Join the conversation on Scotland’s performance towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the First Minister confirmed that the Scottish Government would be one of the first anywhere in the world to commit to meeting the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, both at home and overseas. Since then, all 193 UN member states have signed up to the 17 goals that seek to end poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.

The SDGs are the closest the world has come to a strategy to eradicate poverty, address climate change and build peaceful, inclusive societies by 2030. This is an almighty challenge but driving implementation of the SDGs can help us become the society we want to be. In Scotland, the National Performance Framework (NPF) is the Scottish Government’s main local mechanism through which it will implement the SDGs.
The NPF sets out a vision for Scotland through 11 National Outcomes that aim to increase wellbeing for the people and places of Scotland and beyond using a values based approach. The NPF embeds the SDGs through mapping the goals to the outcomes and aligning indicators where possible.

This is a major first step in Scotland, but for the pace of progress to increase, governments, civil society organisations, businesses and communities must work together. That’s why Scotland’s SDG Network and the Scottish Government are working in partnership to secure the voice of these groups in the upcoming UK Voluntary National Review on SDG progress.

The UK Government is responsible for putting together the review, which will be launched at the UN High Political Forum in New York in July 2019. They are currently working with the Devolved Administrations – including the Scottish Government – to gather input into the review. However, given the different approaches in the devolved administrations the potential for a Scottish Supplementary Review is also being explored to give greater exposure to our own experience.

What are we doing in Scotland?

In Scotland, many groups with an interest in sustainability and development have already been engaging with national and local governments to explore what is ongoing and what can be done. SDG Network Scotland, an open coalition bringing together the voices of over 240 people and organisations across Scotland, is working in partnership with the Scottish Government and CoSLA on the review. The Network set up a VNR Working Group in September to focus on the national review. The group was joined by the Scottish Government and CoSLA, and since November has been working to consider how Scotland can contribute to the review and use this as a catalyst to widen involvement. The group is taking an approach based on openness, transparency and inclusion echoing both the Open Government principles and the UN’s principles for conducting the Review.

Call for evidence – we need your help!

This UK Voluntary National Review process gives us the opportunity in Scotland to have a national conversation about where we are on achieving the National Outcomes and the SDGs, what good currently looks like so we can learn from best practice and process, and better understand what our gaps, challenges and barriers are. We recognise that many individuals and groups have been working on sustainable development for some time; we would like to capture what efforts are underway, how they relate to the SDGs and what additionality the SDGs provide. We are keen for your views and would be grateful if you could complete the online survey.

To support your engagement, the following materials are available at

  • A link to the online survey
  • A discussion paper on Scotland’s current performance against the SDGs
  • A communications pack to support us in reaching a wide audience.

Due to the short UK-wide timeline for writing the VNR, we are providing two deadlines to allow for more time. The call for evidence will last from 14th February 2019 to:

  1. 27th February 2019 (deadline for contributions to UK Voluntary National Review)
  2. 29th March 2019 (extended deadline for contributions to inform our longer-term discussions and a potential Scottish Supplementary Review)

You only need to complete the survey once. However, if you would like your evidence considered for inclusion in Scotland’s contribution to the UK-led Review you will need to submit this before the first deadline.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Scotland’s progress towards the SDGs and doing your bit to make sure there is a comprehensive review.


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