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Capacity Building Workshop for Developing Countries Presenting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2018

In September 2015, the General Assembly adopted a new agenda to guide development efforts for the period from 2015 to 2030 (Resolution A/RES/70/1: Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development). The 2030 Agenda sets out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets which jointly constitute a comprehensive plan of action to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable development. Building on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Agenda is universal, applicable to all countries, considering “different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities”. The goals and targets are “integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development”.

The 2030 Agenda defines a follow-up and review process. Member States committed to a robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework, designed to help countries to maximize and track progress in implementing the Agenda to ensure that no one is left behind. The framework, operating at the national, regional and global levels promotes accountability to citizens, supports effective international cooperation in achieving 2030 agenda and fosters exchanges of best practices and mutual learning. The follow-up and review framework was further clarified in the Secretary-General’s report on critical milestones towards coherent, efficient and inclusive follow- up and review at the global level (A/70/684) and elaborated in General Assembly Resolution 70/299.

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) has a vital role in overseeing a network of follow-up and review processes at the global level. It is mandated, among other functions, with conducting voluntary national reviews (VNRs), which should be ‘state-led, involving ministerial and other relevant high-level participants’ and should provide a platform for partnerships, including through the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders. It is also mandated with facilitating the ‘sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, and provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for follow-up.’ The follow-up and review process thus provides an opportunity for countries to assess progress related to attaining the sustainable development goals. Strengthened capacity for follow-up and reviews will enable countries to develop a better understanding of the problems and shortcomings encountered in the progressive realization of their sustainable development strategies, and the development of further appropriate policies, structures and processes to achieve them. To achieve these goals, developing countries need to build capacities.

To this end, UN DESA is organizing a capacity building workshop which will take place on 21 March 2018, in Dakar, Senegal. The aim of the workshop, is to provide capacity building to equip government officials with knowledge and skills to engage in their national processes and identify possible similar benefits and challenges that they face in preparing their VNRs. Government officials will have the opportunity to share their experiences and lessons learned so far, as well as benefit from exchange of approaches on follow-up and implementation. UN DESA will share lessons learned, including the main findings of the synthesis report of the 2017 VNRs, and familiarize officials with the Secretary-General’s guidelines for the preparation of VNRs.