The early days of the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDG) are critical, and the actions taken by stakeholders — including public agencies, civil society, and the private sector — will set the foundation for success or failure in the years to come. But how will progress be understood and determined?

To help address the opportunities and challenges raised by the SDGs, West African representatives from policy research institutions, ministries of health, and civil society organizations will meet in Dakar on May 2–3, 2017. Participants at the event co-hosted by IDRC, the West African Health Organization (WAHO), and Consortium pour la recherche économique et sociale (CRES) will discuss the implementation of health-related SDGs across West African countries and the role of policy research institutions in catalyzing progress towards achieving the SDGs.

The consultation will build on the lessons learned from regional consultations held in 2016 in South Asia, East Africa, Latin America, and North America. It seeks to build on the momentum provided by the SDGs to emphasize the importance of partnerships, on the ground perspectives, and evidence as a basis for improved health. It will also explore multi-stakeholder collaboration for the production of evidence, data, and analysis that strengthen health policies and systems.

With valued partners WAHO and CRES, IDRC hereby extends the consultation series to West Africa, hoping to learn and hear from multiple stakeholders in the region. Objectives of the Dakar consultation are to:

  • Explore and understand the status of SDG implementation across West Africa, with particular emphasis on health-related goals and targets.
  • Explore and understand the policy openings/policy space available to policy research institutions in the region with respect to the health-related SDGs. 
  • Explore the actual and potential engagement of frequently excluded civil society stakeholders — such as women, youth, and minorities — in SDG implementation and monitoring. Explore the actual and potential role of policy research institutions and other stakeholders in encouraging and facilitating this engagement.
  • Explore the viewpoints of national and regional stakeholders (particularly representatives of official bodies mandated to oversee SDG implementation) with regard to the roles (both actual and potential) and added value of policy research institutions in the implementation and monitoring of the health-related SDGs.
  • Establish mechanisms or platform(s) for stakeholders, including policy research institutions, to engage with other actors to advance the implementation and monitoring of the health-related SDGs.