The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all social, economic, and environmental sectors in our partner countries, leading to significant challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Responding to these challenges, the 2030 Implementation Initiative has been developed to provide support to partner countries and help align their governance with the urgently needed transformation towards sustainability.



Bringing the 2030 Agenda to Life

The 2030 Implementation Initiative draws on experiences and lessons learnt in 30 partner countries and three regional organisations since 2016. So far, the funding volume of this work comprises about 97 million EUR.


The 2030 Implementation Initiative promotes structural and transformative approaches at the three strategically decisive levels of policy, financing, and monitoring and review. Experiences gained through the 2030 Implementation Initiative before the start of the pandemic are highly relevant, because the pandemic demonstrated that systemic approaches to sustainable development governance such as whole-of-government and multi-level governance approaches are needed in order to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda and to achieve the SDGs with goal of recovering forward. Indeed, these are internationally recognised approaches that support sustainable development governance as a lever for implementing the 2030 Agenda.


Fostering Resilient and Sustainable Recovery in Partner Countries 

According to the Recover Forward approach, the aim is to support partner countries in making their governance, including their fiscal policies, more sustainable, thereby creating the framework conditions for the transformation towards socially and ecologically sound economies. The 2030 Implementation Initiative contributes to the medium-term development of a stand-alone Recover Forward approach promoted by the German development cooperation and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. Technical cooperation approaches must be innovative/smart and in line with the Recover Forward concept. Moreover, they should increasingly focus on digital and climate-neutral approaches resulting in investments that do not restore the status quo but accelerate sustainable development steps. The 2030 Implementation Initiative forms the basis for 2030 Agenda compliant reforms and partnerships, which are associated with high structural impacts.


The 2030 Implementation Initiative aims at developing and/or expanding fundamental governance structures, processes, and policies for a transformation towards sustainability as stipulated in the 2030 Agenda. The systemic approach of the programme focuses on three overarching intervention areas that form the basis for a socio-ecological transformation. These three intervention areas are closely connected and serve as levers for a sustainable and resilient transition. They create framework conditions for socially and ecologically sound economies and for strengthening crisis resilience.

Sustainable development governance focuses on establishing and/or expanding the governance architecture for sustainability. The focus is on developing and/or adapting strategies, policies and structures that align governance in partner countries more closely with sustainability and initiate comprehensive reforms to promote Recover Forward.


Adapting national strategies and developing action plans for a sustainable and resilient recovery.

Adapting national strategies, policies and action plans is crucial to ensure coherence in implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement and to foster co-benefits. A particular focus is on participatory processes in line with the Leave No One Behind (LNOB) principle.


Developing a sustainable development governance architecture relies on a whole-of-government approach to developing and implementing strategies, reforms and Recover Forward plans. This includes establishing and/or expanding efficient coordination mechanisms between different ministries as well as establishing multi-stakeholder platforms to involve relevant civil-society and private-sector actors.


Localising the 2030 Agenda: The economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are particularly felt at the sub-national level. The focus of our approach is on developing and adapting municipal development strategies and plans, and on developing local Recover Forward plans in a participatory manner. To ensure upscaling of successful approaches, these must be integrated into national reform processes, making them applicable to all sub-national governments.

Accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and fostering Recover Forward requires countries to significantly increase their own revenues and the level of private financing. Given the increasingly complex financing landscape and the shrinking fiscal space, this area of action aims to help countries better understand and combine the available resources, effective policies and relevant institutions required to promote Recover Forward.


Further development of a macroeconomic advisory approach: Macroeconomic and integrated advisory services that combine elements of good financial governance, financial system development, and sustainable economic development are needed. It is important in this context that economic stimulus programs be socially and environmentally balanced and meet the different needs and demands of social groups. The development of integrated national financing strategies to achieve the SDGs can also play an important role.


SDG loans are understood as a concessional policy-based lending instrument that supports the SDGs and the overall transformative spirit of the 2030 Agenda. SDG Loans have the potential to effectively combine the strengths of technical and financial development cooperation. To ensure their effectiveness and lasting transformational impact, they need to be accompanied by long-term policy-advice, taking into account specific contexts and demands.


Green bonds are equally relevant as a financial instrument for investing in a sustainable future and a better recovery. Simultaneously developing future-fit infrastructure and achieving climate goals, they are an important instrument for financing environmentally friendly projects, especially in emerging economies. For both financial instruments, the role of development cooperation is essential during the design, implementation and follow-up phase in order to enhance results in terms of achieving the 2030 Agenda and its overarching transformative spirit as well as for building lasting and equal partnerships.

This intervention area aims to strengthen accountability institutions and to further develop data and reporting systems. It contributes to good governance through increased transparency and forms the basis for evidence-based policymaking for sustainable development.


Improving data collection: Census and household surveys are an indispensable data basis for the evidence-based design of Recover Forward interventions. Digital collection methods such as citizen-generated data are to be increasingly utilised, serving as the basis for Recover Forward project measures. Earth observation data can be particularly relevant in overcoming SDG data gaps.


Strengthening capacities for data analysis and processing: Data literacy is a key competence for evidence-based decision-making and policy development. Capacity building for data collection and analysis is essential here and is offered in this intervention area.


Strengthening accountability institutions (e.g., supreme audit institutions, sustainability councils) promote the systemic implementation of the 2030 Agenda and reinforce good governance and democratic oversight. The advisory services focus on establishing and/or expanding their work of examining the use of public funds in the immediate aftermath of crises as well as conducting SDG audits for crisis management.