Enhancing democratic participation and human rights at the SDG crossroad of food, health, gender and wellbeing: Civil society mapping for integrated action on the SDGs in Australia and Canada

Organizer: Kiah Smith
Format: Onsite-Online, Afternoon

Transformations in food, health and wellbeing will require societal innovations in policy and governance. In recognition of this, civil society is mandated to play a key role in partnership with Governments in implementing the SDGs. Civil society includes formal and informal civic sector organisations, as well as individual ‘citizens’ and social movement coalitions. These groups often seek to advance human rights-based approaches in order to bring about transformations to sustainable development. Many civil society organisations working to alleviate poverty, food insecurity and health-based inequalities do so through collective action and policy advocacy that simultaneously centres gender equality, indigenous sovereignty and climate justice as key drivers of change. Social movement narratives about societal transformation are often at the forefront of shifting public opinion and action, making civil society organisations important actors engaged in shaping pathways for ‘localising’ the SDGs. This session will explore how civil society organisations across Australia and Canada are engaging in actions that have the capacity to drive human rights-based transformations within food and health systems, in both policy and practice. All speakers are engaged in praxis-oriented research and policy around SDGs, and will share knowledge of how diverse civil society organisations are measuring and achieving the SDGs, with a focus on interconnected goals (food, health, wellbeing, poverty, gender equality, climate action) and tools for more democratic governance. The two themes are: 1. What is the scale and scope of integrated action towards achieving SDGs, and how can we ‘map’ civil society outcomes against SDG targets and indicators in different settings? 2. What opportunities for collaboration does engagement with the SDG agenda provide for civil society organisations? What types of governance structures and processes are needed for civil society organisations to participate more fully? This topic focuses on identifying successful participatory actions that contribute to transformative governance.

Themes: Integrated Action for the SDGs, Knowledge-to-Action