Update: Accelerating the SDG progress through an SDG Alliance

Hui E! Community Aotearoa is committed to facilitating joint work across sectors, generations and populations to scope the viability of an SDG Alliance for Aotearoa.

This follows on from our 2019 People’s Report on the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – which was a cross-sector effort. The report brought together a variety of perspectives together. It focussed on how we are progressing towards a more just, equal and sustainable society and a healthier planet, alongside a desire to create an SDG Alliance.

In March this year, and as part of the Aotearoa SDG Summit Series, we shared an initial concept of an SDG Alliance. We also invited participants to connect with us on this kaupapa. Over 50 people reached out. This resulted in us setting up two online workshops in June. The focus of this kōrero is to test the ideas we’ve developed so far, then workshop the role of an SDG Alliance and how it could work.

Our first workshop discussion

On 2 June 2021, Hui E! Community Aotearoa, the Waikato Wellbeing Project, the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness and Te Puna Oranga o Ōtaki facilitated our first workshop on the role of an SDG Alliance. This included how an alliance could support people and organisations across society committed to the goals and aspirations of the SDGs. Close to 40 participants from the community sector, local government, businesses and educational institutions attended.

We shared our draft Statement of Intent (SOI) and why we had chosen each of the statements listed in the SOI. This included sharing about a Te Tiriti o Waitangi Relationship Framework model. The model reflects a true partnership between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti within an alliance.

The group then shifted into smaller roopu (groups) to discuss feedback on the SOI and four visionary questions. This included focusing on what success would look like, and what the most important outcomes and added value would be of an alliance. Participants were invited to join a Tangata Whenua or Tangata Tiriti breakout discussion.

The outcomes from both these workshops will feed into our proposal on the viability of an SDG Alliance. We will present these findings at the SDG Summit in September. We welcome other groups’ input as we go forward. If you would like to participate in future discussions, please email

The general feedback from the group was that the Statement of Intent (SOI) provided a good foundation for the alliance. There was recognition that the SOI may benefit from some additional underlying values. These include recognising tino rangatiratanga and the need for a different decision-making model.

Some suggestions were made around the order of the activities and we’ve updated the SOI with the relevant suggestions. The updated SOI can be viewed here.

Statement of Intent Updates

  1. Working within a Te Tiriti Relationship Framework that reflects a true partnership between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti – support for this
  2. Sharing of information, experiences, resources and good practices from within Aotearoa and abroad – this was moved further to the top as seen as one key purpose of the alliance. Connections and learnings from from our international colleagues and partners was seen as important
  3. Coordinating and aligning of activities within and across sectors and therefore sharing a joined-up approach – support for this
  4. Bringing together a collective voice on issues of our time – this is a new addition
  5. Fostering an understanding of and increased commitment to achieving sustainability through a Te Ao Māori lens – support for this
  6. Accelerating change – support for this
  7. Increasing meaningful collaboration within and across sectors, generations and populations – support for this
  8. Monitoring and reporting on the progress of our society’s efforts and of our contributions domestically and globally. – this was moved to the end of the list – while not seen as less important but rather an outcome of achieving the above.

Feedback on our visionary questions

Groups were asked to discuss four questions and this is a list of what was reported back to the main group towards the end of session.

1. What would success look like?

  • Regaining tino rangatiratanga
  • Greater alignment between government’s frameworks for success and the SDGs
  • People being heard, moving towards a deliberative democracy model
  • Having a model which Tangata Whenua can connect with and identify tangible benefits from
  • Greater coordination and sharing of information
  • Greater recognition of the critical role the non-government sector plays that also results in better resourcing for the sector.
  • SDGs to be really well known, local actions taking place, it isn’t a ‘me first’, it’s about supporting actions where we can collaborate on meaningful change
  • A collective voice with greater influence
  • Increased sense of community and how we connect meaningfully
  • Deeper understanding of the interlinkages between the goals and recognition of nature and the planet
  • Results are audited and reported, and government, NGOs and other sectors are informed
  • Young people taking an active role.

2. What would be the most important outcome from an SDG Alliance?

  • Supporting different groups to have a collective voice and linking local with national interests
  • Having a place-based and values-based approach
  • Grassroots change
  • The Alliance being seen as a channel for communicating about the SDGs and supporting action
  • An engaged government, business and community sector and adopting sustainability approaches
  • A network of committed people and organisations, sharing and learning from each other
  • SDGs in the school curriculum.

3. What would be a key role of an SDG Alliance?

  • Practicing and promoting the Te Tiriti o Waitangi Relationship Framework model (50/50 split) and each understanding their roles
  • Demonstrating a genuine commitment to partnership with Tangata Whenua
  • Creating a larger voice linking us all together, from local projects to national action
  • Keeping everyone connected
  • Holding government to account and getting government involved.

4. How would you benefit from an SDG Alliance?

  • Having Tangata Whenua at the table and ensuring that this place is always there – this is really important and dynamic when talking about sustainable futures
  • Solidarity, collaboration and support for one another.

Other issues raised

  • A divided view about whether the goals are too ambitious, too weak or inadequate
  • The importance of being in it for the long haul…what will be next? The Alliance needs to position itself for what is next. We need that 10-20 year horizon, beyond 2030.
  • Often the best outcomes come from the people. If we can provide the framework (outside of government), the real action can happen. We can then get ahead more effectively.

Next Steps

Our second workshop will be held on 16 June. At this session, we will be discussing:

  • How an alliance could operate
  • How we can ensure that all 17 SDGs are linked in from a Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti perspective
  • How we can encourage district, regional and national engagement.

We will also set up a Linked in Group to keep this momentum growing. If you would like to join this group and the korero, email us at for an invite.

Our definition of Tangata Whenua are those who are genealogically tied to this whenua/land. Tangata Tiriti are those who are here in New Zealand by the virtue of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.