School of Transnational Governance

Agenda 2030 is a call for action for governments and for stakeholders

Dr. Lucilla Spini has called for more inclusive approaches in transnational governance to attain sustainable development.

Currently on sabbatical leave from her role as Head of Science Programmes at the International Council for Science (ISU), Dr Lucilla Spini joined the European University Institute in January 2018, in order to conduct research on stakeholder engagement process within the context of international policy frameworks on sustainable development. “A bonus of being a Young Policy Leader Fellow in the School of Transnational Governance is being allowed to study my own work as science/policy broker within the United Nations” she said.

Lucilla Spini

Lucilla Spini is a Young Policy Leaders Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance.

During a presentation given last Tuesday, Spini reflected on how the international community’s conception of sustainability has changed, in relation to Agenda 2030. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at the United Nations, build on the Millenium Development Goals and then go further, aiming to eradicate all forms of poverty.

Sustainable development is everybody’s business.

According to the United Nations, ‘governments are expected to take ownership and establish national frameworks for the achievement of the 17 Goals.’ Yet others must also be involved, says Spini. “Today, we further emphasise that sustainable development is everybody’s business,” she said, noting that Agenda 2030 calls for joint action by governments, the private sector and civil society.

To catalyse thenecessary global and transnational effort, the United Nations have developed a mechanism which allows stakeholders to make their voices heard in the UN – which is conventionally a forum primarily for states. By acting as ‘Major Groups and Other Stakeholders’, representatives from the scientific community, the business sector, NGOs and others can take part to the intergovernmental High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. 

For Spini, who believes that stakeholder engagement is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the success of this mechanism is essential. Among the vital requirements for success, the mechanism must be truly inclusive and representative of all actors, she says, adding that power asymmetry between interest groups is carefully avoided. “The Sustainable Development Goals require a transversal and integrated effort from all actors,” Spini concluded. “We cannot afford to leave anyone behind”.

Dr. Spini holds a B.A. (Hons.) in anthropology from New York University, as well as an M.Sc. in human biology and D.Phil. in biological anthropology, both awarded from the University of Oxford. She is an Old Member of Linacre College and a Young Policy Leaders Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance.