The Voluntary Local Review Lab complements the VNR process that governments use to report national-level progress on the SDGs.
The VLR process can serve as a way for local governments to engage citizens in the SDG review process, which contributes to strengthening accountability and increases inclusive governance.
24 March 2019: The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) has launched an online platform that showcases local government actions on the SDGs. The platform aims to support lessons learned on achieving the SDGs from local governments as a complement to the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process.
The Voluntary Local Review (VLR) Lab complements the VNR process that governments use to report national-level experiences in implementing the SDGs. Governments present national reports on a voluntary basis to the annual July sessions of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) convened by the UN Economic and Social Council.
Although governments may consult sub-national governments and other local stakeholders in developing their VNR reports, the process focuses on national-level efforts. To incorporate sub-national perspectives into the SDG follow-up and review process, IGES developed the VLR Lab to share lessons learned from local governments. According to the website, the VLR process can serve as a way for local governments to engage citizens in the SDG review process, which contributes to strengthening accountability and making governance more inclusive.
The VLR Lab publishes local governments’ SDG reviews in a comparable format to allow for wide dissemination, comparison and monitoring.
Local governments can conduct a review of their efforts on the SDGs and share them through the VLR Lab. The VLR Lab then publishes these results in a report format that is comparable across local governments, to facilitate wide dissemination of VLR information and findings, and allow for comparison and monitoring across local and regional governments. The VLR Lab currently features reports from four cities: Kitakyushu City, Toyama City, Shimokawa Town and New York City. IGES and New York City shared VLR reports at the 2018 session of the HLPF.
United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG-ASPAC) Secretary General Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi said the “VLR demonstrates local government commitment to sustainable development,” and expressed hope that the Lab will “inspire more local governments to take on this initiative.”
“Unleashing the full potential of local and regional governments for sustainability is a precondition for achieving the SDGs,” explained Maruxa Cardama, Secretary General, Partnership for Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT). Cardama welcomed the opportunity for peer-to-peer exchange and learning through the VNR Lab, underscoring that such opportunities can enhance the ability of local and regional governments to “implement meaningful policies for people and the planet.”
IGES is in the process of developing the VLR Ecosystem, which will feature the VLR Lab, VLR review guidelines and a VLR workshop. The workshop aims to provide evaluation tools and training to build the capacity of local and regional governments in developing and sharing VLRs. [VLR Lab Website] [Business Wire Press Release]