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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Participatory approach and consensus building for the design of Regional-specific targets

Gobierno de Canarias (
Local / Regional Government

    The Regional Government of the Canary Islands has implemented a participatory approach for the design of the Regional-specific SDG targets as the central element for the Canarian Agenda for Sustainable Development (ACDS). A total of 13 working sessions based on a document drawn up by the Regional Parliament in 2018 were conducted in September 2020. The sessions were held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 251 people, including representatives of civil society organizations, the academia, private sector, and public institutions actively participated in the working sessions. The information gathered from those sessions enriched the development and future implementation of the ACDS.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    The Regional Government of the Canary Islands made a public announcement in August 2020 to state the intention to develop the Canarian Agenda for Sustainable Development (ACDS) based on an inclusive and consensus building approach. It was informed that 13 online working sessions would be held online between 10th and 23rd of September 2020. 251 participants and organisations registered online. Special support was provided for people with disabilities, identifying the need for a sign language interpreter. The sessions were organized by the Directorate-General for Coordination and Research on Sustainable Development. The Director participated in each session along with representation of regional government ministries. The sessions were facilitated by an independent consultancy and conducted on the Zoom platform. An online tool was designed for each session for participants inputs and comments, information that serves as basis for the design of the Regional-specific SDG targets. Participants suggested amendments or new targets to the 294 Regional-specific SDG targets proposed by the Parliament of the Canary Islands in 2018. Afterwards, participants shared their insights. All the information compiled as result of the working sessions was analysed and synthesised by the independent consultancy and the referred Directorate-General team composed of 5 people. The total financial resources to carried out the initiative amounted 15.220,75 euros. This initiative resulted in the first draft of the ACDS. The Regional Government is currently working to technically validate the document and will submit it for approval to the Regional Parliament. It is intended to publish an annual voluntary regional review as part of the follow-up of the ACDS.


    The initiative offered both quantitative and qualitative results. The main outputs of the initiative are raising awareness about the 2030 Agenda, the SDG and their localization, as well as facilitate the dialogue and the consensus for the Regional-specific SDG targets. The initiative ensures the participatory policy-making as well as it encourages effective multi-stakeholder partnerships aligned also to the principles of the Open Government. The initiative has an innovative approach in the sense that offers an inclusive solution to the barriers and challenges faced by people with disabilities, geographical fragmentation and the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative also ensured the participation and representation of the most vulnerable groups in the region. Furthermore, that enabled a better mainstreaming of the 2030 Agenda respecting regional priorities for stakeholders to make specific commitments.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Enabling factors: political will, co-shared ownership, initiative dissemination/communication, sectors engagement, online platform to conduct meetings, design of online tools, an independent consultancy with knowledge on 2030 Agenda, high number of the population with IT devices and internet access, Internet, a sign language interpreter and translator. Constraints: COVID-19 pandemic, territory geographically fragmented (archipelago), local context with diverging interests, socioeconomic constraints.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The initiative not only allowed to engage citizens, economic and social actors, and expert practitioners in processes related to sustainable development but also provided an effective and replicable solution for collaborative work and local partnership in a territory geographically fragmented and in the context of a global pandemic for the localization of the SDG. Barriers for the participation of the people with disabilities were considered and specific support was provided as a specific section to request special support was included during the registration process (the Regional Government identified the need for a sign language interpreter and translator). Therefore, additional measures were taken to ensure an inclusive process.

    COVID-19 Impact

    COVID-19 has taken a major toll in the mainstreaming of the 2030 Agenda in the Canary Islands. Initially, the initiative was designed to be performed earlier in 2020 and on-site, in each of the 8 islands of the Archipelago. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative had to be put on hold and re-designed to adapt to the pandemic context: the working sessions were conducted online in September 2020. The new design of the sessions also contributed to a lower environmental footprint considering that the territory of the Canary Islands is geographically fragmented and, additionally, the online modality resulted in a greater participation of stakeholder groups.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    10 September 2020 (start date)
    23 September 2020 (date of completion)
    The Regional Government of the Canary Islands
    Other beneficiaries

    The beneficiaries of the initiative are the population of the Archipelago, benefiting from Regional-specific SDG targets to progress towards the sustainable development and from the multiple stakeholders engagement: civil society, the academia, private sector and public institutions. All the aforementioned parties have demonstrated their engagement in the development and implementation of the Canarian Agenda for Sustainable Development.

    Contact Information

    David, Director-General of the Directorate-General for Coordination and Research on Sustainable Development