On Monday, 9 March three RESULTS UK Grassroots members joined supporters from several organisations in the action/2015 and Beyond2015 coalitions to question policymakers on UK involvement in the Post-2015 process. Gill, Nick and Anja took to Westminster to show citizen support for ambitious Sustainable Development Goals and to quiz those in-the-know about the UK’s part in this. They began with a lunchtime meeting with International Development Minister Baroness Northover and several Civil Servants, and in the evening met with the Labour Opposition spokespeople Lord Collins, Anas Sarwar MP, and Baroness Bryony Worthington.

We asked them just a few questions about what they thought of the day…

1) Why was the event important to you?

Anja: I wanted to attend the event in order to highlight the importance of global citizenship and support and ownership of the Post-2015 goals at all levels, from Grassroots up to World Leaders.



Nick: It was a “we the people” event, our chance to share our personal experiences and insight as well as to share some of our more deeply held interests and areas of expertise.


2) What did you hope to learn from the event?

Gill: I wanted to meet and learn from others, to hear and understand what their narrative is, especially the folks from the Global South. When I first sat down, at the table were three people I was particularly glad to talk to:  Bnongani Makhubo from South Africa, Debra Souza from Brazil and Thomas Pallithanan from India and it was great to hear from them and their work in their countries.

3) What was your highlight?

Nick: At an individual level, talking to Thomas from India, but I was very encouraged by all the Lords, MPs and Civil Servants. The highlight was to be on College Green celebrating 0.7% enshrinement in law, but I think hearing other volunteers talk of their hopes and concerns around the SDGS and ODA [was also great].


Gill: [Among others] Baroness Northover saying: ‘I’m proud of what the UK government has done, signing off the 0.7% bill, even in a period of austerity’ – and the wonderful celebrations of this…Lord Ray Collins was definitely a highlight for me [too]! His appreciation of RESULTS UK work in particular.

 Anja: Getting to speak with Baroness Northover over lunch, and hearing her speak passionately on issues of equality and the importance of data. The phrase “she gets it” was thrown around a lot, but it’s true!

4) What did you hear from decision makers?

Anja: Baroness Northover highlighted three key messages behind the SDGs: eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, disaggregating data, and leaving no one behind.

Nick: Britain must do more, Britain can do more, Britain will do more and they need to hear our voices of support to keep the pressure up!

Gill: That [decision-makers] really want Grassroots campaigners and people on the ground to be involved in the process (from Melinda Bohannon, Deputy Director for Post-2015 Development Goals at the Department for International Development). We should keep on engaging with the process and this is valued, we should [also] hold our decision-makers to account. I [also] heard the passion for development that people demonstrated.  These decision makers really wanted to make a difference…and data gathering, evaluation, and inequality is definitely on their radar.

5) What do you think should be the priorities for the SDG negotiations moving forward?

Nick:  Universality of agreement and commitment; 17:169 [the current number of goals and objectives] can be seen as complex but it’s not! Also; inclusion and data are going to be vital, no one should be left behind, women and children have to be the priority, South to South support and negotiations can help a lot, and better governance, accountability and transparency everywhere is needed! It needs us all to make it work on the road to 2030!

Anja: Accountability and monitoring, universal inclusivity (all ages, genders, abilities, religions, demographics, etc.), governance-strengthening, education, local involvement and Grassroots ownership of goals, cultural sensitivity, sustainable and inclusive financing, and disaggregated data. The process is complex, but after this event I feel confident that the UK policy-makers respect this, and are keen to make their priorities our (Civil Society’s) priorities.

DSC_0054Gill: The emphasis should be on [the question] does it work at point of delivery? How do we translate good words into action? How do we factor social norms into our planning? There [also] needs to be more focus on tackling inequality. We need data beforehand to plot smart interventions…there needs to be good monitoring and good evaluation to see if the interventions are working. The role of governance in achieving the goals is crucial. [And] we should be celebrating our successes –what we have done is working!

So there you have it, just a few words from our Grassroots members about this amazing event. It’s clear from what they hear from policymakers that UK Civil Society must, and will, play a vital role in the run-up to September, when the SDGs are agreed by world leaders. Join us to be a part of this pivotal year and lend your voice to the debate! Email us at [email protected] to get involved.