The SDGs' missing link: Connecting people to development goals

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

  • Molly Anders

    Molly Anders is a former U.K. correspondent for Devex. Based in London, she reports on development finance trends with a focus on British and European institutions. She is especially interested in evidence-based development and women’s economic empowerment, as well as innovative financing for the protection of migrants and refugees. Molly is a former Fulbright Scholar and studied Arabic in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco.

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