By Deirdre de Burca, Forus Advocacy coordinator 

The Progressing National SDG Implementation 2019” is an independently commissioned report and Forus has contributed to it over the past three years. It identifies and promotes best practices in national SDG implementation as well as highlights gaps and challenges. 

For the past four years, a coalition of civil society organizations – including Together 2030 – have reviewed national governments’ reports to the United Nations on their SDG progress. These Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are meant to serve as transparent, thorough analyses of where each country is on their SDG journey.  

  • Delivered annually at the High-level Political Forum in New York, VNRs are: 
  • meant to be prepared through inclusive and participatory processes; 
  • invaluable sources on good practices, lessons learned and challenges in implementation; and 
  • a basis for peer learning and accountability at the global level. 

The latest review of the 47 VNR reports submitted to the HLPF in 2019 reveals a range of good practices and trends in implementation and reporting – many are positive, some are causes for concern: 

  • Countries are more consistently following guidelines for VNR reports 
  • The most significant increase in reporting was in inclusion of a dedicated chapter or robust information on leaving no one behind – 81% in 2019 versus 61% in 2018 
  • However, only 36% of countries highlighted embedding leaving no one behind or efforts to address inequality and social exclusion as part of overarching development plans 
  • Reports continue to be largely silent on closing civic space globally and ongoing attacks on human rights defenders and environmentalists 
  • 76% countries provided information on data availability – a significant increase 
  • 75% of countries reporting had not costed implementation of the 2030 Agenda 

The Progressing National SDGs Implementation report covers all aspects of 2030 Agenda implementation by examining governance and institutional arrangements, stakeholder engagement, policies, the means of implementation and reporting. By exploring and adopting its key findings, good practice case studies, and recommendations, governments can take a large step forward in their collective effort to get back on track.