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Countries gather in Botswana to discuss efforts to implement SDGs

The United Nations and the Government of Botswana are hosting the second global workshop to support the 45 countries conducting voluntary national reviews of SDG implementation. The workshop is for countries presenting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the July 2022 United Nations High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF).

Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

It will focus on peer-to-peer learning and exchange of experiences related to the preparations of the VNRs and their presentation as well as to emerging findings.  It will provide an opportunity to share good practices, lessons learned, and issues faced by the VNR countries in the preparations of the VNR reports and presentation at the HLPF.

The global workshop is hosted by the Republic of Botswana and organised by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and sponsored by the European Union and Italy.

The President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), H.E. Mr. Collen Kelapile, said that the “Voluntary national reviews are an essential part of the UN High-level political forum on sustainable development. They bring national perspectives to the global level and inform discussions on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals”.

The session will include “VNR Clinics”, where VNR countries will provide case studies of their VNR preparations highlighting good practices, challenges, issues, or questions, where they would like feedback from other VNR countries. The 2022 VNR countries will be invited as presenters to share best practices or lessons learned on how they addressed challenges and issues. The workshop will also address the upcoming process for finalising the VNR reports and provide information and advice for the presentations of the VNR at the HLPF.

The last day of the workshop will address the theme of this year’s HLPF “Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. This theme is at the heart of policy making and international cooperation across the world.

Countries will exchange experiences and lessons on policies they may have implemented for recovering from COVID-19 while addressing the negative impacts of the pandemic on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and moving on to a track to realise the Sustainable Development Goals. Botswana will also show how SDG 15 on terrestrial biodiversity is impacting the achievement of this goal including by combating desertification through a dedicated field visit.

Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, stressed: “In this seventh year of VNR reporting, we have seen a great improvement in the depth of the VNRs over the years. The reviews are more evidence-based, more inclusive of all stakeholders, and more focused on granular analysis of available data sources, including non-traditional data sources.”

As of January 3, 2022, 45 countries are listed to present the results of their VNRs. These countries include the first-ever set of governments that will report for the fourth time – Togo and Uruguay. Twelve first-time presenters are also on the list.

The 45 countries are: Andorra, Argentina, Belarus, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Lesotho.

Others include Liberia, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Togo, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.

The VNRs are usually presented during the second half of the annual HLPF sessions. In 2022, the HLPF will take place from July 5 to 15.

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