“Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract – sustainable development – and turn it into a reality for all the world’s people.” – Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General (1997 – 2006)
Two fundamental statements from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in September 2015 by all Member States of the United Nations, guide our work:
“We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment by protecting the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”.
“All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind”.
For more than 25 years Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future (SF) has been a bridge between stakeholders of all kinds and the international intergovernmental forums where sustainable development, and in particular the environment and issues related to its good governance are debated, global goals are established, and strategies mapped out. Our work aims to enhance open, accountable, and participatory decision-making and good governance for sustainable development through the continuous involvement and participation of stakeholders in these forums, and in the action that flows from their work.
In consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 1996 and accredited with the United Nations Environment Programme since 2005, SF is an international not-for-profit non-governmental organization, a European foundation, and a global network working to advance sustainable development and in particular the protection of the environment at all levels/ the three dimensions of sustainable development, social, economic, and environmental. Our work promotes open, accountable, and participatory decision-making and good governance by promoting and supporting the involvement of stakeholders of all kinds and at all levels in multilateral organizations.
We have a particular focus on expanding the opportunities for effective stakeholder engagement in international sustainable development and environment processes, through communications, capacity building, and the establishment and maintenance of open and participatory governance arrangements in international assemblies and institutions. We also give support to a variety of networks and partnerships to engage stakeholders at regional and national levels in the implementation of sustainable development policies and practices including in the environmental arena.
We support all action directed to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs their targets, and the success of the 2030 Agenda. We encourage the continuing quest for maximizing the synergies, interlinkages, and coherence between the goals so that they can be implemented in a well-integrated and coherent way at all levels and maximize the benefits they offer and contribute to transformational change.
Working closely with academia and the scientific community, we advocate for science and evidence-based decision-making by bringing the latest and cutting-edge research and thought leadership to policy processes around sustainable development. We seek to help stakeholders of many kinds to bring new insights and fresh energy to key issues, especially at the crucial times when the international debate is poised to move towards consensus and decisions on real action to be taken in the world.
Within the overarching sustainable development framework, we are particularly conscious of the imperative need to protect the global environment and the fundamental ecosystems of the planet which support all life. We give special attention to those global environmental issues that stand most in need of globally conscious champions and advocates and internationally concerted action. We support holistic ecosystem approaches and actions and policies designed to achieve nature-positive outcomes. We work with several members of the UN family on sustainable development and environmental issues but give particular attention to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and to engaging stakeholders with their work. We also have long-standing relationships with many of the UN’s Member States in all the regions of the world, working with them in support of forward-looking and proactive approaches to the challenges of sustainability and the protection of the global environment.
As a hub for innovative and creative thinking, our team – along with a range of experts and partners from around the globe – has long been closely involved in a broad range of intergovernmental and multilateral processes related to sustainable development and the environment, and in the ways to maintain good governance of those processes with optimal opportunities for stakeholder participation. Our unique experience, coupled with knowledge, insights, and extensive networks enable us to offer helpful advice, including capacity building and connectivity to a wide range of stakeholders, including civil society, as they seek to find their own best pathways to effective engagement with international action on sustainable development and protection of the global environment.
Stakeholder Forum was founded in 1987 as UNED UK Committee (United Nations Environment and Development UK Committee) operating at that time as the National Committee for the United Nations Environment Programme in the UK. After gaining consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 1996, the organization was rebranded as Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future in 2000 to reflect the broad range of activities that the organization was undertaking in the UK, and internationally. While we handed over our role in UK stakeholder engagement to UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD), which SF co-founded in 2017, we continue to work closely with UNEP under an ongoing MOU to promote stakeholder engagement and capacity building around the world.
The organisation played a key role in the preparations for and follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and the 2012 Earth Summit (www.earthsummit2012.org) and was active in the following years during the consultations around and adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Agenda in 2015. Stakeholder Forum has been and continues to be the leading organisation in developing and facilitating global multi-stakeholder processes on sustainable development.
In December 2017, Stakeholder Forum formed a partnership with the Earth System Governance Foundation to strengthen the understanding of transformative governance for sustainability through integrating scientific research and multi-stakeholder advocacy. The Partnership strengthens the evidence base of the multi-stakeholder processes facilitated by Stakeholder Forum, and the impact of the novel policy solutions that are developed by researchers from the Earth System Governance Project. It focuses on better governance that is needed to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda across scales and across policy areas.
As a long-time partner of The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs – UNDESA, SF regularly supports its activities. In 2018 and 2019 we contributed to expert meetings held by the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development, in cooperation with the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination, exploring lessons learned from the first cycle of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in advance of preparing for the two 2019 HLPF meetings.
One outcome of that collaboration is the recent (September 2019) Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies, developed in partnership with the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, and UNDESA. It aims to support National Councils for Sustainable Development and similar multi-stakeholder bodies in their efforts to deliver the 2030 Agenda. Another notable current SF project is the Global Partnership for Ocean Wave Energy Technology, a sustainable development innovation multi-stakeholder partnership aimed at transforming the energy supply of small island developing states (SIDS) and other coastal communities with utility-level electrical power generation from ocean waves.
How we operate
Stakeholder Forum is incorporated in the United Kingdom (England), the United States (New York), and The Netherlands. We work with consultants and advisors from around the world to deliver our project work. That work, conducted on a not-for-profit basis, is funded by grants and contractual agreements from governments, United Nations agencies, foundations, and international financial institutions.