SDGs Localisation in Cambodia

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United Nations headquarters in New York. Neptuul/CC BY SA

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious set of 17 goals and 169 targets that were defined and developed through an unprecedented dialogue among UN Member States, local authorities, civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders.

The SDGs build on the Rio+20 outcomes and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The SDGs are universal, meaning they apply to every country in the world. Every national, local and regional governments played an important role in the implementation of SDGs. To ensure that the global goals are applicable and achievable in the local context, each country is required to undertake a SDGs localisation process.

Localisation is the process of taking into account subnational contexts in the achievement of the SDGs, from the setting of goals and targets, to determining the means of implementation and using indicators to measure and monitor progress.

Coordinated by the Ministry of Planning, the localisation process of SDGs in Cambodia started with the review of the goals, targets and indicators, assess the achievement and unfinished goals of the CMDGs and determine the localisation mechanism.

After many rounds of consultation, the localisation process is nearing completion. Speaking in Enrich Talk, a monthly multi-stakeholder policy dialogue platform for sustainable development discussion, HE Poch Sovanndy, deputy director general of planning at the Ministry of Planning indicated that SDGs localisation would finish in the last quarter of 2017 and CSDGs would include an additional goal and three targets on demining, an unfinished business from CMDGs.

“It has been a long and challenging process but we are making good progress. We had a lot of coordination with line ministries to review the goals and target for their respective sectors but the main difficulty is the availability of data to establish the baselines and targets,” he mentioned.

Speaking in the same event, Madam Claire Van der Vaeren, UN Resident Coordinator in Cambodia saw the localisation process as an instrumental step in achieving SDGs and an opportunity for Cambodia to integrate economic, social, and environment dimension in the national development.  “The UN has been supporting the government throughout the process and we are now working on prioritising the goals and identifying key accelerators,” she added.

Dr El Sotheary, a speaker from Cooperation Committee for Cambodian (CCC), a CSO umbrella organisation mentioned that CSOs in Cambodia had worked together with national and international counterparts to provide technical inputs for the SDGs localisation. “CSOs play a crucial role in implementing SDGs and we will continue our engagement with the government to contribute our knowledge and experience,” she added.

The localisation of SDGs will soon be completed which will mark the beginning of a 15-year journey to achieve sustainable development. With 18 goals and more than 170 targets, the road ahead will be not easy but with everyone joining hands, Cambodia will make good progress.

Among all stakeholders, local government is a key driver of SDGs implementation. A concerted effort must be made to raise awareness and build the capacity of local actors so that they take ownership, lead local initiatives and contribute to sustainable development at the local level.

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