Local Action with Global Impact: The Case of the GROW Observatory and the Sustainable Development Goals

Raquel Ajates (Lead / Corresponding author), Gerid Hager, Pavlos Georgiadis, Saskia Coulson, Mel Woods, Drew Hemment

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Abstract

This article reports on Citizen Observatories’ (COs) potential to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reflecting on the experience of the GROW Observatory (GROW). The research aims to take the first steps in closing the gap in the literature on COs’ potential contributions to the SDG framework, beyond quantitative data contributions for indicator monitoring. Following an analysis of project activities and outcomes mapped against the SDG framework, the findings reveal GROW’s potential contributions across two dimensions: (i) Actions to advance the implementation of goals and targets through awareness raising and training; participatory methods; multi-stakeholder connections; and supporting citizens to move from data to action and (ii) Data contributions to SDG indicator monitoring through citizen-generated datasets. While earlier research has focused mostly on the latter (dimension ii), CO activities can impact numerous goals and targets, highlighting their potential to relate global SDGs to local level action, and vice versa. These findings align with the growing literature on COs’ ability to bring together policy makers, scientists and citizens, and support changes to environmental policy and practice. Furthermore, this research suggests groundwork activities that address the goal and target level can also enhance sustained data collection to contribute to indicator level monitoring. We conclude with future trends and recommendations for COs wishing to contribute to the SDGs. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Article number10518
Number of pages17
JournalSustainability
Volume12
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Citizen Observatory
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • participatory policy making
  • co-design
  • citizen science
  • SDG indicators
  • open data

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