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Independent monitoring and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its structural obstacles and challenges are key factors for the success of the SDGs. It is for this reason, the Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development together with other civil society organizations and networks has produced the first annual Spotlight Report assessing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the structural obstacles in its realization. The report puts a spotlight on the fulfillment of the 17 goals, with a particular focus on inequalities, responsibility of the rich and powerful, means of implementation and systemic issues. What are currently the main obstacles to achieving the SDGs? Are there transnational spill over effects that influence or even undermine the implementation of the goals? Are the current policy approaches, as they are reflected, inter alia, in the 2030 Agenda, an adequate response to the challenges and obstacles (or are they part of the problem)? What has to be done? Which specific policy changes (at international level) are necessary?
Palace of the Nation, seat of the
Belgian Federal Parliament in
Brussels.(Photo: Belgian
government)

In September 2015, Belgium declared that the 2030 Agenda will give a new élan for Belgian global engagement, calling for human rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, decent work and the power of digitalization, concluding that Belgium was ready to implement the agenda. However, by referring mainly to international cooperation, it was not clear if Belgium accepted the challenge to also change its national policy in order to reach the 2030 Agenda.

A national strategy framework is to be established by September 2016 involving all levels of government, under the auspices of the Inter-Ministerial Conference for Sustainable Development, which is best suited to ensure a coherent strategy among the three regions and the federal government. Nevertheless, midway into the first year of implementation, the policy actions needed remain distant. Belgian civil society organizations demand and urgent and clear response to the challenges of this ambitious universal 2030 Agenda, and to commit to develop an integrated, overarching strategy covering internal and external affairs.

March against violence and
femicide. (Photo: CEM-H)

Honduras has committed itself to implementing the 2030 Agenda and this commitment is essential to overcoming the pervasive violence in the country. Honduras has the highest level of economic inequality in Latin America and is listed as the most violent of all countries that are not in a war situation. Women's lives are particularly at risk, which means that achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030, as mandated by SDG 5, will be a major challenge. More than 18,000 women and girls reported suffering sexual violence between 2010 and 2015, but in less than 6 percent of the cases have perpetrators been condemned.

Implementing the SDGs requires political and the reallocation of resources currently devoted to re-militarization, it is clear that human rights are not the priority. Only if social organizations, with the support of the international community, encourage compliance may the situation of the Honduran people improve.

Due to UNCTAD’s decidedly pro-South and uncompromising development-focused mission, its quadrennial conferences have traditionally been North –South showdowns. Coming a few months after the adoption of the ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 associated goals, the theme of the XIV Quadrennial Conference of UNCTAD (the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) was “From Decisions to Actions.” There was, therefore, reason to expect that this time members would bridge their differences for the sake of reinforcing mandates of the organization critical to the Agenda’s implementation. But that was not the case, and the dynamics were a lot more akin to the difficult ones witnessed in the inaugural Financing for Development (FFD) Forum last April.

In the implementation phase of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is important to learn from the mistakes of the past and to truly advance a holistic framework. From DAWN’s perspective, using an interlinkages and rights-based approach to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) might be useful to assess and promote positive synergies.  This article offers ideas for achieving this by looking at the example of how tackling illicit financial flows could help the fight against women’s trafficking.

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