What We Do

We mobilise civil society so that it plays an active role in keeping the spotlight on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We organize citizen action to support implementation and hold leaders to account for the promises they have made.

Our main objectives are:

  • To provide an accessible online space to share information on engagement and delivery of the 2030 Agenda around the world.
  • To support advocacy and public participation in the 2030 Agenda at national, regional and global levels
  • To share innovative approaches, insights and good practice between practitioners, experts and activists.

We achieve these through four key activities:

Policy & advocacy

We support civil society groups from every region of the world to influence policy decisions on sustainable development and carry out advocacy at national, regional and global levels. Members are supported to analyse the work of power-holders and ask tough questions where they see challenges, risks and shortcomings.

The Policy and Advocacy Working Group works collaboratively at the United Nations by contributing at key regional and global forums.  

For more information, you can go through our Policy and Advocacy tools and reports.

In order to strengthen the impact of our activities, we actively support the participation of civil society in the yearly UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The HLPF provides the main opportunity to engage with the United Nations processes to ensure monitoring, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda commitments.

You can find out how to engage with the HLPF in our useful Tools & Resources section.

We regularly host events with civil society partners to improve engagement at the HLPF.

We participate in the HLPF through the UN Major Groups and other Stakeholders, these are civil society constituencies which are recognised in an official mechanism to encourage public participation in international decision-making on sustainable development. 

There are currently approximately fifteen stakeholder groups who are able to have a formal say in the follow up and review of sustainable development policies. These constituencies include:  

  • Women
  • Children and Youth
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Local Authorities
  • Farmers
  • Trade Unions
  • Business and Industry
  • Science and Technology
  • Older persons
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Local communities
  • Volunteer groups
  • Foundations
  • Education and academia 

Monitoring & accountability

We invest in the capacity of civil society to monitor progress on sustainable development, with a particular focus on citizen-generated data, so that they are able to contribute to and provide oversight of government reporting on progress on the SDGs, the Paris Climate Agreement as well as other national commitments.

The Monitoring and Accountability working group has been supporting national goal monitoring efforts, as well as seeking to build citizen-generated data initiatives. 

 

We support key national focal points with access to best practices on national monitoring and provide assistance to develop civil society reports alongside the official Voluntary National Reviews  You can find all the national civil society ‘shadow’ or ‘spotlight’ reports for each year of the High Level Political Forum here.

If you would like to develop an independent report in your country, we have prepared a useful Toolkit which provides you with a step-by-step guide to develop your own ‘Scorecard’.

 

We also support the organization of an annual survey and report to monitor the state of goal progress and public engagement in the national implementation of the SDGs.

Public mobilisation

We mobilize collective action to include at least 1 million active citizens every year and maintain the public spotlight on this shared agenda.

 

We work to familiarize the public with sustainable development and the commitments made by governments, with an aim to promote people-powered accountability and foster citizen mobilisation. We organise solidarity actions with individuals working for sustainable development and cooperate with others to build a people’s movement.

The key moment for mobilisation takes place around 25 September each year, to mark the moment when the UN General Assembly agreed the 2030 Agenda. In 2017, the Global Day of Action #Act4SDGs, supported a diverse global series of events such as community marches, town hall meetings photo stunts and online actions. Over 11,000 tweets reached an estimated 84 million people in addition to the 1000 community actions taking place in 380 cities and 116 countries. In 2018 the Global Day of Action reached approximately 1 million people in 1.325 cities, in 165 countries. 

Innovative solutions & capacity development

We share lessons learned and good practice in innovation so that civil society and active citizens can more efficiently deliver the agenda from the national to the global level. We showcase examples of how members are using solutions that are sustainable and grounded in local needs. This not only serves to highlight best practice and innovation, but also to hold ourselves accountable.

In August 2018, Action4SD was a partner for the inaugural UNLEASH: Sustainable Development Goals Innovation Lab which brought together 1,000 talented individuals from around the world for nine days in August to create real, scalable solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals. We also partnered with Unleash for the nomination of their 2019 cohort. 

We regularly hold webinars to support the development of the skills of civil society partners, so that we ensure effective opportunities for capacity development.

For more information, you can read our Strategic Plan 2018-20 as well as our Mission Statement and Governance Outline.