Voluntary Local Reviews provide better data to implement the 2030 Agenda

Jul 30, 2021

This year’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) discussed how, despite the public health, environmental and economic crises, countries moved resiliently towards post-COVID-19 recovery and how their response plans were aligned to the 2030 Agenda. The meeting featured the presentation of some countries such as Cuba, Bolivia and Antigua and Barbuda, which presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on SDGs progress for the first time. In addition, the role of Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) as a tool that provides localized data to implement the 2030 Agenda at the national level was highlighted. 


Context of the event

What challenges were identified and what themes emerged to advance the implementation of the SDGs as we “recover” from the global pandemic? Where is the global sustainable development agenda heading? The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) hosted a panel of experts to answer these questions in a virtual Debrief following the closing of the HLPF 2021. The panelists shared their findings regarding vaccination justice, financing, the most vulnerable groups, and delay in achieving the 2030 Agenda’s targets due to the pandemic. 


“Greater integration between Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) should be promoted. That would provide VNRs with better localized data and increase the visibility of VLRs,” Javier Surasky explained during the webinar. “VNRs are stagnating over time, there is no progress from one year to the next. They are not getting better or worse,” he complemented. 


Surasky also mentioned the 2020 targets of the SDGs that failed to be met: 


“It is particularly serious that we have unmet the 2020 target set on supporting statistical capacity building to developing countries (target 17.18). This evidences that we continue to implement the 2030 Agenda with limited capacities for data-driven decision making, which is inefficient and ineffective.”


“We cannot allow this situation with the 2020 targets to be a prelude to what we will be discussing in 2031. We urgently need to strengthen evidence-based decision making based on quality data and much more inclusive processes.”

VNRs are stagnating over time, there is no progress from one year to the next. They are not getting better or worse

Javier Surasky, Program Officer, Governance and Financing for Sustainable Development, Cepei


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