UK: Open letter to Prime Minister on Sustainable Development Goals

UK: Open letter to Prime Minister on Sustainable Development Goals - Transparency

ARTICLE 19 joined other UK-based organisations in signing an open letter urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to attend the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, taking place on 18-19 September in New York. ARTICLE 19 has previously argued that there is no sustainable development without freedom of expression, and that access to information is a key enabling mechanism for public engagement across all the goals. We urge the Prime Minister to ensure the UK engages meaningfully with discussions around the SDGs as we continue to face overlapping global challenges.



Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, Foreign and Development Secretary

Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP, Minister of State for Development and Africa 


25th August 2023 


Dear Prime Minister, 

As representatives of the UK’s development and humanitarian sector, we are writing to urge you to attend the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, taking place at the United Nations in New York on 18-19 September, and to support the adoption of the negotiated SDG Summit Political Declaration. 

The SDG Summit comes at a critical time, marking the halfway point for the transformative 2030 Agenda and SDGs, providing us with a universal framework to address the overlapping global challenges of conflict, climate, food security, and poverty while leaving no one behind. Yet, as highlighted in the UN Secretary General’s report, the world is severely off track to achieving the SDGs by 2030. In 2015 the UK played a central role in agreeing with this agenda under a Conservative government, explicitly pledging to leave no one behind. Time is running out if we are to realise the ambition the UK had in 2015, which requires the UK to redouble our efforts and lead by example. 

We welcome the Government’s ambition to support progress on the SDGs. Earlier this year the Integrated Review Refresh 2023 highlighted the SDGs as one of the key priorities to achieve sustainable development. Therefore, the SDG Summit is a critical moment for the UK to demonstrate it can walk the talk and show leadership by turning these commitments into action. It is also an important opportunity to rebuild the UK’s reputation as a trusted partner to lower-income countries and global actors and express solidarity in building a sustainable future. Your presence at the Summit is needed to prove the UK’s serious intention to advance progress on the SDGs.

We also urge the UK to join consensus on the negotiated SDG Political Declaration based on the draft that was submitted to the President of the General Assembly by the co-facilitators Ireland and Qatar. 

The global community needs an ambitious and action-oriented Political Declaration to signal political will at the highest level to help achieve the SDGs. The draft text constitutes a strong basis to drive further concrete and transformative action to deliver progress towards the 2030 Agenda in an integrated manner and we encourage all delegations to support its adoption at the SDG Summit in September. 

Time is running out if the world is to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. But with renewed effort by the UK, under your leadership, 2023 could be a pivotal moment for people and planet. We very much look forward to your support for the adoption of the SDG Political Declaration and your active participation at the Summit in September. 

Yours sincerely,

Stephanie Draper 

Chief Executive 



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Co-signed by:


Liza Tong, Director, A leg to stand, a hand to feed

Karl Hankinson, CEO, Able Child Africa 

Othman Moqbel, CEO, Action For Humanity 

Alex Daniels, CEO, Action on Poverty 

Mary Ann Clements, Co-CEO, ADD International 

Bert R Smit, CEO, ADRA-UK 

Andrew Betts, Director, Advantage Africa 

Lucy Nkwameni Njomo, CEO, Africa Youth Development Association (AYDA) 

Alison Marshall, CEO, Age International 

Graeme Hodge, CEO, All We Can & Y Care International 

Jasmine O’Connor, CEO, Anti-Slavery International 

Beatrice De Carli, General Manager, Architecture Sans Frontières UK (ASF-UK) 

Barbora Bukovska, Senior Director for Law and Policy, ARTICLE 19 

Gemma Holding, CEO, Article 25 

Sheniz Tan, CEO, Asfar 

Penny David, Director, Ashanti Development 

Elizabeth Winter, Director, BAAG (British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group) 

Lewis Temple, Chief Executive, BRAC UK 

Christine Allen, Executive Director, CAFOD 

Anil Patil, Executive Director, Carers Worldwide 

Kirsty Smith, CEO, CBM UK/BasicNeeds 

Harriet Gordon-Brown, CEO, CHASE Africa 

Patrick Watt, Chief Executive, Christian Aid 

Danny Harvey, Executive Director, Concern Worldwide UK 

Jonathan Cohen OBE, Executive Director, Conciliation Resources 

Peter Marsden, CEO, Concordis International 

Matthew Owen, Director, Cool Earth 

Andy Pask, Chief Executive Officer, Cord 

Gazala Shaikh, Director, Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN UK) 

Fionna Smyth, Interim Director of Growth & External Relations, Development Initiatives Matthew Lake, CEO, Dhaka Ahsania Mission

Andrew Boys, Executive Director, Down Syndrome International 

Tim Livesey, Chief Executive, Embrace the Middle East 

Petter Matthews, Executive Director, Engineers Against Poverty 

Peter McAllister, Executive Director, Ethical Trading Initiative 

Michael Gidney, Chief Executive, Fairtrade Foundation 

Sandra Golding, CEO, Feed the Minds 

Ian Johnson, CEO, Food for the Hungry UK 

Dr Joel C Gill, Executive Director, GfGD – Institute of Geoscience for Sustainable Global Development 

Professor David Hulme OBE, Executive Director, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester 

Martin Drewry, CEO, Health Poverty Action 

Tanya Buynovskaya, Director of Operations, HealthProm 

Mark Waddington CBE, CEO, Hope and Homes for Children 

Claire O’Shea, Head Hub Cymru Africa, Hub Cymru Africa 

Owais Khan, Deputy CEO, Human Appeal 

Nabeel Al Ramadhani, CEO, Human Relief Foundation 

George Graham, Chief Executive, Humanity & Inclusion UK 

Dr Elly Hiby, Director, ICAM Coalition 

Parmi Dheensa, Executive Director, Include Me TOO 

James Georgalakis, Director of Evidence and Impact, Institute of Development Studies 

Jasmina Haynes, CEO, Integrity Action 

Nic Hailey, Executive Director, International Alert 

Adele Paterson, CEO, International Health Partners 

Thomas Mitchell, Executive Director, International Institute for Environment and Development

John Reynolds, CEO, International Nepal Fellowship 

John Young, Executive Director, International Network for Advancing Science and Policy 

Laura Kyrke-Smith, Executive Director, International Rescue Committee UK 

Kate Newman, CEO, INTRAC 

Tufail Hussain, UK Director, Islamic Relief Worldwide 

Thomas Kingsley, UK Director, Light for the World 

Fiona Greig, CEO, Link Education International 

Maria Spink, CEO, Lyra in Africa 

Philippa Lei, Chief Global Advocacy Officer, Malala Fund

James Tibenderana, Chief Executive, Malaria Consortium 

Joshua Castellino and Claire Thomas, Co-Executive Directors, Minority Rights Group 

Amanda Wilkinson, CEO, Motivation 

Irfan Khan, Director Humanitarian and International Partnerships, Muslim Hands 

Michael Reed, Chair, Omega Research Foundation 

Romilly Greenhill, UK Director, ONE Campaign 

James Harcourt, Managing Director, Options 

Caroline Moore, Director of Strategy, Planning & Performance, Plan International UK 

Alistair Currie, Head of Campaigns, Population Matters 

Simon Hotchkin, Director of Impact, Influence and Innovation, Practical Action 

Richard Curtis, SDG Advocate and Co-Founder, Project Everyone 

Odette Hekster, Managing Director, PSI-Europe 

Rob Capener, Group CEO, Railway Children 

Ian Shapiro, CEO, Reall 

Alex Kent, Co-CEO, Restless Development 


Paul Stuart, CEO, Ripple Effect International 

Gwendolen Hines, CEO, Save the Children UK 

Dr John A McConnell, Managing Trustee, Scholarships for Street Kids (S4SK) 

Frances Guy, CEO, Scotland’s International Development Alliance 

Victoria Lupton, Founder & CEO, Seenaryo 

Patricia Alexander, Managing Director, Shared Interest Society Ltd 

Jamie Drummond, Founder, Sharing Strategies 

Dr Caroline Harper, Chief Executive Officer, Sightsavers 

Alison Wallace, CEO, SOS Children’s Villages UK 

Girish Menon, CEO, STiR Education 

Mike Podmore, Director, STOPAIDS 

Charlie Gamble, CEO, Tackle 

Alexander Knapp, CEO, The AKCGlobal Group 

Dr Lara Allen, CEO, The Centre for Global Equality 

Ian Wishart, CEO, The Fred Hollows Foundation UK 

Shona Lockyer, Chair of Trustees, The Kambia Appeal 

Peter Waddup, CEO, The Leprosy Mission England & Wales

Darren Cormack, CEO, The Mines Advisory Group (MAG) 

Lynne Morris, CEO, Toybox 

Sara Bandali, Director of International Engagement, Transparency International UK 

Caoimhe de Barra, CEO, Trocaire 

Louise McGrath, Deputy CEO, Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) 

Sarah Kline, CEO, United for Global Mental Health 

Philip Goodwin, CEO, VSO 

Rob Williams, CEO, War Child UK 

Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, WaterAid UK 

Beth Silver, CEO, Women & Children First 

Sara Bowcutt, Managing Director, Women for Women International UK 

Anita Tiessen, CEO, Youth Business International