47 Countries to Present VNRs in 2018, with 8 Already Preparing for HLPF 2019
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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Iceland had been included in the 48 countries announced on 14 September, but has since joined seven other countries planning to present their Voluntary National Reviews in 2019.

A number of events, guides and reports have assisted countries in their preparation of VNRs.

28 February 2018: The President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Marie Chatardová, closed the list of countries to present their Voluntary National Reveiws (VNRs) at the July 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on 14 September 2017. At that point, 48 countries had announced their intention to present VNRs; as of February 2018, 47 countries remain on the list.

The 47 countries expected to present VNRs in July 2018 are: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bhutan, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, Guinea, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Namibia, Niger, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Sudan, Switzerland, Togo, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uruguay, and Vietnam.

Iceland had been included in the 48 countries announced on 14 September, but has since joined the list of countries planning to present their VNRs in 2019. The governments listed as presenting VNRs in 2019 are: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Croatia, Fiji, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Serbia and South Africa.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe members who will present VNRs in July 2018 have just taken part in a regional preparatory meeting for VNR countries, on 28 February 2018, on the sidelines of the 2018 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region. An expert group meeting for representatives from all countries presenting their VNRs at HLPF 2018 convened in December 2017.

In addition to these meetings, a number of reports and guides for preparing VNRs have been prepared. In October 2017, Together 2030, through a partnership with World Vision International, released a report that offered recommendations to improve the current set of VNR guidelines. This report stressed, inter alia, that in order to enable a robust assessment of SDGs progress, a clear and participatory reporting process for SDG implementation must be in place. In January 2018, the UN Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) released a draft version of a handbook on preparing VNRs. This handbook includes sections on: initiating, organizing and preparing a review; multi-stakeholder participation; building blocks for preparing a review; preparatory workshops and VNR submission; presenting VNRs at the HLPF; and “after the presentation”.

On 15 March 2018, a report titled, ‘Progressing National SDG Implementation: An independent assessment of the Voluntary National Review reports submitted to the United Nations High-level Political Forum in 2017,’ will be launched by a group of civil society organizations. [Voluntary National Reviews Database]

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