The G20 must focus on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Declaration for the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey, in November 2015

Download the SDSN G20 Declaration for Action

On September 25, 2015, world leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This 15-year agenda will guide the international community and national governments on a pathway towards sustainable development. Agreed by the 193 Member States of the UN, the Agenda, entitled “Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, as well as a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, and a framework for review and follow-up. This historic agenda is universal – calling upon countries at all development stages to join efforts in realizing economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection, all underpinned by good governance and the promise to leave no one behind.

The G20, as an inclusive grouping of countries at varying levels of development and income, is well placed to promote the SDG agenda as a universal framework to be pursued by all countries. No country has achieved sustainable development in its economic, social , and environmental dimensions, so the SDGs are stretch goals for all countries. The next few months will be critical for early action on some specific areas of special relevance for the G20 countries, including the efforts to combat climate change that will be discussed at the COP21 meetings in Paris next month and the Habitat III Conference on Sustainable Urban Development to be held in October 2016. In addition the High-Level Political Forum that will be held in July 2016 will provide an important opportunity for taking stock, but by then the world needs to be out of the starting blocks on SDG implementation.

From the beginning, Turkey has placed sustainable development at the centre of its G20 presidency, building on and promoting several existing G20 work streams related to global sustainable development. We welcome this focus on sustainable development and call for the G20 to use its November meeting in Antalya to take a leading role in promoting the implementation of the SDGs in all countries.

We call on the G20 to design an SDG Framework that supports and contributes to the emerging United Nations architecture for SDG implementation, monitoring, and review. The G20 should do so at the political, governance, and operational levels:

  1. At the political level, we call on G20 leaders to commit to action at home and in their global endeavors. At home, all G20 countries should embrace the SDGs in national strategies for sustainable development. Abroad, G20 countries should align their foreign and international co-operation policies with the SDGs and increase their support for international sustainable development with a focus on mutually transformative interaction and strengthening the capacity of other states and stakeholders.
  2. At the governance level, we call on the G20 to support and contribute to effective international and national institutional architectures for pursuing the goals. This should involve active participation in the envisioned multi-level review processes, supporting international mechanisms for cooperation on sustainable development, realigning the G20 governance (e.g. monitoring and review processes) and working mechanisms (e.g. the Development Working Group, DWG) with the need to achieve the SDGs and put in place effective national governance mechanisms to implement the SDGs in their own countries.
  3. At the operational level, we call on the G20 to leverage their comparative advantage as a leading forum for cooperation on economic and development issues. This should start with the alignment of on-going activities to build policy coherence for sustainable development. They should also identify all SDGs where joint G20 contributions would be pivotal, and act on these priorities with concrete G20 goals and initiatives and/or support for activities initiated by others. The G20 should play a key role in revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development and mobilizing multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the achievement of the SDGs.

The adoption of the SDGs in September marks the time to act. Decisive action in the first year will demonstrate how the goals can become a powerful framework and tool for sustainable development. Proactive engagement with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development over the next 12 months will ensure that the goals resonate beyond the UN to mobilize local governments, regional actors, business, civil society, and science communities for action. We therefore call on the G20 to ensure maximum support to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the political, governance and operational levels within the next 12 to 18 months. Progress should be reviewed at the next G20 meeting in China.


Zakri Abdul Hamid – Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Chair of the SDSN Malaysia Network

Paul A. Baker – Dean of the School of Geological Sciences and Engineering at Yachay Tech University, Chair of the SDSN Andes Network

Emma Torres Becker – Senior Adviser to the United Nations, Co-Chair of the SDSN Amazon Network

Ustun Erguder – Director at Professor at the Istanbul Policy Center, Honorary Chair of SDSN Turkey

Hironori Hamanka – Chair of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Board of Directors, Chair of the SDSN Japan Network

Israel Klabin – President of the Brazilian Foundation for Sustainable Development (FBDS), Chair of the SDSN Brazil Network

Siamak Sam Loni – Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth

Dirk Messner –  Director: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Co-Chair of the SDSN Germany Network

Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé – Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Spain; Co-Chair of the SDSN Spain Network

Birahim Bouna Niang – Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the University of Dakar; Co-Chair of the SDSN Sahel Network

Cherie Nursalim – Vice Chairman of GITI Group, Co-Chair of the SDSN Southeast Asia Network

Aromar Revi – Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Co-Chair of the SDSN Leadership Council

Teresa Ribera – Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Co-Chair of the SDSN Spain Network

Angelo Riccaboni – Rector of the University of Siena, Chair of the SDSN Mediterranean Network

Jeffrey Sachs – Director of the SDSN and the Earth Institute at Columbia University

Gesine Schwan – President of the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform, Co-Chair of the SDSN Germany Network

Jatna Supriatna – Chairman of the Research Center on Climate Change University of Indonesia, Chair of the SDSN Indonesia Network

John Thwaites – ‎Chair of the Monash Sustainability Institute; Chair of the SDSN Australia/Pacific Network

Virgilio Viana – Director General of the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS); Co-Chair of the SDSN Amazon Network

Wing Woo – Professor of Economics at the University of California at Davis, Co-Chair of the SDSN Southeast Asia Network

Lan Xue –  Cheung Kong Chair Professor and Dean of the School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM) at Tsinghua University in China, Co-Chair of the SDSN Leadership Council

Soogil Young – Visiting Professor of Green Growth at the Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management, Chair of the SDSN South Korea Network