On February 27th our Programme Coordinator for Scotland attended the inaugural Open Conversation Event on Equalities and the Sustainable Development Goals, held at Norton Park Conference Centre, Edinburgh. It was organised by Amanda Heenan of Arc of Inclusion (https://www.arcofinclusion.co.uk/) and Sam Tedcastle from the Centre for Good Relations (http://www.centreforgoodrelations.com/). Here are her thoughts on the event:
Open conversation event: Equalities and the Sustainable Development Goals
There has been an increase in discussion about engaging with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recently as countries around the world are undertaking the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to facilitate sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.
The morning began with an introduction to the Equality Good Relations co-production initiative delivered by Open Government Pioneers Project. The project travelled the UK with the aim of finding out more about how the ‘average’ person engages with the SDGs and what barriers exist in these goals manifesting. It was fascinating hearing about the different barriers experienced in the different nations and how much the heritage and historical issues play a part in these. The team highlighted that poor mental health, poverty and prejudice and bigotry were common threads in discussions across the country. However, it was clear that there is a desire of communities to collaborate on shared interests despite having disparate identities.
The second part of the morning was spent looking at the SDGs in more detail; breaking into discussion groups and discussing the SDG that meant most to us. The discussions were in depth and lively, with each contributor sharing why theirs was most important. What became apparent in the discussions is that although the SDGs are individually numbered, it is impossible to target one or two in isolation, each is interconnected with the others and can contribute to their implementation.
I was really pleased to have made it along for the morning session, although my schedule meant I had to leave before the afternoon session. It was great to hear more about equality and inclusion work that is already happening to help everyone engage with the SDGs.
Written by: Kate Kirkwood, S4TP Programme Coordinator, Scotland
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd