The Invisible Mosaic: BC and the Sustainable Development Goals

An overview of results and key recommendations from BCCIC’s 31 community Sustainable Development Goal roundtables

Following the launch of the SDGs the world’s focus turned to implementation – how are we going to achieve these ambitious goals? While the entire agenda can appear overwhelming the work that the goals call for is nothing new and groups throughout Canada have been working on these issues for decades. As a result, the British Columbia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC) decided to take an appreciative approach by first looking at how civil society organizations (CSOs) in BC were already implementing and advancing the goals. Following the launch of the SDGs, BCCIC began a civil society listening tour that visited 7 regions in BC meeting with 29 communities in 31 roundtable meetings to ask CSOs how the goals relate to their work and whether they could be useful for strengthening their impact? The objective was to hear how the SDG agenda landed with groups and to learn what was already being done and how it could be supported.

The results were surprising. Every roundtable meeting revealed a number of groups and individuals already driving progress on each of the SDGs in their communities. In Victoria, the term “invisible mosaic” was used to describe these groups whose efforts remain largely invisible to the public, politicians and even many of the organizations themselves. This “invisible mosaic” is made up of over 2000 groups who are already demonstrating how each and every one of the SDGs can be implemented and achieved. In order to reveal this mosaic, BCCIC has developed an online searchable map that displays which SDGs groups are working on, where groups are located and the regions and countries they are working in. The idea is that the map will allow groups and the general public to more easily connect with each other and build collaboration around the SDGs.

The following report provides more details on these key themes and recommendations, beginning with an overview of the roundtable process itself. Subsequent sections provide a description of the invisible mosaic revealed through the meetings and an overview of the value, opportunities and limitations that participants saw in the SDG framework. The report concludes with participants’ recommendations for key actions needed to
realize the potential of the SDGs and make the goals beneficial for civil society groups in BC. We believe that the findings and recommendations contained in this report offer a unique opportunity for BC to become a leader in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through supporting the invisible mosaic of civil society groups who are already moving us towards a better world.

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