Closing Plenary

Reflecting on the day

The closing plenary, led by Andrea Connell, was carried by the spirit of SDG #17: partnership. The feeling of unity was palpable in the room, among all the different participants: SAIs, stakeholders, partners and government representatives.

It was a chance to breathe and regroup after long days of hard work, and the atmosphere was relaxed – cozy even, filled with hopeful chatter and good-hearted laughs.

The plenary was the opportunity to review the SAIs’ challenges that were raised during the week and discussed during the day’s workshops, from the necessity to obtain reliable data in cooperation with national institutes of statisticss and improving all actors’ accountability, to the great tasks of addressing the crucial coherence between the 17 SDGs, and coordinating with a wide range of stakeholders with different mandates. It was even raised that possible changes to SAIs’ mandates and resources may be necessary to effectively conduct their work on the SDGs.

It was important to finish on an uplifting note, and Connell asked the participants to also share what opportunities for they had identified during the past few days for increasing the impact of their work on the SDGs. Opening up to their environment was a big focal point of the discussion: engaging with stakeholders (private, public and NGOs) at a local and regional level, in order to build new partnerships and add value to the lives of citizens, was a leading thought.

The event celebrated 1,5 years of Sharaka-cooperation – a journey of common discovery, solidarity and friendship, putting SDG #17 into practice. Many participants underlined the importance of the global commitment of all SAIs and their partners to implement the 17 SDGs, and expressed hope that the week’s findings would allow them, together, to stimulate and guide governments in devising policies, coordinating their priorities and reaching their goals.

The atmosphere was hopeful, everyone felt encouraged by the high levels of cooperation, by the fact that that in spite of every country having its own customs and facing its own challenges, many SAIs have and will continue to learn from each other. Much hope was placed on the government preparedness reviews, which will help identify gaps and challenges per country, and will be used to advise governments on how to better implement the SDGs.

Francine Giskes closed with a few words that highlighted the immense spirit of cooperation of the conference and the importance of partnership. She invited those present to embark on a new common journey. To symbolize this they were given a piece of paper containing flower seeds with the message: Moving forward with stakeholders: sowing the seeds for SDG success. “The timeframe is short and the challenges are great, but they will be tackled in the spirit of togetherness.”

Marie-Charlotte Pezé
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