How local government can make better, more sustainable decisions 

Local and national governments across the world make decisions every day. But what fundamentals are these decisions based on? The honest answer is policies and plans are not more often than not based on any core principles or best practice. Few actually have a framework for ‘what goods like’. 

That’s why the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), if used correctly, act as such an amazing framework to support good decision-making. As all UN member states have signed up to them you can be confident that using them as your guiding principles will help accelerate sustainable development in your country in line with its own commitments and ambitions. 

Below are stories of how the Accelerating Action tool has been helping local and national governments across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Make your policy coherent

Governments are good at making policy. What they find more difficult is understanding and showing how they all align and interact with each other to achieve broader national ambitions and goals. 

The Accelerating Action tool makes it easy to translate policy into the commonly shared language of the SDGs to make policy coherent and comparable. Compare anything from transport policy to climate policy to local area plans to county development plans.

Case study: how two councils could explain their combined impact

The local authorities of Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council took the ambitious step to develop a collaborative cross-border climate framework. A smart move considering climate change doesn’t recognise boundaries.

But how do you communicate a coherent vision when you’re working across two different jurisdictions? The answer was to use the Accelerating Action tool to map the framework to the SDGs, a set of goals that both counties have signed up to.

The result was a framework that could clearly communicate the collective impact of the two counties’ joint framework to the public, politicians and even the internal teams working on the framework. 

As an added bonus, as the SDGs encompass more than just climate action, the results of the tool, in the form of the SDG wheel visual, could communicate the multiple co-benefits the climate framework would deliver beyond environmental impact.

Explain the value of your project, policies and plans all in one place.

Improve your Climate Action Plans

Climate action plans (CAPs) are fundamental to make meaningful change to avert the climate crisis.

Ironically, CAPs are being created to overcome shortsightedness (ie focussing solely on GDP over people and planet) while at the same time being guilty of similar shortsightedness (in this case focussing solely on carbon emissions).

Solving the issue of Carbon Tunnel Vision.

By using the Accelerating Action tool and mapping your CAP to the SDGs you can communicate just how your CAP can deliver benefits beyond climate action including, for example, benefits to livelihoods, economic growth, gender equity, health and well-being to name a few.

Case study: how Ireland's national government used the tool to enhance its climate work

Since 2021, Ireland’s national Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication (DECC) have adopted the Accelerating Action tool to help them embed the SDGs across national and local government. 

Their first use of the tool was to assess Ireland’s latest Climate Action Plan against the SDGs to be able to communicate just how impactful the CAP would be in terms of environmental value but also social and economic value.

Ireland's Climate Action Plan uses the Accelerating Action tool to explain the plan's multiple benefits.

Help access the funding you need

More and more funding is looking for applications to explain the positive sustainable impact of their proposals. Many even explicitly ask proposals to explain how they contribute to one or more of the SDGs. 

The Accelerating Action tool helps you quickly and accurately explain your proposal not just in terms of how it aligns to the 17 SDGs but also the 169 underlying Targets making your proposal able to explain more specifically just how you’re helping achieve sustainable development.

Case study: How a council improved its application to win funding

Derry City and Strabane District Council used the Accelerating Action tool in their proposal for Acorn Farm: an ambitious project ‘encouraging people to take climate action through better food choices, growing programmes, climate focussed activities and sharing learning to change behaviours.’

By using the tool to communicate how the proposal contributed to a wide number of SDGs and specifically which of the SDG Targets the application could comfortably and confidently explain just why the proposal was so beneficial.

In the end  The National Lottery Community Fund granted the council almost £1.7 million of funding to bring the Acorn Farm project to life.

Too many of us focus on the output of what we do and not its impact. The Accelerating Action tool helps you explain your work's value.

These are just a few of the benefits of using the Accelerating Action tool to make better, more sustainable decisions.

Sign up to the free trial or contact a member of our team to find out today how it can help you achieve your sustainable goals.