A key element of the 2030 Agenda is follow-up and review at the national, regional and global levels. Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are the main mechanism to assess progress at the national level, which then feed into regional and global platforms.
At the national level, Governments are committed to a systematic follow-up and review of the Agenda’s implementation until 2030, through a robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated follow-up and review framework. As such, most Arab countries have conducted VNRs, some more than once.
ESCWA provides support by providing technical advice to member States on their VNR process and report development, in close collaboration with the United Nations country team.
ESCWA provides technical support to member States on their VNR process and report development, in close collaboration with the United Nations country team. It supports the development of VNR learning materials and makes them available in Arabic for the benefit of its members.
ESCWA also organizes bi-annual regional VNR workshops that facilitate peer-learning, capacity-building and the sharing of best practices in different contexts. For the peer-learning objective, ESCWA established an Arab VNR Community of Practice that provides a platform for government officials to engage in focused discussions, access knowledge and information, and establish professional relationships to support and enhance their work on VNRs.
VNRs are featured at the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development. ESCWA research on mapping and analysing VNRs on a number of dimensions feeds into a dedicated roundtable session, where government representatives come together to discuss challenges, opportunities and the post-VNR phase.
League of Arab States
LAS co-organizes VNR workshops alongside ESCWA and DESA. Since 2016, LAS has granted special attention to the 2030 Agenda through its activities and had encouraged member States to adopt it as part of their national development planning and policies.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
DESA co-organizes VNR workshops alongside ESCWA and LAS. Through its Office for Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, DESA provides support to the work of the General Assembly, the United Nations Economic and Social Council and HLPF on sustainable development. The Office supports inclusive HLPF preparations, notably its regular reviews of progress towards the SDGs as well as the VNRs.
The regional VNR workshops series
Since 2019, ESCWA, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the League of Arab States (LAS) have been organizing a series of regional VNR workshops to support Arab States. The workshops are a platform for knowledge exchange and peer learning on VNRs in the Arab region. Each workshop has a thematic focus area that responds to the needs and priorities of the region.
ESCWA also supports the development of learning materials, including toolkits and guidelines on the VNR process, and makes them available in Arabic. Since 2018, ESCWA has translated into Arabic the Handbook for the Preparation of Voluntary National Reviews developed by DESA.
- Handbook for the Preparation of Voluntary National Reviews 2022 (Ar)
- Handbook for the Preparation of Voluntary National Reviews 2021 (Ar)
- Handbook for the Preparation of Voluntary National Reviews 2020 (Ar)
- Handbook for the Preparation of Voluntary National Reviews 2019 (Ar)
- Handbook for the Preparation of Voluntary National Reviews 2018 (Ar)
Arab VNR Community of Practice
Recognizing the importance of knowledge exchange and peer-learning, ESCWA established the Arab VNR Community of Practice which brings together government officials from Arab countries who spearheaded the preparation of the VNR at a working level, and those currently engaged in such a role.
The Community allows its members to benefit from commonalities and differences in the VNR experience, given their varying levels of development and institutional setups for follow-up and review. It also keeps its members abreast of regional and global processes, including the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development and the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).