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Taiwan’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) maps how each of the SDGs has been addressed by new policies and programmes that the government implemented since the SDGs' adoption.

The VNR also enumerates measures for the next phase of development as recommended by government agencies and the NCSD working groups, as well as its 24 nongovernmental members.

15 September 2017: Taiwan’s Minister for Environmental Protection Administration launched Taiwan’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) at an event in New York, US. Minister Ying-Yuan Lee stressed Taiwan’s commitment to contribute to the international community’s efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The launch event took place on 15 September 2017. In an interview on the occasion, Lee explained that, even though Taiwan is not a member of the UN, the government chose to integrate the SDGs in its national development plans and development cooperation efforts. He elaborated: “The air circulates all over the world. The water circulates all over the world. Climate change and pollution affect us all. We are part of the problem and thus we want to be part of the solution.”

Lee emphasized that only 2.7% people live under the poverty line in Taiwan. He said the government is supporting the poor through unemployment benefits, free education up to middle high-school and health insurance that covers 99% of the medical expenses.

Taiwan’s VNR contains an introduction, methodology and process for the preparation of the review, policies and enabling environments, implementation of the SDGs in recent years, measures for the next stage and a conclusion. The VNR also presents Taiwan’s own national development goals formulated in accordance with the SDGs.

Taiwan’s National Council for Sustainable Development oversees SDG implementation and includes representatives from government ministries, the private sector, civil society and indigenous peoples.

According to the VNR, the Executive Yuan’s National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) is the institution responsible for overseeing SDG implementation in Taiwan. The Council is chaired by the premier and includes seven working groups and two task forces. It consists of 36 council members, including the premier and 11 ministers of related ministries, and 24 nongovernmental members (including scholars, experts, the private sector, civil society and indigenous peoples). The working groups and task forces are convened by designated ministries and agencies (including the Ministries of the Interior, Education, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Communications, and Health and Welfare, the Council of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Administration).

NCSD and the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research drafted Taiwan’s VNR. The review was drafted based on information provided by the working groups, task forces and related ministries and agencies, and supplemented by international perspectives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The premier then approved the document.

The VNR maps how each of the SDGs has been addressed by new policies and programmes that the government implemented since the SDGs’ adoption, in support of the goals:

  • SDG 1 (no poverty): increasing the minimum wage; implementing the Long-term Care Services Act for the elderly;
  • SDG 2 (zero hunger): launching the Innovative Agricultural Promotion Program;
  • SDG 3 (good health and well-being): implementing a five-day workweek policy; promoting an air pollution control strategy; and implementing the Long-term Care Services Act for the elderly;
  • SDG 4 (quality education): revising the Talent Cultivation and Education Program for New Immigrants;
  • SDG 5 (gender equality): amending the Gender Equality Policy Guidelines;
  • SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation): launching the Innovative Agricultural Promotion Program; implementing the Wetland Conservation Act; promulgating the Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Act;
  • SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy): launching the Innovative Agricultural Promotion Program; promulgating the Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Act;
  • SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth): implementing the Green Economy Promotion Strategies and Directions;
  • SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure): implementing the Green Economy Promotion Strategies and Directions; promulgating the Forward-looking Infrastructure Construction Act;
  • SDG 10 (reduced inequalities): reforming the pension system; implementing the Indigenous Languages Development Act; revising the Talent Cultivation and Education Program for New Immigrants;
  • SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities): launching the Innovative Agriculture Promotion Program; implementing the Green Economy Promotion Strategies and Directions; and revising the Talent Cultivation and Education Program for New Immigrants;
  • SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production): launching the Innovative Agriculture Promotion Program; and implementing the Green Economy Promotion Strategies and Directions;
  • SDG 13 (climate action): promulgating the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act; and implementing the Air Pollution Control Strategies;
  • SDG 14 (life below water): promoting the Ocean Economy Integrated Development Strategies; and promoting the plastic-free ocean policy;
  • SDG 15 (life on land): implementing the Wetland Conservation Act; and
  • SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions): organizing the National Conference on Judicial Reform; and implementing the Indigenous Languages Development Act.

On SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals), the VNR describes the work of Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF), which provides developmental and humanitarian assistance to other countries. The Fund prioritizes assistance in five core areas: agriculture; public health and medicine; education; the environment; and information and communications technologies (ICTs). The Fund has integrated the SDGs in its allocation criteria and has provided assistance to other countries through technical cooperation, investment and financing, educational training and humanitarian aid.

The VNR also enumerates measures for the next phase of development as recommended by government agencies and the NCSD working groups, as well as its 24 nongovernmental members. These steps include localized sustainable development goals and other nationally-relevant targets in support of the SDGs.

Taiwan plans to review its progress on the Goals yearly. The Review further mentions that a broader range of public opinion will be incorporated in future VNRs, through public participation and social dialogue, to ensure that the government’s actions meet the expectations of the citizenry. [Taiwan VNR] [NCSD Website] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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