9 July 2018
DESA Debuts VNR Labs at HLPF 2018
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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In response to Member States’ desire to reflect on the experience with VNRs to date, DESA announced that eight VNR Labs will convene during HLPF 2018.

The Labs will address a number of topics, including the principle of leave no one behind, the use of data in VNRs, the measures taken by countries to promote and review SDG implementation, resource mobilization and investment, and specific country experiences.

6 July 2018: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) will convene a series of ‘Voluntary National Review (VNR) Labs’ during the ministerial segment of the 2018 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The VNR Labs are organized in response to demand from Member States, UN bodies and major groups and other stakeholders to take stock of experience with VNRs, DESA notes.

The VNR Labs aim to provide an informal platform for exchanges between countries that have conducted a VNR, and those that have not, as well as the UN system and other stakeholders. Participants will reflect on how to further improve the VNR process at future HLPFs.

Eight labs will convene during the HLPF’s ministerial segment, taking place from 16-18 July 2018, in New York, US:

  • Lab 1: Leveraging interlinkages: The inaugural VNR Lab will address policy coherence and integrated policies at the national level in selected VNR countries. Participants will reflect on how to organize institutions and harness budgets and plans to promote integrated approaches and address synergies and trade-offs between policy objectives. The session will build on the UN Committee for Development Policy’s analysis of VNR reports (E//2018/33, Supplement No.13).
  • Lab 2: Leaving no one behind: This discussion will focus on national-level measures to improve the condition of the poorest and most vulnerable in selected countries. The Lab will also address how countries have mainstreamed concerns on leaving no one behind and reducing inequality into national SDG policies.
  • Lab 3: Leveraging data for evidence-based VNRs: This lab will consider how to effectively use data to report on SDG implementation and provide information for evidence-based VNRs. The session will share how VNR preparation processes can link with other national reporting processes conducted by the national statistical system, as well as the role of the UN system in supporting review and monitoring processes.
  • Lab 4: Mobilizing and organizing institutions: This session will focus on measures taken by selected countries to adapt their institutions to promote and review SDG implementation, including through mobilizing parliamentarians, local governments and national ministries in SDG implementation. Participants will also share experiences with engaging civil society and the private sector in SDG implementation and review.
  • Lab 5: Mobilizing resources: This discussion will reflect on how to capitalize on VNRs to mobilize investments to implement the SDGs, with particular emphasis on SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). Selected countries will share their experiences with developing an investment strategy related to the SDGs.
  • Lab 6: Reflecting on the VNRs and moving ahead: This lab will discuss the VNR experience to date and consider options for making the VNR process more effective in exchanging experiences, building partnerships and accelerating implementations. Participants will address whether and how VNRs have led to follow-up activities or mechanisms at a national level. This session is expected to draw on lessons learned from earlier VNR Labs.
  • Lab 7: Continuing the dialogue: Switzerland will share challenges and lessons learned in preparing its VNR. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, share advice and propose support.
  • Lab 8: Continuing the dialogue: Jamaica will share challenges and lessons learned in preparing its VNR. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, share advice and propose support.

Each Lab session will have a moderator and a rapporteur. DESA and the rapporteurs will produce brief summaries of each Lab.

The HLPF will take place from 9-18 July 2018, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The VNR presentations themselves take place as part of the ministerial segment, convening in the second week of the Forum’s meeting. [VNR Labs schedule and concept note] [DESA press release] [Publication: E/2018/33, Supplement No.13] [HLPF 2018 website] [SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of HLPF process]

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