The SDGs' missing link: Connecting people to development goals

By Molly Anders 21 December 2015

Bience Gawanas, special adviser to Namibia's minister of health and social services, shares her thoughts on the greatest challenge for accountability in the SDGs.

It’s up to governments and development actors to forge a connection between the Sustainable Development Goals and the populations they ultimately affect, Bience Gawanas, special adviser to Namibia's minister of health and social services, told Devex on the sidelines of the 2015 Annual Democracy Forum 2015 in Bern, Switzerland.

“That’s the problem, we commit ourselves globally but we don’t go back and explain to people, what these 17 goals [are], what commitments and … obligations it has placed on the country and the people of that country,” the former African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs told Devex associate editor Richard Jones.

Compounding this disconnect is the ongoing struggle against single-issue silos in the development sector, even among some of the oldest and most experienced actors.

“I’ve worked with many [United Nations] agencies, and sometimes the same issue, but couched in a different way — because it’s UNICEF, [U.N. Population Fund], etc. — it has been frustrating,” she said.

Watch the video above for more insights from Gawanas and have your say on what is accountability’s greatest challenge in the SDGs, by commenting below.

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About the author

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Molly Andersmollyanders_dev

Molly is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in London, she covers U.K. foreign aid and trends in international development. She draws on her experience covering aid legislation and the USAID implementer community in Washington, D.C., as well as her time as a Fulbright Fellow and development practitioner in the Middle East to develop stories with insider analysis.


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