The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals it encompasses reflect an important and ambitious global policy framework for human development. This agenda is to be pursued throughout the period up to 2030 by all national jurisdictions.
Equality and non-discrimination are deeply embedded within this policy framework and its pledge to leave no one behind. Its concern for people involves a determination to “ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment”. Its vision is rooted in “a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination”.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be viewed as a central and important driver for more equal societies across the globe. The achievement of equality for all, the accommodation of diversity, and the ending of discrimination are an essential requirement for the achievement of the vision for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The mandate of equality bodies places them in a key position to contribute to the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The ambition and nature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the policy framework it establishes for all countries makes the Sustainable Development Goals central to the ability of equality bodies to achieve their goals and realise their potential for equality and diversity in society.
We have identified three ways in which equality bodies can establish themselves as key actors for implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:
This engagement by equality bodies would place them at the heart of the key international development paradigm in their jurisdiction, a development paradigm that will be in the ascendance over the period up to 2030. This development paradigm provides a platform for the more effective implementation of their mandate to promote equality and combat discrimination and for the achievement of their goals.
According to our recent study carried out by Niall Crowley together with the Working Group on Policy Formation, most equality bodies still need to deepen their expertise on the intersection between equality and non-discrimination and the Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, equality bodies should consider investing resources in developing their operational capacity to engage effectively with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, preferably with additional support to do so.
The achievement of more equal societies is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Equality and non-discrimination are central to unlocking the potential in the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure no one is left behind. The European Union can offer the establishment and operations of equality bodies across the Member States as a form of good practice that could usefully be taken up globally.