[This text has been written by Eva Casamitjana, Elena Esteban, Solenne Garnier and Kate Whitfield, coordinators of the Thematic Working Groups for the definition of ISGlobal's SDGs Strategy 2020-2030, and Sara Paulí and Patricia Pascau, from the Global Development team, coordinator of the process.]
As an institute of Global Health, we are truly committed to the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): we offer professional advice to multiple local governments and private companies on how they can contribute to the full implementation of the SDGs; we are also members of the SDG Observatory for Spanish Companies and we promote the platform El Día Después, a multistakeholder initiative aimed at addressing the challenges posed by the SDGs. In the global scenario, we coordinate the Health for All initiative within the framework of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a project promoting good practices to achieve SDGs, while we support the activities of their Spanish chapter (REDS-SDSN). We also coordinateThink_SDGs, the European Network of Global Health Policy Think Tanks for the SDGs, that aims to achieve the health-related SDGs.
From a more internal perspective, the ISGlobal Strategic Plan 2019-2023 identifies the contribution towards the SDGs as an opportunity to work in a more systemic, sustainable and equitable way. Therefore, ISGlobal has set the design of an SDGs Strategy 2020-2030 as a main priority. The strategy aims to set the direction and define the priorities of ISGlobal with regard to the 2030 Agenda, while raising awareness among ISGlobal staff. As inclusive participation is considered crucial to ensure ownership over the process, ISGlobalians from different departments, organized heterogeneously in three thematic working groups and steered by a Task Force, have provided their input in the design of the SDGs Strategy.
ISGlobal has set the design of an SDGs Strategy 2020-2030 as a main priority. The strategy aims to set the direction and define the priorities of ISGlobal with regard to the 2030 Agenda, while raising awareness among ISGlobal staff
As a starting point for this process, the Task Force made an alignment of ISGlobal key policy documents and projects with the SDGs and their targets. This exercise revealed that a total of 14 SDGs are already covered by the ISGlobal policy documents and projects analysed. Among them,the SDGs 3, 17 and 11 stand out. This first analysis provided a baseline for working groups to pursue next steps of the design of the Strategy, in which the groups identified which SDGs are more relevant for ISGlobal according to their areas of expertise; defined opportunities and challenges to contribute to the 2030 Agenda, such as becoming a center of reference for selected SDGs and envisaging them at the core of our activity or monitoring our contribution to the 2030 Agenda, respectively; identified potential goals and actions aligned with SDGs that could be included in the Strategy; and described the actions needed to achieve them.
The next step will be to assess its feasibility. A draft Strategy is expected to be ready by September 2021. The final goal is defining an ambitious and feasible roadmap for a greater contribution on the 2030 Agenda at ISGlobal.
The participatory nature of this process, that promotes multidisciplinary teamwork among diverse departments, has been considered a real strength of it, forcing the groups to broaden their sights. Obviously, this also implies an effort to fully understand the other’s perspectives and to review all areas of the institution, and the complex context of the pandemic has brought additional challenges, but sustainability is de facto an inclusive agenda: it is crucial that all ISGlobalians feel part of this common goal.
Another innovative aspect of the process has been the development of a novel scoring system to rank priorities, based on impact and timeliness rather than on personal opinions.
The participatory nature of this process, that promotes multidisciplinary teamwork among diverse departments, has been considered a real strength of it, forcing the groups to broaden their sights
The future implementation of the Strategy is considered a main challenge by the working groups, from quickly taking action once the strategy is defined to ensuring an effective implementation. However, the groups are committed to make this Strategy a reality. We fully agree that a transition towards a more sustainable agenda is needed across all areas. We expect that the Strategy will materialize our commitment to sustainable development, but let us be more ambitious and envisage ISGlobal joining the global Race to Zero and committing to a sustainable society beyond its research, education and knowledge translation. We would like to emphasize the importance of familiarizing with SDGs, of better understanding what they intend and how we can contribute to them, and of fitting SDGs philosophy in all areas of the institution. We hope that this will soon become a reality.