Achieving Agenda 2030 will necessitate adapting the Sustainable Development Goals to the national and community level. Furthermore, given the goals’ commitment to ‘leave no one behind’, the involvement of the communities farthest from achieving the goals is paramount. Contextualising the goals – that is, making them specific and relevant to context – by involving communities is one way to better identify priorities and realistic action plans.
This briefing provides an overview of some of the discourse informing contextualisation, problematises the concept and illustrates one attempt to test an approach through a case study on experience in three of Zimbabwe’s rural districts engaging with SDG3 (‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’). It explores the extent to which collaborative rationality can contribute to contexutalisation, to deliver progress on leaving on one behind, by building understanding between institutions such as the State and local government, businesses, NGOs and communities.