VLRs help monitor and evaluate progress on SDG implementation and also facilitate social inclusion, multi-level coordination, and prioritization in planning and budgeting.
The VLR Series provides guidance, definitions, and technical support for local and regional governments to engage in the VLR process.
United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) launched the first volume of ‘Guidelines for Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs)’ of the VLR Series during a virtual event on the sidelines of the 2020 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).The event, which took place on 8 July 2020, emphasized the increased importance of localizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure no one and no place is left behind in its aftermath.
The VLR Series seeks to provide guidance, definitions, and technical support for local and regional governments to engage in the VLR process. During the VLR process, local governments confirm their commitment to the SDGs and voluntarily assess progress toward specific targets.
During the launch event, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, emphasized the need to empower cities and local governments through spatially-disaggregated data and sufficient resources. She called for integrating VLRs into the VNR process. Representatives from a number of communities that have developed VLRs discussed their experiences. The communities include: New York City, Madrid, Moscow, Oaxaca, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona.
UN-Habitat announced that, in collaboration with the Madrid City Council, UN-Habitat will organize an Expert Group Meeting on strengthening the VLR process by the end of 2020.
Additional guidebooks launched in 2020 to help communities develop VLRs include:
- ‘State of Voluntary Local Reviews 2020: Local Action for Global Impact in Achieving the SDGs‘, a review of the publicly available VLRs as of February 2020 prepared by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES); and
- ‘European Handbook for SDG Voluntary Local Reviews,’ which provides examples of official and experimental indicators that municipalities can use to monitor local SDG implementation.