Translate the Global to the Local
GSDR Community of Practice - Latin America and the Caribbean
The Community of Practice (CoP) was born as an outcome of the dissemination workshop for the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019, held virtually in December 2020.
During the workshop, the participants were acquainted with the concept and the approach of the GSDR. Related actions – maximize synergies, minimize trade-offs, apply levers – were contextualized and initial ideas for concrete steps to address identified issues at local, national and/or regional levels were developed. To ensure systemic interaction, the participants started building partnerships across different stakeholder groups and agreed to join a Community of Practice in order to allow for continuous collaboration beyond 2020.
This is how the Community of Practice came into being. It aims to promote collaboration, support the implementation of action plans, and engender co-creative solutions among peers.
The overall theme for the GSDR Community of Practice is: “How can we use the GSDR framework in national and local contexts to accelerate the implementation of sustainable solutions?”
It refers to professionals working on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and will be shaped by the participants themselves, depending on the support they need, their specific focal topics and challenges.
The participants come from diverse backgrounds and sectors. They are academics, business leaders, social innovators, policy makers, civil society activists and others.
Brasil, Chile, Columbia, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay
As the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by nature are indivisible and interconnected systematic action is needed in order to achieve the agenda as a whole, without compromising the achievement of one goal over another.
Jointly, we strive to maximize co-benefits and minimize trade-offs to drive faster implementation toward the “future we want”. Thus, we aim to break down silos between sectors and stakeholder groups and share examples of how to build upon existing co-benefits and leverage synergies.
We want to generate solutions for policy coherence that enable a smoother implementation and foster a culture of working collaboration. All this is key to bring about sustainable change.
The Community of Practice tackles the question of how to use the pathways presented by the GSDR 2019 and build connections and capacities among professionals from different backgrounds working on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Latin America and Caribbean region. Participants include governmental officials, academia, NGO representatives, and representatives of educational institutions for public administration. We aim to bring together different perspectives and search for solutions that take into consideration the impacts and interconnections between different SDGs. In doing so, the Community of Practice not only supports the implementation of action plans along the 2030 Agenda, but also generates co-creative solutions among peers and facilitates systemic approaches.
Monthly meetings and an online platform provide safe spaces for learning, exchange and collaboration built on trust and equality among members. Participants share both their good practices and the challenges they face, and as such the peers themselves serve as coaches and drivers of the discussion. To this end, we use co-creation and peer learning methods to draw out interests, insights, and learning from practice.
Further individual formats like stakeholder mapping and case studies also invite guests for participation and joint learning. Currently the Community of Practice is working on questions of stakeholder engagement and involvement in order to give inputs from a diversity of practical experience to the GSDR 2023.
The GSDR Dialogues for Sustainabilty are closely connected to the Community of Practice. This format is open to the public. Experts speak on topics centered around operationalizing the key messages of the GSDR and invite participants to join in for lively discussions.
How can we support each other to improve our practice?
What do we already know as a group?
What are we struggling to know?
Where can we experiment?
What is our personal practice?
Which other networks and communities have undertaken similar journeys to inspire us?
Are there opportunities for mentorship etc. from those into our work?
The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019 was drafted by an independent group of scientists from a range of disciplines appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, following the request conveyed in the Ministerial Declaration from the 2016 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). It emphasizes a systemic understanding of the various goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda in order to arrive at transformative pathways, explicitly acknowledging ways in which multiple stakeholders can support and sustain such transformations.
In the past, thematic sessions of the HLPF have focused on a sub-set of "in-focus goals", which ensured that the progress and ongoing challenges around each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) would be considered once within a four-year cycle. In 2019, the HLPF progress review clearly stated that while some SDGs had made progress, others had reversed course and were lagging behind. Therefore, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Decade of Action to boost implementation. During the transition year 2020, as member states deliberated options for holding the High-Level Political Forum, the GSDR provided a useful framework for applying an integrated understanding of the various goals and targets to accelerate progress on the SDGs.
Meanwhile, a new expert group has been formed for the preparation of the GSDR 2023. The participants of the Community of Practice will also have the opportunity to exchange with this team.
With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs have been brought together within one framework as an indivisible and universal whole. Therefore, not only the goals and targets, but also the interactions among them, are brought into focus in the 2030 Agenda.
The GSDR identifies the biggest transformative potentials of the 2030 Agenda, not through the pursuit of individual goals and targets but rather by explicitly considering their interlinkages and resultant co-benefits and trade-offs. In an increasingly globalized and hyper-connected world, any intervention on behalf of just one goal can lead to unintended consequences for the achievement of other goals nearby or faraway, today or tomorrow. Those interactions often imply trade-offs, but also give rise to co-benefits and the significant potential for transformations towards sustainable development. The key to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda thus lies in leveraging interactions among the SDGs away from trade-offs and towards co-benefits, from vicious to virtuous circles.
In dealing with such complex synergies and trade-offs, planners and decision-makers should adopt systemic approaches, following different pathways to sustainable development that offer multiple solutions and drivers, across different sectors and jurisdictions. Moreover, activities need to be undertaken by a diverse group of stakeholders and organizations, other than the governments of United Nations Member States alone. The success of the 2030 Agenda strongly depends on the cooperation of governments, institutions, agencies, the private sector and civil society across different sectors, locations, borders and levels.
The GSDR identifies six entry points representing systems where strategic interventions can harness synergies across goals and targets, and also help mitigate the trade-offs or tensions between them. These systems are essential to constructing durable solutions for narrowing inequalities and ensuring that no one is left behind:
1. Strengthening human well-being and capabilities
2. Building sustainable food systems and nutrition patterns
3. Achieving energy decarbonization with universal access
4. Promoting sustainable urban and peri-urban development
5. Shifting towards sustainable and just economies
6. Securing the global environmental commons.
How to get engaged
As we are bringing together experts from different areas, you are invited to join us!
If you have participated in the GSDR Workshop in December 2020 and want to join the Community of Practice, please contact us.
If you want to learn more about the Community of Practice, are interested to learn more about the systemic approach, or are willing to share your expertise, please reach out to us.