Civil society role in assessing Russia’s performance on Sustainable Development Goals

Russian organisations and activists invited to take part in the preparation of a Voluntary Citizens’ Survey


For the first time, Russia is to report on its implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in 2020. Each country has to report on progress at least twice over a 15 year period.

The country’s Sustainable Development Coalition is currently inviting people to take part in preparing a Voluntary Citizens’ Survey (VCS) on Russia’s implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sustainable Development Goals are a set of socio-economic and environmental objectives that Russia, along with 192 UN-member countries, signed up to in 2015, with a commitment to achieving them by 2030. These include:

  • Eradicating poverty;
  • Sustainable agriculture;
  • Public health education;
  • Gender equality;
  • Access to clean water and electricity;
  • Workers’ rights and industrial development;
  • Urban development and sustainable production and consumption;
  • Environmental protection;
  • Human rights;
  • Anti-corruption;
  • International cooperation

Preparation of the official review is being undertaken by working groups operating within the Russian Government’s Analytical Centre. Each has made an assessment of one of the 17 goals, with their membership comprising representatives from Government, the business sector and the experts’ community. This will be submitted to experts on 13 March.

Civil society in many other countries is also preparing alternative assessments or Voluntary Citizens’ Surveys (VCSs) to make their own views known on the rate of progress being made in implementing Sustainable Development Goals. Preparation of the VCS in Russia is being facilitated by the country’s Sustainable Development Coalition.

The main aim of the VCS in Russia is to submit recommendations to the public sector, as well as finding ways in which the State and civil society can work together in implementing the SDGs. The survey will be presented to the UN at a high-level political forum in July this year.

Anyone who works on social, economic or environmental projects and is prepared to share information on the country’s problems and make recommendations to Government will be able to assist in the preparation of the VCS. In order to do so, you can join the Sustainable Development Coalition or express your wish to take part outside the Coalition.

Why this matters

The involvement of civil society can encourage Governments to take action in response to the needs of its citizens. The SDGs are a set of tasks for building a prosperous society to which Russia is committed. Civil society organisations and activists can play a key role in monitoring and implementing SDGs at a national level. Civil society surveys are therefore vital in ensuring an independent, reliable and accurate assessment of the rate of progress on SDG implementation and in reminding Governments of their obligations to their citizens.


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