Comparative Analysis of LAC VNRs (2016-2019)

Comparative analysis of the VNRs presented by LAC countries between 2016 and 2019 at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Javier Surasky

October 11, 2019

As part of the VNR follow-up work, carried out by Cepei every year, we prepared this analysis that seeks to compare eight elements of the LAC Voluntary National Reviews presented at the HLPF from 2016 to 2019:

  • General Data 
  • Report Coverage
  • Incorporation of the SDGs at the national level
  • Incorporation of the central elements of the 2030 Agenda
  • Consideration of other global agendas and the coherence of development policies
  • Means of implementation (MoI)
  • Data for development
  • Alignment of the VNRs with the voluntary guidelines of the Secretary General of the United Nations

The UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The HLPF is a space for countries to submit to the international community the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) that result from their review processes of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the level national. These reports, which each State presents when it considers it pertinent, are the basis of the monitoring and review system established in the 2030 Agenda, articulated on a triple national, regional and global approach

In 2016 the Secretary General of the United Nations (SG) developed voluntary guidelines to strengthen the coherence and comparability of the VNRs presented, which were updated in December 2017 and applied to the reports submitted to the 2018 and 2019 HLPF meetings.

Based on the analysis of the VNRs presented by the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) at the HLPF, between 2016 and 2019, from a cross-sectional perspective, this work analyzes and compares 8 study elements defined by Cepei, seeking to answer with what intensity are these 8 elements being included by LAC countries when they present to the international community their progresses in the implementation of the SDGs?

Main Findings

The principles of implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under multi-stakeholder work schemes and leaving no one behind are the most mentioned by the VNRs of the LAC countries. On the contrary, the universality of the 2030 Agenda and its human rights base are the least taken into account.

✔ There is a clear deficit in the region regarding the integration of global agendas: the Paris Agreement is mentioned by 73% of the reports, the Sendai Framework for Action by 54% and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda by 50%. Compliance with the commitments emanating from each of them must be narrowed and their synergies more referred in national examinations. Also, policy coherence should receive greater attention.

✔ The inclusion of references to regional treaties is low, which could be showing a lack of interpretation of the agreements reached in LAC in the perspective of sustainable development. The most referenced regional instrument is the Montevideo Consensus.

Parliaments are the least included actor in the national implementation and monitoring institutions of the 2030 Agenda, as well as in the processes of Voluntary National Reviews. Something similar, but to a lesser extent, occurs with local governments.

✔ Only 14 countries have mentioned in their VNRs financing sources to implement the SDGs at the national level.

✔ In terms of data availability, the identification of statistical challenges that must be overcome is general, although with varying intensity given the differences in the starting points of the countries.

The limited inclusion of the voluntary guidelines for the presentation of Voluntary National Reviews prepared by the Secretary General of the United Nations (SG) hinders the cross-treatment of information available in the VNRs at the regional level or the cross-cutting approach to specific topics.

In the case of countries that submitted more than one VNR, a continuity line between the different reports cannot always be identified, which hinders a cyclical consideration and analysis of the information.

About the author

Javier Surasky

PhD in International Relations and International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Action, has taught courses in different postgraduate careers, including the Master’s Degree in International Relations and the Master’s Degree in Human Rights at the National University of La Plata (Argentina).