12 November 2019
Pacific SIDS Prepare to Submit 3 VNRs in 2020
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

The VNR Capacity Building Workshop for Pacific SIDS took place from 23-25 October in Apia, Samoa.

The Pacific countries presenting VNRs in 2020 will be: Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands.

Regional preparatory workshops will take place from February to April 2020, and global workshops will convene in November, February and July.

Small island developing States (SIDS) from the Pacific gathered for a workshop on preparations for voluntary national reviews (VNRs) to be submitted at the 2020 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The outcome of the capacity-building workshop will inform deliberations of the Seventh Asia‐Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) in March 2020.

The workshop for Pacific SIDS took place from 23-25 October 2019, in Apia, Samoa, following the Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (PFSD) from 21-22 October. 

The 2030 Agenda calls for the presentation of VNRs each year to facilitate the sharing of national experiences related to SDG implementation, including successes, challenges and lessons learned. The reviews are presented during the HLPF session that takes place each July under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The 2020 HLPF, including its ministerial segment, is expected to convene from 7-17 July. The VNR presentations and discussions will take place on 13 July (for countries submitting VNRs for a second time) and from 14-16 July (for first-time VNR presenters).

In a presentation to the Samoa workshop by Irena Zubcevic, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), highlighted that out of 58 UN Member States in the Asia-Pacific group, 51 will have presented VNRs by the 2020 session. Eleven of those are Pacific SIDS. The Pacific countries presenting VNRs in 2020 will be: Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, and Solomon Islands.

On SDG implementation by Asia-Pacific countries, Oliver Paddison, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), reported that most national development plans are not accompanied by financing strategies; there is an investment gap of USD1.5 trillion per year or 5% of GDP for developing Asia-Pacific countries; and this investment gaps rise to 16% of GDP in the least developed countries (LDCs). He added that if Pacific SIDS remain on their current development trajectory, they will not achieve any of the 17 SDGs by 2030.

The Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) informed participants that: most Pacific countries have either mapped or are in the process of mapping the SDGs against national development plans. Some (including Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) have integrated SDGs into their national monitoring processes, and Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu have developed national databases.

Following the Pacific SIDS workshop, regional preparatory workshops will be organized in collaboration with the UN regional commissions from February to April 2020, according to Zubcevic. At the global level, a series of three workshops will take place: in Oslo, Norway, from 19-20 November 2019; in February 2020, in a location to be determined; and on 12 July 2020, in New York, US.

In addition, DESA will provide individual assistance upon request from countries, in cooperation with UN country teams, regional commissions and regional and subregional organizations, she noted.

The DESA presentation also highlights: the 12 June deadline for submission of final VNR reports to the UN Secretariat; information about the HLPF presentation; a preparation checklist, and lessons learned from the 2019 VNR countries that could benefit those preparing to submit VNRs in 2020. [Workshop website]

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