By Adriana Aralica, Policy and Information Officer, SLOGA – NGO Platform for Development, Global Education and Humanitarian Aid, member of Forus in Slovenia

In 2020, Slovenia submitted its second Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, while the first NGO report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was timely drafted. Drafting the second VNR, the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy developed an inclusive process of meetings with various stakeholders, thematic workshops and regional consultations. SLOGA’s advocacy asks with the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy aimed at ensuring full participation of civil society in the process of drafting the second Slovenian VNR. These efforts resulted in an agreement to co-organize regional multi-stakeholder focus groups (regional consultations) to feed into the VNR reports. It has been agreed that regional consultations will be held in all 12 development regions of Slovenia, with SLOGA facilitating the workshops.

The methodology for the half-day workshops was developed to reflect upon the SDG indicators and regionally specific challenges in order to formulate regionally specific recommendations. In the first part of the workshop, participants discussed trends in achieving the SDG indicators. According to their areas of work, they were divided into three groups linked to the different dimensions of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental). Using the H-form which enables the identification of supporting factors and potential barriers for the implementation of the SDGs, worksheets with trends in achieving the SDG indicators were prepared for each dimension. Participants discussed in groups whether they assessed that the situation in their region was comparable or perhaps deviated from the national average, and they considered supporting and inhibiting factors to achieve each SDG indicator. In the second part, participants continued in groups to discuss the identified challenges and good practices for achieving sustainable development in the region, to consider whether any important topic remained unaddressed, and to develop recommendations. In the plenary debate, the recommendations were presented. The last part of the meeting was dedicated to the evaluation through evaluation questionnaires.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Slovenia (March 2020), only half of the regional workshops have been implemented. The workshops attended by almost 140 representatives of state/public institutions, the private sector and civil society, have certainly been an example of partnership among Government institutions and civil society actors, thus significantly contributing to the localization of the 2030 Agenda, and will be used in further advocacy activities for full participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) in processes of reporting on state’s international obligations. The workshops provided a forum for exchange among various actors with participants identifying the need for a more structured and regular dialogue on sustainable development. Organizing regional-level events provided a valuable insight into the regional differences and understandings of sustainable development and how international policy commitments are translated, disseminated to and understood on regional and local levels. They also resulted in branching out to institutions and organizations usually not reached within our advocacy efforts.

Photo: one of the workshops, in the region of Primorsko-notranjske.