The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs organized an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on ‘Enhancing Major Groups and Other Stakeholders Engagement in National Level Reviews'.
The meeting resulted in an outcome document on effective participation and contribution in national reviews related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
26 March 2017: In advance of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the 2017 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), governmental and non-governmental actors met to discuss ensuring the effective participation and contribution of Major Groups and other stakeholders (MGoS) in national reviews.
The Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on ‘Enhancing Major Groups and Other Stakeholders Engagement in National Level Reviews’ took place in Bogota, Colombia, from 25-26 March 2017, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The meeting was followed by a ‘Partners for Review’ networking meeting hosted by the Governments of Germany and Colombia, from 27-28 March 2017.
UN Member States are urged to account for MGoS recommendations when negotiating the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.
In the EGM outcome document, participants urge UN Member States and the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to identify clear mechanisms within the HLPF where MGoS reports can be presented and shared with countries. They also call on UN Member States to take into account recommendations from MGoS reports when discussing and negotiating the HLPF Ministerial Declaration.
The outcome document of the EGM highlights four “foundational principles” for MGoS engagement: 1) human rights, gender equality and sustainability criteria; 2) transparency, including the need for governments to make explicit their implementation and accountability strategies at national, sub-national, local and community levels; 3) diversity, inclusion and accessibility in order to allow all civil society and stakeholders to engage in the monitoring and review process at all levels; and 4) continuous meaningful engagement throughout the process of design, implementation, monitoring and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The document also notes that UN Member States should: institutionalize multi-ministerial and multi-sectoral platforms; promote the inclusion and legitimate the participation of diverse segments of the MGoS during the VNR presentations at the HLPF; make the national level reviews, including the VNR processes and national consultations, accessible to persons with disabilities; and promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage of the national reviews preparations, to increase opportunities of participation.
On MGoS coordination at the global level, the outcome document notes that MGoS should: ensure inclusive and representative positions in response to a country’s VNR presentation; ensure rich and successful discussions at the HLPF; and continue to advocate for formal acceptance of civil society and MGoS reports in addition to UN Member States reports during the HLPF.
The VNRs will take place from 17-20 July 2017. The VNRs are a component of the follow-up and review process at the global level, and are conducted during the annual session of the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC. Through the VNRs, governments discuss national efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and share experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.
In March 2017, DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development launched an online platform for the VNRs, which compiles information from the countries participating in each year’s VNR. The information is organized according to country, with each country page including, if available: an executive summary of the report; name and contact information for the national focal point, and the person who presented the report to the HLPF; a webcast of the country’s presentation to the HLPF; statements by the country and Major Groups; and any other relevant documents. [Outcome Document] [Meeting Webpage] [Meeting Programme] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on VNR Platform]