MDGs and Sustainable Development

The Sustainability Watch Project


The Sustainability Watch Network was the second phase of an international project initiated by the Danish 92 group (MS, Ibis, Nepenthes, OVE and WWF-Denmark), a consortium partly funding the project. The first phase of the project - the Rio+10 project -which aimed at supporting a network of NGOs/CSOs based in Asia, Africa and Latin America, in their preparations and participation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, ended June 30, 2004. After Johannesburg the Network decided to launch a second phase of the project – entitled the Sustainability Watch Network project. 

The ultimate goal of the Sustainability Watch Network was to increase public participation and civil society networks’ advocacy in order to influence and enhance the implementation of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) at national, regional and international levels. The Sustainability Watch project drew upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDG; 1, 7, and 8) as the main approach to promoting sustainable development in favour of the poor. The Network was aimed at engaging in qualitative monitoring and watchdog activities as well as participating in constructive dialogues at the national and international levels. The main output of the network activities was the National and International Sustainability Watch reports which focused on the implementation barriers of the JPOI from an MDG perspective.


The coalition conducted local and national level civil society monitoring of the implementation of key sustainable development goals.

The network  produced a national report, which fed into the global Sustainability Watch reports in all countries of operation using the UN Millennium Development Goal 7 (environmental sustainability) and its linkages to Goal 1 (poverty reduction) and Goal 8 (governance, trade, aid) as key anchors.

The Network also lobbied government delegation to the New York Summit, using positions from the Sustainability Watch Global Position paper.  The national report was meant to complement the existing advocacy and lobbying tools for the achievement of the MDGs. 


The following achievements are worth noting:

Production of the National SusWatch Report- an assessment of the current status of MDG implementation in the country focusing on goal 1: Poverty Eradication; Goal 7 Ensuring Environmental Sustainability and Goal 8 Developing a Global Partnership for Development. The report review ed the consultations that were undertaken to launch the MDG development framework.

Contributed to the International SusWatch 2006 Report A civil Society Assessment on Implementation Barriers to Sustainable Development in Asia, Africa and Latin America 

This report provides southern governments, civil society and donors with a useful perspective on how to improve the capacities to overcome the current implementation crisis regarding MDG 1 and 7 in pursuit of poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.  The report also serve to substantiate the work of the United Nations and other international organisations interested in the realisation of the MDGs and in improving policies and mechanisms to support governments in complying with the MDG commitments.

United Nations MDG+5 Summit, 14-16 September 2005, New York, United States of America

The 2005 World Summit brought together more than 170 Heads of State and Government --- the largest gathering of world leaders in history. It was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations. The agenda was based on an achievable set of proposals outlined in March by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report In Larger Freedom ( A copy is also available in the ZERO Resource Centre. These were reviewed by Governments in a series of informal consultations conducted by General Assembly President Jean Ping, who released on 5 August a third draft outcome document for the Summit. Another draft was issued and availed.

During the run-up to the United Nations MDG+5 Summit scheduled for 14-16 September, the SusWatch Secretariat requested all networks to lobby their governments and media, especially the UN-bound delegation, using the Sustainability Watch Global Position Paper. The Zimbabwe Network was engaged in a number of activities aimed at strengthening as well as lobbying the team travelling for the Summit as well as the media. The Zimbabwe Network worked tirelessly to identify the team and made arrangements to meet with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials going to New York.

Lobbying the New York Delegation

 The Zimbabwe SusWatch Network sent the SusWatch Global Position Paper on 5 August 2005 to the Government of Zimbabwe delegation going to New York  (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and included it in the President's package. This was followed by the distribution of T-shirts with MDG messages to the delegation. The visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs catalysed the launch of the Zimbabwe MDG Progress Report by the President on September 8 2005.Read the Global Position Paper

Lobbying Media

As part of its continuing efforts to awareness among journalists on current developmental issues, ZERO sent copies of the official announcement of the 2005 UN Summit (14-16 September 2005) to the media. This was done to ensure media practitioners report on such landmark events like the UN Summit from an informed point of view.  

Articles and SusWatch Global Position Paper were sent to all media houses for awareness raising.( A media event is currently being planned, where the position paper will be presented and the local concerns touching on Goal 1, 7 and 8 will be presented to the media for publishing).


Spreading the Word

The global position paper was also sent to CSOs in Zimbabwe for uploading on their websites.  At the same time, ZERO has posted the position paper to its website for wider dissemination.  The global position paper was also distributed at the Government launch of the MDG Progress Report and the Government ministries responsible for the implementation of Goals 1, 7 and 8. 

The Summit Outcome (read SusWatch press Release)

SusWatch/GCAP Activities

Lobbying G-8 Summit

The Sustainability Watch Network together with the GCAP coalition met to come up with a Zimbabwe specific set of demands to lobby the G8 countries through their local embassies. The session reflected on the implications of the G8 Summit on development processes in Zimbabwe and other developing countries.

Deliberations picked out debt cancellation as a priority, considering the country’s precarious social and humanitarian situation.  A press statement was issued at the end of the meeting and sent to several media houses. It was accompanied by a T-shirt with the message, “End Poverty Now”, tied with a white ribbon.

The coalition also held a press conference during the course of their deliberations. It also wrote an open letter to the G8 embassies in Zimbabwe, Government of Zimbabwe and the World Bank. The purpose of the open letter was to raise awareness of all Zimbabwean citizens on the G8 summit deliberations and outcomes in relation to Zimbabwe. Regrettably, plans to convene a public meeting, bringing together Government, CSO representatives and debt experts to further discuss on the outcomes did not materialise.  read the demands

MDG Policy Monitoring Training Workshop for CSOs (31 May 2005)

ZERO hosted a successful one-day MDG Policy Monitoring Training Workshop on 31 May 2005 in the Mwengo Boardroom. The aim of workshop was to increase the capacity of participants and the national network on MDG policy monitoring, as well as improve their confidence and advocacy skills. Mr Cornelius Kazoora from Uganda, a consultant with SusWatch, was the facilitator.

The 16 participants included senior officials from the Government, Ministry of Labour (MDG hosting ministry), United Nations Development Programme, MDG thematic leads within CSOs and several key representatives from CSOs. The diversity of participants representing different stakeholders gave the workshop a unique flavour. 

As a follow-up activity the network was asked to produce a SusWatch National Report, based on the workshop report. ZERO is currently working on the National Report, with the help of input from its partners in the project (CSO MDG Goal 1, 7 and 8 Thematic Leads) and augmented by extensive desk research. Read Workshop Report



Rio+10 project was implemented as a result of the decisions arrived at in Copenhagen in June 2000 where 70 NGOs participated in the Rio+ 8 NGO Roundtable Forum. The Rio +10 project was a national project aimed at raising public awareness and mobilizing civil society to contribute towards national preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which was held in South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002. 

This project was supposed to pave way for a national assessment of how far the world has gone in terms of implementing agenda 21, the United Nations blueprint for sustainable development developed at the 1992 Rio summit. The Project activities were executed by a number of Southern NGOs. In this way, the Project was indeed complementary to a wide range of existing partnerships and projects, in which the WWF-Denmark, MS, Ibis and other members of the 92 Group engaged. The Project gave special priority to Africa, where a special effort was made to strengthen national networks and NGOs. The involved NGOs in each country, including those involved in this Project, had a chance to focus on issues of their own primary concern in view of their local and national context. 

Zimbabwe's Civil Society Organisations Preparatory Process

As part of the preparatory process for the WSSD several meetings were held. Media houses, radio and television interviews, coupled with posters and banners were used to raise awareness on WSSD.

  • Inaugural meeting (2 April 2001);
  • Experts and Stakeholders Planning meeting (11 May 2001);
  • Advocacy and lobbying training workshop (18-22 June 2001);
  • Committee of Key experts and institutions' meetings (29 August and 31 October 2001; 22 February 2002);
  • Civil society meeting to respond to Chairman's Paper (27 March 2002);- fed into governments response
  • Media briefing workshop (19 July 2002). - media plays an important role.
  • Brainstorming session on WSSD organized by ZERO in partnership with Konrad Adenauer attended by communities, civic society members, church representatives and government officials. 1 - 2 August 2002

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) - 26 August - 4 September 2002

The WSSD took place on August 26 to 4September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Awareness Raising.

Posters and fliers focusing on sustainable development were produced and widely distributed nationally and regionally. The posters depict the sustainable development agenda and concerns of Zimbabwe's civil society.
View our posters

Awareness Raising Project (ZERO/Ministry of Environment and Tourism).

In preparation for the Johannesburg Summit the Government of Zimbabwe, through Ministry of Environment and Tourism, tasked ZERO Regional Environment Organisation under a UNDP funded programme to be responsible for the national awareness campaign for WSSD. As part of the Awareness Raising Campaign, it was imperative that the Agenda 21 as well as the major conventions be repackaged and simplified for the general public. ZERO undertook this task and a consolidated and simplified document of the Agenda 21 and major conventions was produced and submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. Also a number of TV and Radio interviews were done in order to conscientise the public on the WSSD issues in general and why it was necessary for Zimbabwe to be in Johannesburg.

Zimbabwe was represented by a wide spectrum of delegates from both Government and Civil Society Organisations.


ZERO collaborated with ITDG, SAFIRE, ZWB, IRED, Africa 2000, Environment Africa and ART in carrying out case studies on sustainable agriculture, food safety and food security; biodiversity and forestry; development, globalisation and poverty reduction; climate and energy, including brown issues; institutional reforms, good governance and civil society participation, including community empowerment, planning and implementation

The purpose of the case studies was to assess the factors that either promoted or hindered local initiatives in sustainable development. The case studies were also aimed at showcasing sustainable development in action.

Biodiversity and Forestry

Sustainable Agriculture, Food Safety and Food Security

Development, Globalisation and Poverty Reduction

Climate and Energy

Institutional Reforms, Good Governance and Civil Society Participation


As a follow up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), ZERO Regional Environment Organisation organised two workshops. The first was a Post WSSD Agenda Setting workshop, held on the 17th September 2002 at the Miekels Hotel in Harare. This was a half-day Workshop.

This workshop marked the first in a series of meetings to reflect upon and share experiences on the summit and its outcomes. The purpose of this meeting was to bring Civil Society Organisations together in order to reflect on experiences emerging for Zimbabwe, project post-summit activities and mobilise support for genuine partnerships and engagements.

The second Workshop was held on the 5th December 2002 at the Wild Geese Lodge, Harare. This was a POST WSSD Think Tank Reflection Workshop whose main aim was to determine the priority issues and the institutional framework for achieving sustainable development in Zimbabwe

The workshop deliberated on the following issues. Wealth creation and empowerment, protecting and managing the natural resource base for economic and social development, sustainable development in a globalizing world, regional integration and institutional reforms and civil society/government partnerships.

Related Documents:  

Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPI)