SDG review as an engine for action – Promising practices from around the world

It is now almost five years since the 2030 Agenda was adopted and four years since the first High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was held at the United Nations in New York, and in that time the world has made considerable progress in reviewing implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and assessing the results.

In 2018, Partners for Review (P4R) published its first compilation of emerging practices in SDG review. The key lessons learned at the time from the ten examples it presented were that the 2030 Agenda has opened up a range of new opportunities for inclusive policy-making; that carefully building, maintaining and working in partnerships is a key to success; that the 2030 Agenda provides an opportunity to align national programmes and plans; and that peer exchange is conducive to global learning on follow-up and review.

Two years on, in 2020, these initial messages still hold true. However, this second edition of the P4R magazine – again with ten examples from the field – shows how processes have further evolved and how actors in diverse regions and at different levels are using increasingly sophisticated structures and mechanisms to tackle the complexities of SDG review.

One observation that has emerged is that SDG reviews have not only taken root at the national level but are now also being promoted much more actively at the subnational and regional level. In addition, an even greater diversity of stakeholders are being involved in these processes, for example, supreme audit institutions (SAIs), parliaments, the media, foundations and grassroots civil society groups. Correspondingly, stakeholder engagement mechanisms have become more structured and institutionalised, especially in those countries that have already conducted more than one voluntary national review (VNR).

Furthermore, alternative data and data sources are increasingly being put to the test in efforts to complement official data and thereby filling data gaps. Finally, increasing attention is given to follow-up and review as an engine to spur action to deliver the SDGs.

The ten articles presented in this second edition of the P4R magazine shed light on specific practical experiences, with the intention of providing inspiration and support to others in designing their own solutions. It is our hope that this collection of cases will facilitate peer learning on SDG follow-up and review and contribute to better practices and mechanisms on the ground.

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