The “main messages” provide a brief overview of more comprehensive review documents that are developed by countries to report on SDG implementation efforts during the HLPF.
Of the 45 countries presenting their VNRs in July, six are small island developing States: Grenada; Jamaica; Saint Kitts and Nevis; São Tomé and Príncipe; Suriname; and Tuvalu.
The UN Secretariat has issued a note (E/HLPF/2022/5) compiling the main messages for the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to be presented at the 2022 UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July. Most of the 45 countries have presented their VNRs at previous HLPF sessions. Argentina, the Philippines, and Switzerland are third-, and Togo and Uruguay are fourth-time presenters. Twelve countries are presenting their VNRs for the first time.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development invites countries to prepare VNRs to facilitate the sharing of national experiences, including successes, challenges, and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating implementation of the SDGs. The “main messages,” published on 6 May 2022, provide a brief overview of more comprehensive review documents that are developed by countries to report on SDG implementation efforts during the HLPF.
Second-time VNR presenter Botswana reports that it uses the SDG planning guidelines to mainstream SDG indicators into its medium- and long-term development frameworks. The country has set up the Parliament Special Committee on SDGs, to ensure sufficient resourcing and accountability for delivering the Goals, and is developing a gender-responsive and climate-smart SDG financing strategy. To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government developed an Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan to boost economic activity and incomes and expand productive capacity.
On SDG 4 (quality education), Botswana reports that while its public expenditure on education stands at 7.1% of gross domestic product (GDP), there is a need to focus more on early childhood and tertiary education. It further notes that while some progress has been achieved on SDG 5 (gender equality) in terms of improving women’s sexual and reproductive health and on addressing gender-based violence and sexual exploitation, challenges remain in the areas of women’s employment and political participation.
Other 2022 VNR presenters from the African Group include Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Somalia, the Sudan, and Togo.
Sri Lanka’s main messages from its second VNR note that in spite of setbacks, including the 2019 Easter attacks, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing external debt crisis, implementation of policy measures to deliver on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has continued. The country has established the Sustainable Development Council, and increased data availability on SDG indicators from 46 in 2017 to 104 in 2021. Among other actions, Sri Lanka’s main messages highlight policies to promote economic diversification and a “blue-green economy,” and efforts to accelerate knowledge-based and technology-driven transformation.
Other presenters from the Asia-Pacific Group include Jordan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tuvalu, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Also presenting for the second time, Jamaica reports that in 2021, its Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan was 95% aligned with the SDGs. The country is in the process of developing a multidimensional poverty index, and remains committed to leaving no one behind by prioritizing the most vulnerable in policymaking and programming. Jamaica’s main messages note that the government allocates one of the largest shares of its budget to education. While there is equal access to education for both sexes, within the 17-24 age cohort, females are more likely to be enrolled in school and programmes targeting unattached youth. At the tertiary level, underrepresented groups include males, persons from the poorest quintiles, and those from rural areas.
In 2020, its main messages note, Jamaica updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement on climate change, and “surpassed the 2020 targets of SDG 14 for conserved marine areas.” To address the challenge of financing for development (FfD), the country has pursued innovative financing mechanisms such as channeling private financing to national development priorities and the SDGs.
Jamaica is one of six small island developing States (SIDS) presenting their VNRs in July. The other five are Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, São Tomé and Príncipe, Suriname, and Tuvalu.
Other countries from the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) presenting their 2022 VNRs include Argentina, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, and Uruguay.
In its main messages, third-time presenter Switzerland highlights that its 2022 VNR is based on the 2018-2022 Baseline Assessment, which focuses on the progress achieved between 2018 and 2022, and outlines the key challenges the country is facing to reaching the SDGs by 2030. The Swiss main messages note good progress on education, healthcare, infrastructure, and competitiveness, and outline measures the country has taken to encourage policy coherence for sustainable development and to highlight trade-offs and synergies between various SDGs and targets. However, according to its new 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy that the government adopted in June 2021, “[m]uch action and coordination” is still needed on: sustainable consumption and production; climate, energy, and biodiversity; and equal opportunities and social cohesion.
Andorra, Belarus, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, and the Netherlands are among the other 2022 presenters from the Western European and Others Group (WEOG).
Main messages from the 45 countries that will present their VNR in 2022 are available via the UN’s HLPF database. According to the ‘Guidance and Best Practices for Presenting a VNR at the HLPF in 2022’ by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), full VNR reports should be submitted by countries to the UN Secretariat by 10 June 2022. [Publication: Advance Unedited Version: Compilation of Main Messages for the 2022 Voluntary National Reviews: Note by the Secretariat] [VNR Webpage] [HLPF 2022 Webpage]