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Progressing National SDGs Implementation: An Independent Assessment of the Voluntary National Review Reports Submitted to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2018

Key Messages

  • Countries are more consistently following guidelines for Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports and providing information on most aspects of 2030 Agenda implementation.
  • Reporting suggests that leaving no one behind is becoming a defining consideration in implementing the SDGs. However, except for leaving no one behind, VNRs continue to pay limited attention to the transformative principles of the 2030 Agenda.
  • While there is evidence of increased engagement with civil society organizations, results are mixed. It is particularly concerning that countries remain silent on closing civic space globally and ongoing attacks on human rights defenders and environmentalists.

“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 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.