When the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) wrapped up last month, it concluded a fortnight of probing questions and wide-ranging discussions aimed at formulating a recovery strategy to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 


The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a sharp blow to progress towards the SDGs as it destabilized the world economy. How do we get the goals back on track? The general consensus is through mobilizing the specific levers of science and innovation, finance, capacity building, partnerships and local action. 


In this third installment of a special four-part series diving into the progress of the UN SDGs, we turn our attention to the question: “How can we bolster local action to achieve the SDGs?” 


There is no substitute for local ownership and engagement

Access Accelerated is guided by six core principles, one of which includes the requirement for strong local ownership and engagement. We recognize that truly sustainable solutionsones that respond to local needs and are adapted to the local contextcan only be achieved through actively working with local stakeholders.


Embedding projects locally 

Sustainability starts with embedding projects at the local level. That is why Access Accelerated places a particular emphasis on collaboration at the country level, engaging with governments, local stakeholders and implementing partners who work on the ground. This approach ensures that local know-how and local solutions are central to the design of a project, laying the groundwork for long-term sustainability.  


A local approach in process and practice 

Local collaboration is deeply embedded into the process and practice of our partners. For example, at City Cancer Challenge (C/Can), a City Executive Committee is created at the outset of the City Engagement Process. This governing body of city leaders and local experts is key to the success of the process and its respective phases, including the city-wide Needs Assessment, a critical first step involving the expert contribution of hundreds of local stakeholders for a robust and deep understanding of the local cancer care landscape. Using this data, the city determines and defines its own priority actions based on their specific needs, ensuring ownership of the projects and their long-term sustainability.  


A game-changing locally managed solution in Kenya 

In Kenya, Access Accelerated and our implementing partners work alongside the Ministry of Health and local stakeholders to co-develop solutions that are informed by local priorities and planned with an understanding of local realities. 


An example of this approach is the development of the NCD Navigator—a first-of-its-kind, locally managed digital information system that dynamically maps the current NCD programs in Kenya. The Navigator was developed in 2018 by the Kenyan Ministry of Health together with PATH and Access Accelerated, and has helped to inform the development of the new national NCD strategy, as well as plans to strengthen the country’s primary healthcare services. The success of the Navigator has led to its adoption and adaptation in Ghana. In 2020, the Ministry took ownership of the NCD Navigator with technical support provided by PATH to ensure it continues over the long run. 


Acting locallythat is, co-creating solutions that involve local stakeholders and consideration of the local context, priorities and needshelps to ensure that a project has maximum and lasting impact on lives both today and for years to come. 


Learn more about how project embeddedness at the local level is ensuring the longevity of investment by Access Accelerated in the 2021 Measurement Framework Report