In 2023, 38 countries will present their second VNRs.
Workshop participants agreed that “second generation” VNRs could deepen the analysis to showcase impacts, improve localization, provide better review of financing arrangements, broaden consultations with stakeholders, improve engagement with the private sector, and enhance the use of science and data.
A DESA-organized virtual “Knowledge Exchange” served as an online addition to the workshop where UN entities and other organizations shared tools, approaches, and methodologies that could support 2023 VNR countries in their preparations.
The UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has published a summary of the first workshop for countries that will present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the 2023 High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF). Among the key messages that emerged from the workshop was awareness of “the risks of presenting a rosy picture.” Participants agreed that the VNRs should reflect the process of implementation and good practices, but also highlight challenges and negative experiences.
Forty-one presenters will carry out VNRs at the HLPF 2023. These are Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, the Central African Republic (CAR), Comoros, Chile, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the EU, Fiji, France, Guyana, Iceland, Ireland, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Mongolia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Syria, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, and Zambia. The EU and Saint Kitts and Nevis will present their first VNRs. Chile will present its third. The rest are second-time presenters.
Underscoring that VNRs support the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the pledge to leave no one behind (LNOB), the workshop summary underscores the need for VNRs to cover all of the SDGs, even though countries will place greater emphasis on goals of national priority. For instance, some countries will focus primarily on poverty and hunger, which reflects the importance of starting with those furthest behind first.
According to the summary report, workshop participants agreed that “second generation” VNRs could deepen the analysis to showcase impacts, improve localization, provide better review of financing arrangements, broaden consultations with stakeholders, improve engagement with the private sector, and enhance the use of science and data. They could also show developments since previous VNRs by highlighting progress, gaps, new trends, and impacts of policies, as well as any unresolved challenges – a component that is particularly relevant in light of today’s multiple crises.
The summary outlines VNRs’ role in promoting national reviews of the 2030 Agenda in a way that is focused, evidence-based, and conducive to peer learning and experience sharing by identifying gaps and good practices and building partnerships.
Many participants, it notes, highlighted challenges of data disaggregation and availability of timely data, with some crediting the VNR process as an opportunity to locate, compile, and consolidate data. Some participants mentioned using experimental data and proxies.
Participants saw the 2023 VNR process as an opportunity for countries to learn from each other’s experiences to improve implementation and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, which they recognized as the global blueprint for sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. They also acknowledged the 2023 VNRs’ contribution to national sustainable recovery.
The workshop sessions focused on, inter alia:
- Principles and steps necessary to prepare a VNR;
- Institutional frameworks for SDG implementation;
- Data roadmaps and lessons learned from VNR preparations;
- Ensuring meaningful stakeholder engagement in VNR preparations and SDG implementation; and
- Lessons from regional cooperation among VNR countries.
DESA convened the workshop from 6-7 December 2022 in Turin, Italy, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy.
A DESA-organized virtual “Knowledge Exchange” served as an online addition to the workshop where UN entities and other organizations shared tools, approaches, and methodologies that could support 2023 VNR countries in their preparations. It took place on 13 December. [Publication: First Workshop for the Voluntary National Reviews to be presented at the 2023 United Nations High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development: Summary] [Publication: Virtual Knowledge Exchange on Approaches and Tools for the 2023 Voluntary National Reviews: Summaries of Approaches and Tools Presented in December 2022]