Article by Adriana Aralica, Policy and Information Officer, SLOGA – NGO Platform for Development, Global Education and Humanitarian Aid, Slovenia

In the year when the Slovenian government drafted its second Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementation, Slovenian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) prepared a civil society report on the SDGs. Apart from the situation overview and the drafting of recommendations, the contributions also encompass the implementation assessment of individual SDGs or of cross-cutting issues, an overview of civil society’s role in the implementation of SDGs and the potential impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis on the implementation of SDGs. 

The NGO report, drafted by 22 NGOs[1] , addresses gender equality, anti-discrimination and human rights, the wellbeing of children, the position of youth, the rights of the elderly, the rights of migrants, the rights of LGBTI people, inclusive education, inclusive digital society, climate change, beekeeping, fair trade, tax justice, corruption prevention, corporate social responsibility, circular economy and international development cooperation. The report thus addresses and presents in detail some important issues that have not been covered in the Slovenian second VNR. Based on the results from the online survey conducted by SLOGA, half of the participating NGOs are of the opinion that Slovenia does not put enough effort into sustainable development, while more than 70% believe sustainable development to be extremely important for Slovenia. A large majority of the NGOs are convinced that the COVID-19 health crisis will jeopardise the implementation of the SDGs. 

In order to make the implementation of harmonious development more efficient, each contribution in the report contains a set of recommendations focused on an individual goal or cross-cutting issue. The NGO report calls upon the Slovenian Government to strengthen the provision of civic space, strengthen the mechanisms to ensure full inclusion of all individuals, including vulnerable and marginalised groups, in the drafting of a complete analysis and adequate measures for the full implementation of the ‘leaving no one behind’ principle, for strengthening of policy coherence for sustainable development and the establishment of the Government advisory body for the 2030 Agenda. The NGO report is a reflection of civil society efforts to help Slovenia stay committed to the set goals. The Slovenian second VNR refers to the NGO report.

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. The regional multi-stakeholder consultations have been co-organized in partnership with SLOGA. The workshops (attended by almost 140 representatives of state/public institutions, the private sector and civil society) have certainly been a good practice of a partnership among a Government institution and civil society actor, 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 and participants identified 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 understanding of sustainable development (and how international policy commitments are translated, disseminated to and understood on regional and local levels), but also outreach to institutions and organizations usually not reached within our advocacy efforts. 

SLOGA and its member organizations also actively participated in other consultation activities within the Government process of drafting the VNR. SLOGA coordinated a joint response to the draft VNR in collaboration with its 9 member organizations. The advocacy activities to strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships on 2030 Agenda culminated in a call of 35 NGOs and NGO networks to the Prime Minister to establish a Government advisory body on 2030 Agenda. In the call, NGOs reflect upon the VNR and regret that despite an open and inclusive consultative process, the significant engagement of the CSOs in the process is not reflected in the Government report. Furthermore, unlike in 2017, the CSOs and other stakeholders have not been given the opportunity to voice their views during the official VNR presentation at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Therefore, ahead of the official presentation of Slovenian VNR, 35 Slovenian NGOs and NGO networks called upon the Slovenian Government to establish an advisory body for the 2030 Agenda, bringing together stakeholders from various spheres and levels, including underrepresented groups, to support the Government decision-making on sustainable development policies.

The broad scope of issues addressed in the NGO report and broad range of NGOs contributing to the report demonstrate significantly strengthened monitoring capacities of Slovenian NGOs but also established collaboration among these actors to overcome the working in silos mode.

[1]The following NGOs contributed to the report: 3MUHE Institute; Association Cultural, Informational and Counseling Center Legebitra; Ekvilib Institute; Focus Association for Sustainable Development; Forum for Equitable Development (FER); Humanitas – Centre for Global Learning and Cooperation; Institute for African Studies; Institute for Electronic Participation – InePA/Network of NGOs for an Inclusive Information Society in Slovenia; Institute for Gender Equality Studies (IPES); Legal and Information Centre for NGOs – PIC; National Youth Council of Slovenia (MSS); OVCA – Association for Protection and Raising Awareness – Antidiscrimination Centre; Peace Institute; POVOD Institute; SLOGA – NGO Platform for Development Cooperation, Global Education and Humanitarian Aid; Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (ZPMS); Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association; Slovenian Federation of Pensioners’ Organisations – ZDUS; Slovenian Philanthropy; Transparency International Slovenia; TRI Institute; and UNICEF Slovenia.