Sustainable Development Goals - Localisation is key

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There are five pillars to the Commissioner’s approach to working with our many and diverse stakeholders to localise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – from scientists to land managers: policy makers to community representatives.

Five pillars of localising the SDGs

The five pillars approach explained

1. Codesign and Collaboration

We continue to focus on the way we work with others, across silos. Stakeholder engagement is deliberate and consciously resourced in the delivery of our science work – engaging across the board from scientists to practitioners and policy makers as we develop our indicators to report against is fundamental to our approach. It is not incidental.

2. Data efficacy and filling knowledge gaps

Localisation of indicators and associated monitoring is a real opportunity. Bringing a focus to better target monitoring programs so that we are filling critical knowledge gaps by taking a “critical few versus important many approach” to a subset of indicators that are determined in consultation with local management authorities and practitioners – and in our state level reporting ensuring that we include a subset of measures that are meaningful for those managing those issues – not just reporting in isolation of what matters on the ground – is a critical pathway to local action on the SDGs.

3. Moving beyond conventional monitoring methods

The Commissioner has been championing Earth observation and spatial data as an unprecedented opportunity to gain new information about people, the built environment and the natural environment for some time now.  Earth observation and spatial technologies can help get the data we need not just the data we can get - at scale and in a cost-effective way. Spatial technology offers new levels of intelligence to quantify, analyse and unlock the transformative potential of the SDGs. Recommendation 18 of the 2018 SoE report [link] speaks to this opportunity and was supported in principle by the Victorian Government in December 2020 so we look forward to more investment in this space.

4. Coherence/alignment – Policy, Strategy and Action

Taking a systems approach to our work as reporters that is reflective of the whole SDG endeavour – we are creating reports that relate to each other and indicators for reporting that talk to each other – including subsets of indicators that speak to local management, policy and strategy. In that way science and a focus on agreed key performance indicators for reporting at all levels, helps bring about collective impact and have us working as one.

5. Pragmatism

Do not let the perfect get in the way of the possible and practical.

The Commissioner provides independent and objective science reporting (to inform policy-makers, scientists and the wider Victorian community) on the state of Victoria’s natural environment and to advise government.

The Commissioner is supported to deliver my work by a small, dedicated team and through the participation of literally hundreds of colleagues who participate with science, a broad spectrum of perspectives and invaluable insights into our science program.

For the Commissioner and her team, the emphasis remains on practical and meaningful action and partnerships to deliver progress against the SDGs at the local level – localisation is key – change will be delivered by and with local communities and our work developing the methods and guiding the implementation of the SDGs at the local level is an important aspect of making progress against the SDGs at the subnational level.

This is the way forward as ultimately it is the work on the ground that makes the difference.

 

Codesign and collaboration engagements

Our first SDG Indicators workshop for Victorian stakeholders back in February 2018; and this consultation process has become a fundamental way that we effectively apply the SDGs to environmental reporting in Victoria.

Since the first SDGs workshop opened by The Hon Lily D'Ambrosio MP Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, work with the Commissioner’s Reference Group and diverse stakeholders across Victoria is ongoing with a focus on policy coherence, partnerships and information flow to apply the SDGs for ‘state of’ environment reporting.

On 26 May 2021, we delivered our ‘Uniform local indicators for the 'State of Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report Workshop' in collaboration with The Royal Society of Victoria.  Minister D’Ambrosio provided an opening address outlining continued support for this work locally.

The workshop bought together coastal local management authorities, including catchment management authorities, local council, and a range of non-government organisations, to determine a subset of the 87 indicators that can be reported on uniformly, across all Victorian coastal local management authorities.

Data from this latest workshop, will be used in the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report.

We look forward to running further engagements with our diverse stakeholders, to operationalise the localisation of the SDGs in Victoria.