent work for all women and men, or foresee climate change measures and strengthen resilience to climate-related hazards. These policies should also reduce the number of people living in poverty and allow that that all forms of discrimination against women are ended.
In our view, this initiative also presents an important opportunity for Serbian society to advocate for a comprehensive development strategy, which contributes to poverty reduction– something, which has been missing in the past years. Such a strategy would nicely complement and reinforce Serbia’s ongoing reforms towards European integration.
6. A sound monitoring and verification of SDGs implementation is dear to Switzerland + United Nations World Data Forum
It is also important to emphasize that Switzerland strongly advocates for the sound monitoring and verification of SDG implementation. We are committed to support partner countries in strengthening statistics and evidence-based policymaking towards realizing the SDGs.
In line with that, Switzerland will host the next United Nations World Data Forum from 18 to 21 October 2020 in Bern, which will gather about 1,500 people from over 100 countries - governments, UN agencies, international organizations, industry and the private sector.
With only 10 years left to reach the SDGs, this Forum will be an important step to verify that data systems are effective in informing governments and that they have the data and statistics necessary for planning, monitoring and to follow up on the 2030 Agenda.
We believe that this Forum will also contribute to strengthening the capacity of people to hold policymakers and service providers to account, which is one of the key principles of democracy.