Implementing the South African National Development Plan’s sustainability transition through the domestication of the SDGs


The South Africa Future Earth SDG Lab will focus on SDGs12 and 15, a concept co-designed by researchers and policy makers to create a common understanding of the sustainability transition implied by the National Development Plan’s (NDP) 2030 vision of a “transition to an environmentally sustainable, climate change resilient, low-carbon economy and just society” AND to enhance South Africa’s implementation of this sustainability transition and its contribution to the global transition required by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the domestication of the SDGs and associated domestic indicators.



Through interactive multi-stakeholder engagements, we will practically (1) clarify understanding on the domestication of the SDGs; (2) promote the role of evidence, participatory and inclusive process; (3) identify and prioritise domesticated indicators and associated targets; and (4) align SDGs/NDP monitoring approaches. Such would be documented in a measurable context, with flagship programmes identified and prioritised.

The South Africa Future Earth SDG Lab concept is 110% co-designed by the Lab partners to promote contribution to trans-disciplinary approaches and evidence informed policy making. The Future Earth promotes the interface where government action and research evidence uptake potentially have higher impact. The Lab participation of about 100 stakeholders representing government, research, private sector and civil society organisations is anticipated, with an expectation that each group has a role in changing behaviour towards sustainable practices and technologies. With government contributing to policy commitments and signal, researchers on research evidence generation, society bringing local knowledge generation and economic participation and private sector contributing industry evidence, implementation, funding and inclusive sustainable economic growth.

The concept is based on the strength of the science-policy interface as reflected in the compositions of the co-creating partners: Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; Department of Science and Technology in collaboration with Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies(TIPS), Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA), University of South Africa (UNISA), Overseas Development Institute(ODI) and Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office in South Africa.

National Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, in partnership with DPME, DST, ODI, HSRC, UNISA, MISTRA, TIPS and UNEP Regional Office in South Africa