France volunteered at the first High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2016 to present a comprehensive national review of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Across France, SDGs implementation is moving forward. What is the current state of this implementation and how is it organized?
France has achieved a high standard of living and quality of life, based on inclusive social protection systems (unemployment insurance, minimum social benefits, redistribution policy) and universal access to health care, basic goods and services (water, energy, quality food, education). It has also developed state-of-the-art public and private infrastructures: innovation and research, transport, communication, cultural heritage.
However, there is still work to be done, particularly in terms of reducing social, educational and gender inequalities, maintaining ecosystems in good condition and ensuring the sustainable management of natural resources. In a context of weak growth, the level of unemployment remains persistently too high, particularly among young people.
On June 27, 2018, following the meeting of the National Council for Statistical Information (CNIS), 98 French monitoring indicators were published. A qualitative diagnosis will therefore be able to be established on the current state of France in terms of sustainable development.
In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals while meeting national challenges, France has decided to adopt a Roadmap. The purpose of the Roadmap is to define the priority issues and the path for implementing sustainable development in France, while mobilizing concrete leverage actions and engaging all French stakeholders.
The development of the Roadmap involved French society in all its diversity. The work was launched on April 26, 2018, under a high-level steering committee, the governance body for the development of the Roadmap. This development was supported by the work of 26 multi-stakeholder working groups and cross-cutting workshops. France’s Roadmap was adopted on September 20, 2019.
The preparation of this Roadmap was coordinated by the Delegation for Sustainable Development..
The Roadmap is intended to be shared and appropriated by all, which is why it has been developed in a short, synthetic and communicative format. It is structured around 3 parts:
1. The ambition of the 2030 Agenda, the vision and major orientations shared by the actors
2. The proposals and commitments of the actors around 6 issues:
2.1 Issue 1. Acting for a fair transition, fighting against all forms of discrimination and inequality and guaranteeing the same rights, opportunities and freedoms to all
2.2 Issue 2. Transforming society’s models through carbon sobriety and the economy of natural resources, to act in favor of the climate, the planet and its biodiversity
2.3 Issue 3. Relying on lifelong education and training to enable changes in behavior and lifestyles adapted to the world we are building and to the challenges of sustainable development
2.4 Issue 4. Acting for the health and well-being of all, particularly through healthy and sustainable food and agriculture
2.5 Issue 5: Make citizen participation in achieving the SDGs effective and transform practices by strengthening experimentation and territorial innovation
2.6 Issue 6. Work at the European and international levels to promote the sustainable transformation of societies, peace and solidarity
3. Renewed modes of action to accelerate the transformation towards a more sustainable society
A concerted implementation involving all actors of the society
From its negotiation to its implementation, the inclusion of all is the structuring principle of the 2030 Agenda. To meet this ambitious objective, France has set up a consultation process in the form of collaborative workshops, while promoting innovative consultation methods.
The Voluntary national review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda presented in 2016, as well as the Progress reports made in 2017, 2018 and 2019, were the subject of multiple collaborative workshops and inclusive consultations in order to establish shared diagnoses and to create a community of actors mobilized in favor of the SDGs. A multi-stakeholder High-Level Steering Committee, co-chaired by two Secretaries of State was set up in accordance with the decisions of the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development held on February 8, 2018 under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. The High-Level Steering Committee relied on an interactive consultation mechanism and numerous exchanges with national and territorial representation, as well as with civil society, in particular by relying on the consultative bodies relating to the environment (the National Council for Ecological Transition) and international solidarity (the National Council for Development and International Solidarity).
To go further... Conclusions of the various collaborative days
Innovative collaborative approaches
The two édit-a-thon Wikipédia, that were held in partnership with Wikimedia France, allowed for participatory contribution to the strengthening of knowledge and understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals. During one day, several volunteers improved the French Wikipedia pages on the SDGs, which suffered from a great lack of content. While some of them had been able to benefit from a one-day training on contribution, most of them were novice "Wikipedians".
The #DatavizODD, data-visualization contest, aimed for an innovative illustration of sustainable development, with materials which could be used to highlight the data and indicators of the SDGs. The contest was created to reach a new audience, in particular actors involved in the digital transition (statisticians, data scientists, developers, etc.), but also to allow the creation of visual and innovative solutions to communicate widely and make the SDGs known and facilitate their appropriation by the general public.
The Sustainable Development Goals are accompanied by a list of 244 indicators: 232 without duplication, with 31 non-statistical indicators, i.e. dedicated to the implementation of public policies, and 198 statistical indicators.
The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies coordinates the statistical work on the indicators between the various ministries and statistical services to enable the monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs at the national and international levels. Of the 231 indicators selected at the global level for monitoring the SDGs, France decided to undertake a study of the indicators.
France decided to work on the appropriation of the set of SDG indicators in order to define indicators adapted to France’s specific and local priorities. To achieve this objective, a working group on the French version of SDG monitoring indicators was set up within the National Council for Statistical Information (CNIS).
The association and consultation principle with representatives of all actors in society was a central element in setting up the CNIS working group on SDG indicators. Associations (e.g. ATD Quart Monde, France Nature Environnement, Secours Catholique, etc.), research institutes (e.g. IDDRI), and government institutions (e.g., the National Observatory on Poverty and Social Exclusion) were thus invited to join the various public institutions, ministries, and ministerial statistical services.
To go further... CNIS’s work
The first step was to select the most relevant UN indicators for national monitoring. The second step was to propose alternative or complementary indicators adapted to French strategies and To carry out this selection and proposal work, the working group was divided into three sub-groups corresponding to the following three themes: "Economy - Finance - Labor - Sectors of activity", "Environment - Infrastructure" and "Social issues - Health - Employment - Living conditions".
At the end of this consultation conducted under the National Council for Statistical Information, a scorecard of 98 indicators was proposed mid-2018, which constitutes today’s national framework for monitoring France’s progress in achieving the 17 SDGs.
This dashboard has been published here: https://www.insee.fr/. Its data is updated annually.
At the same time, France continues to participate in the international reporting of the 231 global indicators to UN agencies.
Finally, work is underway to determine whether some of these 98 indicators can be calculated at the regional, departmental, urban or municipal level.
In addition to the Roadmap, initiatives to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs are carried out in the territories.
These local initiatives have a dual objective:
- to provide elements for reflection and potential action in support of the Roadmap,
- to serve as an experiment for the proposals of the national working groups.
In 2018, the French General Commission for Sustainable Development (CGDD), the Regional Directorates for the Environment, Development and Housing (DREAL) and the Center for Studies and Expertise on Risks, the Environment, Mobility and Development (Cerema) initiated initiatives to build collective skills with their partners (departmental territorial directorates, organizations supporting territories) and territorial stakeholders: local authorities, associations, companies.
The objective is to stimulate collective dynamics, to identify and test operational tools and methods to take ownership of the 2030 Agenda and contribute to achieving its objectives.
The initiatives of the territories and DREALs are promoted by the CGDD and Cerema and have led to the production of a toolbox to raise awareness on the 2030 Agenda and integrate the SDGs into projects. This toolbox is easy to use, does not require any particular resources and is free of charge.