Cepei: Committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals

By Javier Surasky and Margarita Vaca
Cepei 
j.surasky@cepei.org – m.vaca@cepei.org


A. Introduction

When world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda, they made a global commitment to the promotion of sustainable development and identified a set of 17 Goals whose achievement they considered a priority to ensure the dignity of people, environmental care, promote peace and promote shared prosperity, working within a framework of open and inclusive multi-stakeholder partnerships. 

Within the framework of the Decade of Action to Deliver the SDGs and given the need to build forward better during post-COVID-19, Cepei contributes to this global effort in different ways, working under the premises of generating transformative actions, promoting evidence-based decision-making, and dialogue between stakeholders, and co-creating joint solutions with our partners. 

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B. Cepei as an agent of change for sustainable development

Since 2002, the Centro de Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional (Cepei), an independent data-driven think tank of the Global South, and its interdisciplinary group of experts, has worked to empower people and institutions to find strategic solutions for the implementation, measurement and monitoring of sustainable development, through critical analysis, multidimensional research and the creation of multi-stakeholder partnerships, focusing on global sustainable development agendas.

Cepei promotes the strengthening of technical, governance and leadership capacities within the data ecosystem of Latin American and Caribbean countries, and triggers debate between different actors, from academia to multilateral organizations, to support decision-making for sustainable development, balancing the economic, social and environmental dimensions. 

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C. What do we do to promote the Sustainable Development Goals?

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We build partnerships 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious project that addresses multiple dimensions and seeks to reveal historical problems that have lagged economic growth, social well-being and environmental conservation around the world. Facing these challenges requires interdisciplinary work that links the efforts, resources, capacities and experiences of different actors.

For this reason, Cepei never works alone. On the contrary, it focuses on finding common goals with other organizations and creating partnerships that potentiate the differentiating skills of each stakeholder, in order to outline initiatives with high impact, sustainability and value for sustainable development at the national, regional and global levels.

An example of this is our work as Technical Secretariat for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD). Since 2019, Cepei has strengthened data ecosystems for sustainable development by defining working plans that encourage technical capacities in data management to close information gaps in the measurement and monitoring of the SDGs in the region. 

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High-level advocacy

Our data tools, information generation, analysis and knowledge production is only one part of our work.

All the products that Cepei generates are aimed at promoting actions, which is why they constitute inputs for our evidence-based advocacy tasks. In this sense, we have worked with partners from civil society, the private sector, foundations, governments and international organizations, contributing to the implementation and monitoring of global  sustainable development commitments, so they are effective, efficient and aligned with the principles of the 2030 Agenda.

Likewise, we partnered with the Office of the UN Secretary General to promote the United Nations Development System reform at the regional level; We work together with ECLAC to support LAC countries that present Voluntary National Reviews on the progress of the SDGs; We have partners in the Global South and in developed countries to increase the presence of their voices in global forums; We are part of the coordinating group of Together 2030, one of the largest civil society networks in the world working for the 2030 Agenda, among several other examples of advocacy at the highest level.

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We create capacities to visualize, strengthen and enhance the use of data to measure the SDGs

Every day an enormous amount of data is produced; When analyzed, it allows us to understand the dynamics of societies, and make their needs and priorities visible.  However, given the large amount of existing data, techniques that guarantee its quality and enhance its impact on decision-making, through clear, assertive and timely communication are necessary. 

On the other hand, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals have highlighted the priority of having more and better data, by considering both traditional and non-traditional data sources to complement official statistics and include population groups left behind when it comes to statistical measurement. 

According to the needs and priorities of the different actors, Cepei provides training to strengthen their skills on the use of data for sustainable development: searching techniques and processing to new dissemination approaches such as the Workshop Visualizing data for sustainable development in Latin America or the Data Revolution and Sustainable Development workshop for better decision-making in Jamaica. Likewise, Cepei coordinates peer-exchanges between national and international experts on specific topics.

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We produce knowledge

Understanding, contributing and creating an environment for the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs requires both to analyse results and lessons learned, as well as the closing of information gaps and the active participation of all stakeholders. For this, Cepei conducts objective qualitative and quantitative research that reflects the dynamics of governmental, private and non-governmental actors in compliance with the SDGs at the global, regional and national levels. 

Among these investigations, we can name the collaborative exercise carried out with ECLAC, National measures against COVID-19 and its effect on the SDGs: Relationship between measures taken at the national level in Latin America and the Caribbean to address the COVID-19 pandemic and the goals of the 2030 Agenda, which presents how they are related and the effects caused by measures taken by the countries of the region to deal with COVID-19 on the 2030 Agenda.

Similarly, Cepei promotes sustainable development in the territories by supporting the generation of data stories written by various actors and sectors. These stories are published in our data laboratory (DataRepública) and reflect the reality of a community or population group through the narrative and visual description of their problems, needs and / or priorities, providing recommendations to decision-makers.

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We encourage multi-stakeholder dialogue

One of Cepei’s tasks is to promote dialogue between stakeholders in global sustainable development agendas. 

To do so, Cepei:

  • Has visited the five UN regions, meeting with counterparts from different sectors to seek solutions to shared development problems.
  • Is part of the Experts Group that advises the UN Secretary General in the design of the Voluntary Guidelines for the presentation of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the High-Level Political Forum in 2019 and 2021.
  • Has established a community of experts to exchange experiences, ideas and lessons learned in promoting sustainable development. Representatives of both governmental and non-governmental actors participate in this community.
  • Has created a partnership for data visualization with the Tableau Foundation, a leading company in the field.

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We monitor the progress of global sustainable development agendas

We do this through interactive tools such as the SDGs LAC Position Tracker, SDGs LAC Easy Access and SDGs LAC Action Scenarios. 

In addition, we produce analyzes of each of the Voluntary National Reports presented by Latin American and Caribbean countries at the High-Level Political Forum: what happens in each of its meetings; We monitor and systematize the speeches presented by LAC leaders at the annual debate of the United Nations General Assembly. Along with this, we analyze the results of the Regional Forums on Sustainable Development.

We have also worked together with different partners, such as the German Council for Sustainable Development, in the study of the institutional framework created in Latin America and the Caribbean to implement and monitor the 2030 Agenda.