10 September 2021
VNR Update: 15 Countries Planning to Participate in 2022 HLPF
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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Four countries expressed interest in recent days in conducting 2022 Voluntary National Reviews: Botswana, Eswatini, Jordan, and Luxembourg.

The deadline for new expressions of interest is 17 September 2021 to give countries sufficient time to prepare their VNRs.

During the 2021 HLPF, 42 countries presented a VNR.

The President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) announced four additional countries that have expressed interest in presenting Voluntary National Reviews in 2022. The deadline for new expressions of interest is 17 September 2021.

The VNRs have become “a centerpiece” of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), according to UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. Through the VNRs, governments present an update on reaching the SDGs in their countries and discuss challenges they have faced as well as solutions they have tested.

As of 24 August 2021, 11 countries were listed as interested in presenting a VNR in 2022: Andorra, Argentina, Belarus, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Philippines, Tuvalu, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Switzerland. In a 7 September letter to UN Member States, ECOSOC President Collen Vixen Kelapile writes that four additional countries have also expressed interest: Botswana, Eswatini, Jordan, and Luxembourg. He intends to close the list in September “to give countries sufficient time to prepare their VNRs.”

Kelapile previously indicated that he will limit the number of VNRs to be presented at the 2022 HLPF to ensure interactive discussion with each presenting country and “maximize the value of the VNRs.”

During the 2021 HLPF, 42 countries presented a VNR, followed by the opportunity for questions from peer countries and stakeholders.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin’s meeting summary of the 2021 session notes that VNRs have become a “a key vehicle for monitoring the acquisition of knowledge and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.” The VNR process in each country has itself “opened the door to better problem-solving at the national level.” For example, many VNR presentations in 2021 highlighted that the process had created an opportunity for the respective government to develop its statistical system to evaluate progress on the SDGs using disaggregated data. This, in turn, built linkages between statisticians and ministries. Moreover, the ENB report indicates, countries are increasingly involving stakeholders, including local authorities, the private sector, and civil society, in both the preparation of VNRs and their review—a process that is expanding transparency and inclusivity.

The 2022 HLPF will take place from 5-15 July. [List of VNR countries] [Letter to UN Member States]

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