Progressing national SDGs implementation

An independent Assessment of the Voluntary National Reviews submitted to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on sustainable development in 2018.

Progressing National SDG Implementation” is the third in a regular series of reports commissioned by civil society. It documents and analyses the 46 English, French, Spanish and Arabic Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports submitted in 2018 to the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The report identifies ten key pillars that we believe are essential to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also recognizes emerging good practice and sets out a range of conclusions and recommendations with respect to how countries can both improve their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and use the HLPF as an opportunity for mutual peer learning, knowledge exchange and support. Importantly, the review also provides a comparative assessment of how VNR reporting is evolving over time through a comparison of analysis of the VNRs in 2016 and 2017 with findings for 2018.

What are the Voluntary National Reviews?

Voluntary National Reviews are one of the key mechanisms to track the implementation progress of the commitments enshrined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Presented annually at the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), they aim to promote accountability to citizens, support effective international cooperation, and foster exchange of best practices and mutual learning.

Cepei participated in the preparation of the report with the evaluation of the 8 VNRS presented by the Latin American and Caribbean Region at the HLPF 2018: Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Key findings




1. Majority of countries demonstrated some progress in implementation and reporting The majority of countries made progress incorporating the SDGs into national policies, developing institutional mechanisms for implementation, building partnerships and/or monitoring and evaluating progress. At least 70% included all elements of the Secretary-General’s updated voluntary reporting guidelines in their reports (excluding leave no one behind, structural issues and annexes).

2.  More progress needed to establish key SDG building blocks Almost two thirds (or 65%) of countries reporting in 2018 have incorporated the SDGs into existing national development plans directly, 15% of which also provided a roadmap for getting there. However, country progress on establishing the building blocks for 2030 Agenda implementation – governance structures, institutional arrangements, policies and means of implementation – still varies substantially across countries. Some countries have made significant progress on some building blocks, but not all, and they still have much to learn from emerging practice.

More key findings

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