Synthesis Report: Voluntary National Reviews – 2018 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development

The 2018 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development took place from 9 to 18 July at UN headquarters. A total of 46 countries presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), up from 43 countries that conducted reviews in 2017. Since the inaugural reviews in 2016, 111 reviews have been presented, by 102 countries, with a number of countries conducting second reviews. The VNRs document how countries are tackling the transformative challenge of the 2030 Agenda. The reviews are country-specific and complement the broader thematic review of progress that also takes place at the HLPF.

This Report synthesizes some of the findings of the VNRs, drawing from the written reports. It examines a range of topics, including ownership and involving stakeholders, institutional mechanisms, incorporation of the SDGs into national frameworks, means of implementation and an overview of how countries addressed goals and targets in the VNRs. It attempts to highlight practices from all countries that participated in the 2018 VNR process.

The Reviews highlight that bringing the SDGs into the national context relies on a range of actors, including local governments, private business, civil society, academia, as well as individuals willing to change their behaviour. “Leaving no one behind” is one of the fundamental principles of the 2030 Agenda. It is recognized as such by almost all countries in their VNRs. This central theme guided countries to identify vulnerable groups, communities and individuals, or those at risk of being left behind within their national contexts.

Although three years have passed since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, several countries reported that awareness of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs remains relatively modest, especially at grassroots and community level. Hence, several countries stressed the need to enhance awareness-raising activities in the next phase of implementation. The reviews contain a wealth of information and analysis of progress at country level, covering specific SDGs, as well as cross-cutting issues such as means of implementation

The Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Greece was presented on 16 July 2018. It mentions that Greek priorities focus on the fight against unemployment, particularly for youth and women, the reduction of social inequalities, progress in gender equality and the promotion of social inclusion for immigrants and other vulnerable population groups. These priorities are implemented through a robust social solidarity system, establishment of a minimum guaranteed income for all, universal access to quality health care services, combating energy poverty for vulnerable citizens, and free access to quality education for everyone at all education levels.

The Economic and Social Committee of Greece (ESC), the constitutionally established institution responsible for conducting the social dialogue on the country’s general policy and on economic and social issues, has assumed an important role in promoting systematic and structured consultation and dialogue on the effective implementation of SDGs at different levels and in various sectors.

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