1st SDG Dialogue Forum Austria: Building forward better with the 2030 Agenda

By SDG Watch Austria

Austrian government officials, civil society and experts discussed current opportunities and challenges of sustainable development caused by the COVID-19 pandemic at the first SDG Dialogue Forum in Austria, jointly organised by the federal administration and civil society representatives (SDG Watch Austria). The first edition of the annual event laid the foundation for strengthened cooperation between civil society, administration, politics, private sector, and academia for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda both in Austria and abroad.

This year’s kick-off event, which attracted over 530 participants, was centred on innovative solutions for sustainable development in the era of COVID-19 and focused on partnerships for the implementation of the SDGs. To this end, experts from civil society, academia, the private sector and other stakeholder groups discussed perspectives and solutions in the fields of climate action, digitalisation, international development cooperation and social equality (women, youth and leaving no one behind) in four online discussion rounds (“innovation pools”). The results were reported back to the Natural History Museum in Vienna, where Ministers Edtstadler, Gewessler and Mückstein, and experts Antonella Mei-Pochtler (Think Austria) and Nicola Brandt (OECD Berlin Centre) joined a high-level panel discussion and reacted to the innovation pools’ questions and statements. 

Throughout the high-level panel discussion, the federal ministers and experts demonstrated awareness of the interconnected issues related to sustainable development. In particular, they were in favor of addressing issues on multiple levels and applying innovative measures to build a better future for all. Furthermore, the discussants recognised the need for joint efforts, cooperation, and new partnerships to reach the Global Goals and concluded that it is important to involve civil society and academia in the Austrian SDG implementation process.

As co-host (together with the federal administration, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the Natural History Museum), SDG Watch Austria prioritised the contribution of civil society representatives and academia, aiming at fostering dialogue between different stakeholder groups, the federal administration and politicians. 

After the consultation process leading to Austria’s first VNR in 2020, the SDG Dialogue Forum marks another important step for strengthening the collaboration and exchange between SDG Watch Austria and the federal administration – and there is still more work to be done to reach the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The next steps include incorporating the outcomes of the four innovation pools into the future work of the Inter-ministerial Working Group (IMAG), which is entrusted with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Austria. Furthermore, the next SDG Dialogue Forum in 2022 will build upon this year’s results and reflect the ongoing implementation process in Austria. SDG Watch Austria will maintain its dialogue with the IMAG and government representatives and will continue to advocate for ambitious structural measures and political changes to reach the Global Goals.

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