10 December 2019
Event Considers VNRs as Tool to Integrate Vienna Programme, 2030 Agenda
Photo Credit: Faye Leone
story highlights

A side event on monitoring implementation of the VPoA and the 2030 Agenda in LLDCs through Voluntary National Reviews took place alongside the UNGA's high-level meeting to conduct a mid-term review of the VPoA.

Nepal and Zambia will present VNRs in 2020, and have already begun their national preparations.

Paraguay plans to present a VNR in 2021.

On the margins of the UN General Assembly’s midterm review of the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries (VPoA), high-level representatives of governments and the UN system discussed how the voluntary national review (VNR) process can help landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) integrate the 2030 Agenda and VPoA in their institutions, policies and national development plans.

The event titled, ‘Monitoring Implementation of the VPoA and the 2030 Agenda in LLDCs through Voluntary National Reviews,’ took place on 5 December 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (OHRLLS).

Opening the event, Jan Kickert, Permanent Representative of Austria, said Austria will present its VNR for the first time at the 2020 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). He highlighted that VNRs are, through their reviewing exercise, a great tool to “synchronize” the 2030 Agenda and the VPoA. He said SDG 5 (gender equality) was not reflected in the VPoA initially, which led governments to mention gender equality in the political declaration for the VPoA midterm review.

Ghanshyam Bhandari, Permanent Mission of Nepal, announced that Nepal will present its VNR for the second time in 2020, and the national review process has already started. He said Nepal’s current five-year national development plan is aligned with the VPoA, the 2030 Agenda, and the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Irene Tembo, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Zambia, said Zambia will present a VNR in 2020, and the national review process is underway. She said that Zambia is currently a low-income middle income country, but aims to become a prosperous MIC by 2030, including by becoming a transportation hub for the region. She noted that Zambia’s national development plan is aligned with the VPoA, the 2030 Agenda, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, and Africa’s Agenda 2063. 

Paraguay plans to present a VNR in 2021, according to Kuni Hashimoto Amarilla, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She said the country’s first VNR in 2018 was a good national exercise, as it required building indicators, enhancing statistical capacities and reaching all sectors. Paraguay is now working to integrate the VPoA, the 2030 Agenda, and the Trade Facilitation Agreement under the World Trade Organization (WTO) into its national development plan, and to build indicators that serve all these agendas.

Marion Barthelemy, DESA, said LLDCs “have done more than their fair share” of VNRs, noting that 31 of the 32 LLDCs have presented VNRs or will do so in 2020, five of which will be second-time reviews. She identified commonalities across LLDCs’ VNRs, including multi-stakeholder engagement and the need to focus on youth, peace and security. She also mentioned common challenges related to infrastructure, energy and lack of data for monitoring SDGs.

Sandagdorj Erdenebileg, OHRLLS, said international trade is very important for LLDCs, and should be at the center of the discussions on aligning the VPoA and the SDGs.

In the ensuing discussion, participants raised issues related to the need to involve youth in VPoA implementation and in drafting the new agendas, have a dedicated session on each vulnerable group of countries during HLPF, and consider the Human Development Index when evaluating countries’ development status, not only economic criteria. [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]

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