Compilation of Main Messages for the 2019 Voluntary National Reviews, UN ECOSOC

As part of its follow-up and review mechanisms, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels, which are country-led and country-driven. These national reviews are expected to serve as a basis for the regular reviews by the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), meeting under the auspices of ECOSOC. The voluntary national reviews (VNRs) aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In 2019, 47 countries (7 for the second time) conducted VNRs at the HLPF.

Algeria: Algeria was fully and actively involved in the negotiation process and in the various consultations and initiatives relating to the Sustainable Development Goals at the national, regional and international levels. Algeria made significant progress in the pursuit of those Goals by adapting its sectoral policies to the requirements of sustainable development. It eradicated extreme poverty, established an inclusive social protection system, developed and expanded access to basic infrastructure, achieved universal primary education and reduced infant and maternal mortality.

Azerbaijan: Building opportunities for inclusive and sustainable economic growth for all and leaving no one behind are priorities for Azerbaijan. The country will strive to preserve macroeconomic stability by allocating resources in such a manner as to increase the share of the private sector in the overall economy, reducing economic dependency on oil and gas production thus promoting diversification of the economy, accelerating resource mobilization and integrating sustainability practices into the overall national development strategy.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: European Union accession, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals are perceived as mutually reinforcing and complimentary processes that encourage institutions and citizens to strive for a better society and a future where no one is left behind. At the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2030 Agenda efforts is the elaboration and adoption of the Sustainable Development Goal Framework, which is being developed through an extensive and reiterative consultative process with various institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia and citizens at large.

Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso aligned the 2030 Agenda with its national economic and social development plan, which was implemented through 14 sectoral policies and local development plans. The major challenges to be addressed are: (a) increasing financial resource mobilization; (b) combating growing insecurity in some parts of the country; (c) strengthening the national statistical system; (d) increasing the energy supply; (e) developing socioeconomic infrastructure; (f) developing production bases and increasing the competitiveness of production sectors and the processing of national products.

Cambodia: The Royal Government of Cambodia has, over the last 20 years, pursued a progressive development agenda. Cambodia’s highly consultative voluntary national review process began in late 2018, led by the Ministry of Planning. It adopted a whole-of-government approach, drawing in ministries and local administrations, and a whole-of-society approach fully open to civil society and business actors.

Cameroon: In Cameroon, progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals is being accompanied by updating of development policies and strategies, to facilitate their integration. In addition, with a view to establishing an economic and financial programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an interim development strategy was prepared, taking into account the adapted Goals.

Central African Republic: Central African Republic has enormous potential in terms of national resources but remains paradoxically very poor. It has been ravaged by several decades of recurrent military and political conflicts, resulting in significant population movements over the past five years. The challenges of creating jobs for youth and women, and the proliferation of weapons, including small arms and light weapons, are also obstacles to the stabilization of the country.

Chad: With a view to improving the quality of life of its citizens, the Government of Chad has devised “Vision 2030, the Chad we want”, which is divided into three national development plans. The first plan, which covers the period 2017–2021, is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals to a degree of 70 per cent. In line with its commitment, Chad will continue its efforts to reduce social inequalities, improve well-being, protect the environment and diversify the economy.

Chile: Since its return to democracy, Chile has enjoyed steady economic and social growth, as evidenced by the decline in unemployment and poverty rates. This is the result of, among other factors, a stable strategy that is focused on an open economy and prioritizes public spending on social policies, which has stimulated economic growth. In order to respond to the challenges of the 2030 Agenda, Chile has chosen to strengthen its institutional framework for implementation.

Republic of the Congo: The Congo is facing serious difficulties in its implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The main problems relate to building statistical capacity, coordination of civil society activities, involvement of the private sector and financial resources mobilization. The Government has decided to integrate the cost of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with the cost of implementing the national development plan.

Côte d’Ivoire: The country is facing several challenges, particularly in terms of sharing the fruits of growth, strengthening social cohesion, providing disaggregated data, mobilizing funds, adapting planning to the requirements of the Sustainable Development Goals and mobilizing society. In order to maintain strong, diverse and sustainable economic growth, the Government will take robust and concurrent action to lower the fertility rate, improve human capital, create decent and sustainable jobs and establish good governance.

Croatia: Bearing in mind the complexity of the 2030 Agenda and its inevitable impact on overall social and economic development, the Government of Croatia, with a view to coordinating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the highest level of the executive branch, established the National Council for Sustainable Development. The establishment of the Council ensures the political importance and visibility of the long-term process of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as compliance with other policies, strategies and activities of the Government of Croatia.

Eswatini: Eswatini is committed to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 of the African Union. An enabling environment is imperative for effective implementation. The Government has revised the National Development Strategy (Vision 2022) to incorporate emerging regional and global development issues.

Fiji: The sustainable development principles underpinning the Sustainable Development Goals have long been the underlying principles for Fiji’s national development. In implementing the Goals, Fiji has adopted a whole-of-government approach and has utilized national development planning as the primary instrument to drive forward the implementation of the Goals. In 2017, The Government launched its Five-Year and 20-Year National Development Plan with the vision of transforming Fiji.

Ghana: The Sustainable Development Goals have been integrated into the national development agenda and the budget. The Goals are being implemented through the decentralized planning system, which allows for the participation of all stakeholders, including traditional authorities, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, United Nations agencies and other development partners.

Guatemala: In 2014, Guatemala approved its National Development Plan, and in 2016 it turned its attention to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, integrating 99 targets, including 16 strategic targets, into its National Development Plan and grouping them into 10 national priorities. The 2019 national voluntary review includes an analysis of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in terms of the 10 national priorities.

Guyana: Guyana’s long-term development strategy, entitled the “Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040”, reflects the principles of a green agenda within safe and secure borders and highlights the need for resilient development for all its citizens. It is based on the delivery of quality education and health care, social protection, new economic opportunities, justice and political empowerment while protecting the natural environment.

Iceland: Iceland is fully committed to implementing the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development both nationally and internationally. The Sustainable Development Goals have been integrated into government policy on social, economic and environmental affairs, with a particular emphasis on building a peaceful and just society, free from fear and violence. An inter-ministerial working group leads the work of the Government of Iceland towards implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. It has mapped Iceland’s position for all 169 targets and specified 65 priority targets that will guide the authorities in implementing the Goals in the coming years.

Indonesia: For the Republic of Indonesia, implementing the national development agenda is implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Indonesia has been successful in reducing inequality, complemented by sustained and inclusive economic growth and accountable governance. Poverty has been reduced to a single digit for the first time in history, job opportunities and access to education have increased at all levels, and greenhouse gas emissions and disaster risks have been reduced.

Iraq: As the principal implementing party and coordinator for achieving the Goals, in line with the country’s Vision 2030 programme, the Government of Iraq is firmly convinced that implementing the Vision will help to empower a wider range of national actors, expand national dialogue and broaden partnerships. It is committed to supporting initiatives by civil society organizations, universities, trade unions and other stakeholders.

Israel: As a society with a broad cultural, ethnic and religious mix, the Government has to continually search for creative and culturally sensitive ways to provide equal opportunities for all. As the statistical annex to Israel’s report shows, there is substantial work yet to be done to close gaps in areas such as employment, income disparity, literacy, and mathematical and information and communications technology skills. There is also a need to address the gender gap, for example by increasing personal security and lowering poverty levels for women.

Kazakhstan: Since achieving independence, Kazakhstan has demonstrated its commitment to the principles of sustainable development. The country provides universal access to free education and health care, social protection is guaranteed for vulnerable social groups and systematic advances are being made in the area of gender equality.

Kuwait: Kuwait formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 and thereafter incorporated them into its first development plan under the 2035 Kuwait Vision. The Goals thereby became an integral part of the national institutional development framework and planning, budgeting and administrative structures. The involvement of government agencies, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders at the policy and institutional levels has been encouraged and resources have been allocated to create a broad base of support for achieving the Goals.

Lesotho: Lesotho is highly committed to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal agenda, which is operationalised through the National Strategic Development Plan II. Through the National Strategic Development Plan II, the country set employment creation and inclusive growth as the overriding goal for combating poverty and inequality. The key pillars for achieving this goal are: (i) promoting inclusive and sustainable growth, (ii) strengthening human, (iii) building enabling infrastructure, (iv) strengthening governance and accountability.

Liechtenstein: For many years, Liechtenstein has been taking targeted action to promote sustainable economic growth, the careful use of natural resources, the conservation of nature and the landscape and a peaceful, just and inclusive society and to ensure the rule of law.

Mauritania: In 2016, the Government of Mauritania established its 2016-2030 national strategy for accelerated growth and shared prosperity. The strategy makes inclusion and empowerment the common thread of government action by combining the promotion of inclusive growth and the launch of targeted programmes to leave no one behind.

Mauritius: Mauritius has moved from being a low-income to an upper-middle-income economy with the ambition of evolving into a high-income country despite its inherent vulnerabilities as a small island developing State devoid of natural resources, subjected to the tyranny of distance, natural disasters and the effects of climate change and highly vulnerable to external shocks and global trends.

Mongolia: Despite the early adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, challenges remain. Localizing the complex, interdependent and comprehensive development goals to the national context, prioritizing and mainstreaming them, especially in medium-and short-term development policies and the government budget framework, is work in progress.

Nauru: Nauru is the smallest republic in the world, with a land area of about eight square miles and a population of 12,500. Nauru faces challenges associated with its small size, remote location and narrow production base. Despite these challenges, the Government is committed to ensuring a sustainable quality of life for all Nauruans. Since 2014, progress has been made in some areas, including improvements in the energy and economic sector.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s first voluntary national review covers all 17 Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on how we deliver the outcomes that are most relevant to New Zealand. The review outlines New Zealand’s approach to the Goals and reflects our commitment to productive, sustainable and inclusive economic development. The report highlights challenges as well as successes and identifies areas where further work is needed.

Oman: The concept of sustainability has been at the heart of the vision for the future and successive five-year development plans in Oman since the early 1970s and remains so to this day. The 2030 Agenda is a logical extension of the values and principles of sustainability, equality, justice, peace, participation and leaving no one behind by which Omani society has long been guided.

Pakistan: As a demonstration of political commitment and ownership, Pakistan integrated the Sustainable Development Goals into its national development agenda in February 2016. A key aspect of implementation strategy is strengthening the existing and forging new alliances, leveraging technology and mobilizing finance. Partnership and close collaboration with a broad array of governmental, private, civil society and media actors, supplemented by regional and international support, will continue to be a major feature.

Palau: Palau actively participated in formulating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Accordingly, Palau welcomes the voluntary national review as an opportunity to reflect on achievements and acknowledge vulnerabilities while accelerating progress towards a global development paradigm characterized by resilience, sustainability and equity –an “Era of Sustainable Development”.

Philippines: The Philippines’ second voluntary national review emphasizes the synergies between the government and non-government actions required to ensure inclusiveness and equality. The Philippines has employed a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Rwanda: Since 2000, Rwanda has registered inclusive growth, averaging 8 per cent annually, leading to millions being lifted out of poverty and good progress in all development sectors. Rwanda has integrated Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the Sustainable Development Goals into its national development agenda through the draft Vision 2050, the National Strategy for Transformation (2017–2024) and related strategies at different levels.

Saint Lucia: In 2015, Saint Lucia made a commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a small island developing State with significant vulnerabilities to external economic shocks, the impacts of natural disasters and the effects of climate change, Saint Lucia recognizes fully that sustainable development with a focus on people, planet, prosperity, partnerships and peace has to be at the core of our national plans and programmes, in order to meet the needs of present and future generations.

Serbia: The attainment of lasting prosperity for everyone everywhere within planetary boundaries by growing into sustainability is a clear, strategic, long-term national vision of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Serbia. In 2015, an integrated, networking institutional mechanism was established to build innovative practices in balancing all dimensions of sustainable development.

Sierra Leone: The country recently launched the Medium-term National Development Plan (2019–2023) entitled “Education for Development”. The people-centred plan is aligned to Agenda 2063 of the African Union and the Sustainable Development Goals to strategically guide the delivery of services and ensure that no one is left behind in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone has identified Goal 4 (education) and Goal 16 (justice) as accelerators for pursuing its developmental agenda, based on estimations that both Goals are central in its transformational trajectory.

South Africa: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is in South Africa’s interest: The National Development Plan is closely aligned to the 2030 Agenda. The Plan prioritizes the elimination of poverty, the reduction of inequality and growing an inclusive economy by 2030. The goals of the Plan are aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and to Agenda 2063 of the African Union and are integrated into Government planning systems and processes at the national, provincial and local levels.

Timor-Leste: Timor-Leste’s achievements as the newest country in Asia are underpinned by its commitment to reconciliation, inclusion and democracy. Emerging from Portuguese colonial administration and Indonesian occupation, the nation restored independence in 2002, amid a state of ruins where basic services and institutions were burnt to ashes. The country has made the journey from a traumatic independence struggle and period of civil unrest and conflict to become a democratic nation focused on state-building and accelerating progress on sustainable development.

Tonga: Tonga has prioritized social protection and human rights, with a focus on vulnerable groups. To fully inform policy changes and interventions, Tonga has utilized advanced statistical techniques to enable poverty reporting that is inclusive of smaller island communities and developed a robust multidimensional poverty measure that is reliable, valid and contextually appropriate.

Tunisia: Through the national consultation entitled “The Tunisia we want”, Tunisia contributed to shaping the Sustainable Development Goals. Tunisia reaffirms its commitment to meeting the goals adopted in its 2016–2020 development plan, which is based on five pillars: reforms and governance; the creation of an economic hub; human development; achieving regional objectives; and the green economy. The mechanism established to monitor achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals is based on good practices applicable to the design and follow-up of development plans. A national technical committee has been set up.

Turkey: Turkey has emphasized its commitment in every occasion to contribute to a sustainable world since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda was started by linking the SDGs with national development plans and sectoral strategies. Indeed, the concept of “sustainable development” has been embedded in the national development plans since 1996. This accumulated experience, along with strong infrastructure and institutional mechanisms, provides strong ground towards the SDGs.

Turkmenistan: From the moment it adopted the Goals, Turkmenistan has made marked progress in social policy, deepened market reforms and worked to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. Indicators on the provision of affordable and high-quality public health-care services and education are promising and measures to improve the health-care system and pursue education reform are ongoing.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the global goals are about changing the way we think about development – they are about changing our concepts as much as our actions. They have given us a way of talking not only about how you focus on eradicating extreme poverty, but also how you talk about so many of the other things that matter to human lives and the planet. A conversation that would have previously been about incomes has become an invitation to think about values, our responsibilities towards the environment, towards the poorest and most vulnerable, the planet and a fuller conception of human life.

United Republic of Tanzania: The United Republic of Tanzania, embraces the achievement of high-quality and sustainable human development for her citizens. This is engraved in the country’s Constitution and in her long-term development visions. There is a strong nationwide partnership and commitment to implementation, monitoring, tracking and reporting on the SDGs, backed by a strong political will, collective ownership, integrated planning, and supportive legal frameworks. A whole-of-society approach has been adopted, and a robust national Sustainable Development Goal coordination and monitoring framework, supported by national statistical offices is being developed.

Vanuatu: Vanuatu 2030: The People’s Plan (the Plan) is the National Sustainable Development Plan for the period from 2016 to 2030 and serves as the country’s highest-level policy framework. It is founded on culture, traditional knowledge and Christian principles and builds on Vanuatu’s development journey since independence. The Plan outlines Vanuatu’s national development goals and policy objectives in order to translate the national vision into priorities. This provides a sound framework to monitor progress, including alignment of the Plan with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

More information: https://undocs.org/en/E/HLPF/2019/5