Twelve countries participating in voluntary national reviews during the 2016 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) have provided summaries of their reports, and other inputs.
Among the governments from the Western Europe and Other states Group (WEOG), executive summaries from Germany, Finland and Switzerland and a short report on the scope of the presentation from Turkey highlight initiatives taken at the institutional level to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
A total of 22 governments have volunteered for the 2016 VNR process.
June 2016: Twelve countries participating in voluntary national reviews during the 2016 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) have provided summaries of their reports, and other inputs. Among the governments from the Western Europe and Other states Group (WEOG), executive summaries from Germany, Finland and Switzerland and a short report on the scope of the presentation from Turkey highlight initiatives taken at the institutional level to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A total of 22 governments have volunteered for the 2016 VNR process.
The executive summary submitted by Finland says the Prime Minister’s Office has requested all line Ministries to identify existing policies, measures, activities and budgets covering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their 169 targets, with this mapping contributing to the development of a 2030 Agenda National Implementation Plan by the end of 2016. By July 2016, the government expects to complete a gap analysis to provide guidance on key issues to consider during the first years of implementation. In addition, the government reports, the Finnish Development Policy and the ‘Society’s Commitment to Sustainable Development,’ providing a strategic framework and a multi-stakeholder operational tool for sustainable development, have been updated in line with the 2030 Agenda.
At the institutional level, the summary indicates, the Finnish Prime Minister’s Office acts “as an operational hub” for 2030 Agenda coordination, and works closely with a Coordination Network comprising focal points from all government ministries and the Finnish Development Policy Committee. Collaboration between the Finnish Development Policy Committee and the National Commission on Sustainable Development is being intensified since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda through joint meetings, workshops and discussion papers, inter alia. A Task Force engaging members from the National Commission on Sustainable Development and the Finnish Development Policy Committee was set up in early 2016 to develop new tools and governance models to enhance the implementation of 2030 Agenda, and to address challenges such as enhancing policy coherence, building stakeholder ownership and mobilizing resources.
On follow-up and review, the summary notes that Finland currently uses 39 national sustainable development indicators to monitor and review the state and trends in sustainable development, and these will be revised in line with the 2030 Agenda. An ‘Indicator Network,’ comprised of experts from statistics, research, evaluation, policy and stakeholder groups, will be set up in 2016.
According to Germany’s executive summary, the government has decided to make its National Sustainable Development Strategy a key framework for achieving the SDGs. The Strategy is being revised in light of the 2030 Agenda’s ambition, and its preparation process has included five public dialogue conferences in all regions of Germany. A draft was presented by the Federal Chancellor on 31 May 2016, and simultaneously published online for comments. It is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2016.
The summary indicates that Germany’s development policy has been aligned with the five core areas of the 2030 Agenda (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnership), and focuses particularly on: combating the structural causes of hunger and malnutrition and eradicating extreme poverty; creating sustainable opportunities for the future, particularly for young people; making “globalization equitable,” by promoting fair trade and income, as well as job opportunities; promoting sustainable development in the private sector, and increasing the ability of partner countries to contribute financially to their own development; and mitigating and adapting to climate change and conserving natural resources.
The summary notes that Germany’s review report to the HLPF will describe its approaches to implementing each of the 17 SDGs. The report’s preparation has included a dialogue forum on the 2030 Agenda with representatives of NGOs, churches, local authorities, and the scientific and academic community, and the government says that a representative of civil society in Germany is scheduled to speak when the report is presented at the HLPF in New York. “This gives a clear signal that Agenda 2030 and its implementation in Germany is a project that involves the whole of society.”
The executive summary submitted by Switzerland reports that the Federal Council adopted the Sustainable Development Strategy 2016-2019 in January 2016, and that it consists of a concrete action plan, structured into nine thematic areas in line with the SDGs: consumption and production (SDG 12); urban development, mobility and infrastructure (SDGs 9 and 11); energy and climate (SDGs 7 and 13); natural resources (SDGs 2, 6, 14, and 15); economic and financial system (SDGs 8, 10, 16, and 17); education, research and innovation (SDG 4); social security (SDGs 1 and 16); social cohesion and gender equality (SDGs 5, 10, and 16); and health (SDG 3). The summary also outlines that a new Swiss Foreign Policy Strategy 2016-2019 including sustainable development as one of its four key priorities, and that the Sustainable Development Strategy and its Action Plan list selected foreign policy activities.
On reporting, the summary states Switzerland uses its comprehensive sustainable development monitoring system (MONET) – which includes 75 regularly updated indicators – to measure and report on contributions to the SDGs, and that the “system’s reference framework” was amended in May 2016 to take into account the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
Switzerland is setting up a temporary inter-ministerial working group for a “transition phase” from 2016 to 2017, to manage a comprehensive programme of work. By early 2018, the summary says, a report on initiatives undertaken and recommendations for the Swiss implementation of the 2030 Agenda will be presented to the Federal Council. At the 2018 HLPF, Switzerland will present a first comprehensive country review, based on findings from the transition phase and on decisions taken by the Federal Council.
The ‘Scope of 2016 HLPF Presentation’ document submitted by Turkey notes that the country is currently “updating its long term vision” to support preparation of its 11th Development Plan, which is the “guiding document for all macro- level national policies and priorities,” and intends to use the SDGs as one of the main inputs. At the institutional level, the document announces that the Turkish Sustainable Development Coordination Commission (SDCC), coordinated by the Ministry of Development, will be strengthened and widened, especially for the implementation and reporting process of the SDGs. This Commission will play a role in the follow-up and review of SDG implementation.
According to the document, Turkey’s existing national sustainable development indicator set, composed of 132 indicators, will be further developed in light of the global SDG indicators, according to “national priorities and capabilities.” Monitoring progress will be conducted mainly by the Turkish Statistical Institution (TURKSTAT). Implementation challenges are also highlighted, including lack of capacity, especially on data collection and analysis, ensuring all stakeholders’ ownership of the Agenda, and breaking silos to work together on particular Goals in an integrated manner.
Inputs to the 2016 VNRs from participating governments, intergovernmental bodies, NGOs and partnerships are being collected on a UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) online platform. The HLPF session in July 2016 will be its first session since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. [Inputs to 2016 VNRs] [Germany Input] [Finland Input] [Switzerland Input] [Turkey Input] [IISD RS Story on DESA Platform] [IISD RS Story on LAC Inputs] [IISD RS Story on VNR Guidelines]