Dear friends, alumni and partners,
we are in the sixth month of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. Besides the warfare in the east of the country, cities such as Kyiv, Chernihiv, Odesa, Mykolaiv and Kharkiv are exposed to Russian airstrikes on a daily basis. The official number of casualties is increasing (as of July 28, 10,631 civilian casualties in the country have been officially documented
) and war crimes are being committed by the Russian army against the Ukrainian civilian population
as well as prisoners of war
. By June, almost 5.5 million refugees across Europe and 6.27 million internally displaced people within Ukraine
have been recorded, causing the largest human displacement crisis in the world today.
Russia is not only violating international law. It also jeopardizes the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which it signed together with all UN Member States in 2015, committing itself to a peaceful, just and sustainable world. The war has radically changed the outlook of sustainable development in Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, the setbacks will be most significant with regard to almost all of the SDGs, e.g. the decline of health and well-being (SDG3), the destruction of infrastructure, cities and civic facilities (SDG8), as well as serious consequences for the environment (SDGs 14, 15 and 13). Ukraine's neighboring states are feeling the impact of the war as well: Whilst Moldova is hosting a large number of refugees from Ukraine, civil societies in Belarus and Russia are facing even stricter repressions, isolation and human rights abuses. The conditions and areas of international cooperation (SDG 17) also have been changing significantly, making partnerships for sustainable development more difficult. With the SOIN Network we build in the previous years a platform for networking, exchange and cooperation between social entrepreneurs, innovators, civic activists, NGOs as well as researchers for sustainable development. However, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, we have been asking ourselves: How can we continue our work and support civil society despite the war?
We invite you to participate in our new program SDG LENS. Monitoring Sustainable Development in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus
and work jointly on sustainable solutions to the local and global challenges. SDG LENS will empower civic actors from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine to monitor, report and advocate the 2030 Agenda and to stand up for peace, climate and justice. The program focuses on:
- Networking & Awareness Raising: Connecting civil society at local, national and global levels and supporting local actions and awareness raising campaigns
- Monitoring & Reporting: Enabling civic actors to monitor governments’ activities to implement the 2030 Agenda and supporting independent reporting. See previously published reports here
- National & Global Advocacy: Increasing civil society’s capacity to advocate the 2030 Agenda by using independent reports and becoming active in UN mechanisms
SDG LENS will strengthen civil society with workshops, consultations, international meetings as well as supporting local actions and online campaigns during the Global Week to Act4SDGs
with microgrants. It will enable civic actors to document the impacts of war across Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus, advocate for peace and compliance with international law, and develop strategies and recommendations for a just and sustainable future after the war.
Become now a partner of our new program SDG LENS and contact us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org