ODI Examines ‘Leave No One Behind’ Reflections in VNRs
Americas, News, July 9 2018
INTERNATIONAL: Analysts from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) report that they are encouraged by countries’ engagement with the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process so far, even though the presentations made at the 2016 and 2017 sessions of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), for the most part, only “met minimum requirements for action on the goals.” The ODI briefing note also finds that the dearth and diversity of reporting on “leave no one behind” (LNOB) mean that trends, approaches and lessons of success and failure have been difficult to identify.
The briefing note titled, ‘What Do Analyses of Voluntary National Reviews for Sustainable Development Goals Tell Us About Leave No One Behind?,’ written by Moizza Binat Sarwar and Susan Nicolai, examines the VNRs based on 22 publications of various organizations and experts that analyzed the VNRs in 2016 and 2017, as well as the UN Secretary-General’s voluntary common reporting guidelines for countries to use in presenting their experiences at the HLPF. The authors note that the 2017 update to the Secretary-General’s guidelines strengthened the call for reporting on LNOB. The guidelines also stress the importance of highlighting SDG implementation challenges, in order for the HLPF to help “troubleshoot” common implementation problems.
Among commonalities in the publications examined, Sarwar and Nicolai note that while the VNRs show governments’ commitment to the SDGs generally, there is little evidence of political leadership at the national level, “which is crucial for coordinating work across the goals.” However, they say, in a number of VNRs, the political importance of the SDGs is evident considering that responsibility for steering the SDGs is assigned to executive-level offices. The authors also outline a “varied understanding of institutionalization,” adding that most VNRs have only “loosely” followed the UN Secretary-General’s guidelines, and there is a lack of standardization in content. They explain that some countries referred to setting up specific agencies and committees to deal with the SDGs, others discussed institutionalization in terms of alignment with existing national priorities, and some outlined processes for monitoring and evaluating implementation. On progress, the brief stresses that VNR reports often overflow with data, without any real effort to interpret them in reference to SDG Goals, targets and indicators.
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Re-posted with permission