Sightsavers and the SDGs

Learn how the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underpin all our work, and how we’re supporting other countries to fulfil their commitments.

To achieve the UN’s ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries must devise strategies to build economic growth and ensure access to education, health, social protection and job opportunities.

Sightsavers works directly with governments and partners to make sure these commitments are met. We review evidence, implement effective data disaggregation and support voluntary national reviews (VNRs).

We also advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities by lobbying governments to perform inclusive consultations, and we support organisations of people with disabilities to take a key role alongside decision-makers.

Learn more about Sightsavers’ advocacy work

Policy and advocacy

SDG indicators 

To ensure the SDGs are being implemented, the UN General Assembly has adopted a framework of indicators and statistical data to monitor progress towards the agreed targets, inform policy and ensure governments and other organisations are accountable. These indicators are disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and more. 

Sightsavers is contributing to or reviewing the national indicators in several countries where we work, to ensure they reflect the level of disaggregation needed to fulfil SDG commitments. 

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The global indicator framework

The framework was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 6 July 2017. The indicators are refined each year, and will be comprehensively reviewed by the by the Statistical Commission in 2025.

More on the UN website

Reports and publications

Sightsavers is part of the steering group for the report, which explores the global response to COVID-19.

It reveals data gaps that leave many people unable to access support, disproportionately affecting those who are already marginalised.

Read the report
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Sightsavers is one of several organisations supporting the publication of these implementation reports.

They provide an independent analysis of VNRs. Prepared by Cooperation Canada, they examine trends in reporting and identify good practice.

Read the latest report
A blue and green circular icon on a dark background, with the words 'Progressing National SDGs Implementation Fifth Edition'.

Sightsavers participated in this forthcoming report, produced by the STRINGS project.

A consortium of seven leading universities, research centres and the UN Development Programme explore how science, technology and innovation can help to achieve the SDGs.

About the STRINGS project
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Voluntary national reviews

Sightsavers has supported 32 VNRs processes in 17 countries. We work with partners to promote opportunities for the voice and participation of people with disabilities in national development planning processes.

Supporting civil society groups

Along with our partners, we promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in national development planning. We support civil society forums and help to create inclusive groups within existing coalitions, and we build sector-specific coalitions and formalise relationships with the main SDG coalition. In Cameroon and Sierra Leone, Sightsavers fostered collaboration between civil society organisations and the national government during the VNR process.

Working with decision-makers and governments

We have formed technical working groups in several countries to support the drafting and writing of VNRs. This has included meeting focal points for clarification, developing  briefing notes, organising group retreats to work on draft documents and arranging public presentation of drafts for feedback. We work with governments to ensure that VNR reports are validated before reaching the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and help administrations agree on delegates to represent their country at the High-Level Political Forum.

Read about Sightsavers’ VNR support in the SDGs Good Practices document [pdf]

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What can we learn from VNRs?

Voluntary national review reports, submitted by governments as part of the SDGs review process, provide details about good practices, lessons learned and implementation challenges, as well as offering a basis for global peer learning and accountability.

Latest SDGs news and blogs

Hortance stands alongside a man at a Sightsavers event stand.
Sightsavers blog

Six takeaways from the International Conference for Public Health in Africa

Sightsavers’ Hortance Manjo shares insights from the event in Zambia, which highlighted eye health for the first time.

Hortance Manjo, January 2024
A mother and her young daughter hug and smile.
Sightsavers blog

Going beyond health: the role eye care plays in the SDGs

Eye health has an impact on numerous Sustainable Development Goals, and has a ripple effect that improves gender equity, education, economic and health outcomes.

Fiona Lawless, December 2023
Ophthalmologist Alinafe uses a torch to check a man's eyes.
Sightsavers blog

Why eye health is crucial for universal health coverage

Everyone will require eye care services at some point in life, but universal health coverage cannot be achieved unless everyone, wherever they live, has affordable access to the eye care they need.

Fiona Lawless, December 2023