Four years of VNRs: what have we learned on implementing the SDGs?

This session aims to look at what we have learned on the implementation of the SDGs through the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) carried out by the HLPF thus far. In total, 102 countries have presented their VNRs since 2016, with another 40 countries presenting for the first time at the July 2019 HLPF. In addition, seven countries will present their second review at this year’s Forum.

Taken together, the VNR presentations provide a global snapshot of how countries are implementing the 2030 Agenda and the challenges they face.

The VNRs have shown that many countries have reflected the SDGs in their plans and policies or reviewed consistency between the two. Many have mobilized the various parts of government and various, institutions around the SDGs or created new coordinating institutions. Many have conducted activities to engage civil society and the private sector in implementing the SDGs. But many challenges persist. Those relate for example to budgeting for the SDGs, systematically mobilizing local actions, engaging parliaments, or building awareness about the SDGs. Conducting integrated policies and engaging all parts of government in implementing the SDGs also remains a challenge. Actions for leaving no one behind also require more attention.

The session will allow participants to share their experiences and analysis on the lessons we have learned on SDG implementation through the VNRs conducted thus far.

This session will be organized as an interactive townhall meeting.

Background note is available here

Proposed guiding questions:

  • Which challenges or areas where more efforts are required to implement the SDGs have VNRs helped to identify?

  • What are successful policies to implement the SDGs, based on the VNRs?

  • What have the VNRs told us about the key challenges to implement the SDGs and ways to address them?

  • What transformative actions or cross-cutting initiatives resulted from the VNRs for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda? Have these actions been incorporated into plans and roadmaps to accelerate progress across all SDGs at the national level?

Chair:

  • H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, President of Economic and Social Council

Presentation:

  • Mr. Luis Gerardo Gonzalez Morales, Chief, Web Development and Data Visualization Section, Statistics Division of UN DESA, on online SDG progress and VNR visualization platforms by UNDP and UN DESA

Moderator:

  • Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator of UNDP

Resource persons:

  • H.E. Mr. Seán Canney, Minister of State, Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ireland

  • Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany

  • Mr. Abel Hibert, Deputy Chief of the Office of the President for Analysis and Innovation, Mexico

  • Mr. Sugath Yalegama, Director General of the Sustainable Development Council, Sri Lanka

  • Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary of ESCAP

  • Ms. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs at The New School, and Member of the Committee for Development Policy

  • Ms. Shannon Kindornay, Director of Research, Policy and Practice at the Canadian Council for International Co-operation

  • Ms. Judy Njino, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Kenya, and Chair of UN Global Compact Africa Region Network Council

  • Mr. Chris Derksen-Hiebert, global Senior Director on Advocacy, Policy and External Relations, World Vision (MGoS)

Interactive discussion with all participants

Biographies
H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King
Seventy-Fourth President of the Economic and Social Council
H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King

Seventy-Fourth President of the Economic and Social Council

Her Excellency Inga Rhonda King, who comes to diplomacy from the private sector, has lived and worked in several Caribbean countries, the United States of America, and China. She is a small business owner, business strategist, the author of three books, and a management accountant with more than two decades of professional experience. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and chemistry, is the immediate past chair of the Investment Promotions Agency of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Invest SVG), and a former Honorary Consul for Portugal to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Since becoming Permanent Representative in September 2013, Ambassador King has held several leadership roles which include:

  • Chair/Spokesperson of L69 (2016 - present), the largest reform group for the Security Council Reform of the United Nations.
  • Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council for the period 2017-2018.
  • Chair of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly of the 71st Session (2016 - 2017). At the time of her chairmanship, she was only the second woman to chair this committee in the history of the United Nations.
  • Immediate-past chair of the Island Women Open Network (IWON) (2014 - July 2018). The IWON is tasked with ensuring gender-mainstreaming in the renewable energy sector of Small Island Developing States by building capacity at the grassroots and community level. The IWON is a part of the SIDS DOCK Secretariat platform. SIDS Dock is a UN registered SIDS International Organization.

Mr. Abel Hibert
Deputy Chief of the Office of the President for Analysis and Innovation, Mexico
Mr. Abel Hibert

Deputy Chief of the Office of the President for Analysis and Innovation, Mexico

Doctor Hibert is an ecconomist from Mexico Autonomous Instituute of Technology (ITAM) and obtained master’s degree in applied economiscs at Monterrey Institute of Technology (Tec de Monterrey). He recieved his PhD from Graduate School of Business Adminsitration and Leadership (EGADE).

Currently, he serves as Deputy Chief of Staff of Innovation and Economic Analysis, at the Office of the Presiden of Mexico. Before, he has held a number of prominent positions in economic analysis suuch as economic consultant for CIEMEX-WEFA, Deputy Director for Analysis at Vector Casa de Bolsa and Chief economist for Pulsar International Group.

He served as Comissioner for the Federal Comission of Telecommunications of Mexico, as well as Economics and Development Director at the School of Government and Public Transformation (EGAP) from Tec de Monterrey.

Previously, he has served as President of the Nuevo León Economists Association for the periods of 2000 – 2002 and 2012 – 2013, and he is member of the Business Council for the newspapers El Norte and Reforma. He has also been editorialist for various national and local newspapers such as El Norte, Reforma, AM de León and El Financiero.

Mr. Achim Steiner
Administrator of UNDP
Mr. Achim Steiner

Administrator of UNDP

Achim Steiner became UNDP Administrator on 19 June 2017 and will serve for a term of four years. The United Nations General Assembly confirmed his nomination on 19 April 2017, following his nomination by Secretary-General António Guterres.

Mr. Steiner is also the Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, which unites 40 entities of the UN system that work to support sustainable development.

Over nearly three decades, Achim Steiner has been a global leader on sustainable development, climate resilience and international cooperation. He has worked tirelessly to champion sustainability, economic growth and equality for the vulnerable, and has been a vocal advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Prior to joining UNDP, he was Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professorial Fellow of Balliol College, University of Oxford. Mr Steiner has served across the United Nations system, looking at global challenges from both a humanitarian and a development perspective. He led the United Nations Environment Programme (2006-2016), helping governments invest in clean technologies and renewable energy. He was also Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi. Achim Steiner previously held other notable positions including Director General of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and Secretary General of the World Commission on Dams.

Achim Steiner has lived and worked in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and the United States. He graduated in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (MA) from Worcester College, Oxford University and holds an MA from the University of London/School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Mr. Chris Derksen-Hiebert
Global Senior Director on Advocacy, Policy and External Relations, World Vision (MGoS)
Mr. Chris Derksen-Hiebert

Global Senior Director on Advocacy, Policy and External Relations, World Vision (MGoS)

Chris is World Vision's global Senior Director, Policy and External Engagement. In this role, he provides overall strategic leadership to World Vision’s global public policy development and its advocacy work in 3 “Global Capitals” (Geneva, New York and Brussels.) He also leads World Vision engagement with global fora such as the G7 and G20, various UN processes in NY and Geneva, and led World Vision advocacy during the Post 2015 process that became the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Chris has represented World Vision and various coalitions over the years in direct advocacy with senior policy makers in New York, Geneva, Washington, Ottawa and capitals in Asia, Africa and South America. He has also been a media spokesperson and commentator on numerous foreign policy issues, Summits and UN processes. He brings more than twenty-five years of advocacy experience and leadership in Canada and globally.

Mr. Sugath Yalegama
Director General of the Sustainable Development Council, Sri Lanka
Mr. Sugath Yalegama

Director General of the Sustainable Development Council, Sri Lanka

Dr Sugath Yalegama is a senior official of the government of Sri Lanka having over two decades of experience at various government ministries. He has been involved in the national level planning, capacity building and project management, and possesses a wealth of experience in managing the environment sector subjects such as air quality management and climate change. At present, he works as the Director General of Sri Lanka Sustainable Development Council chaired by the Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka that drives the Sustainable Development Agenda in Sri Lanka. He steered the Sri Lanka’s first Voluntary National Review submitted to HLPF in 2018, that was acclaimed highly for greater stakeholder consultation and engagement. Most of his time nowadays is devoted for the process of SDG mainstreaming in Sri Lanka

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana
Executive Secretary of ESCAP
Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

Executive Secretary of ESCAP

Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana was appointed Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) on 13 September 2018.

Prior to joining ESCAP, Ms. Alisjahbana was Professor of Economics at Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia, a position she assumed in 2005. She joined Universitas Padjadjaran as a lecturer in 1988. Since 2016, she has served as Director for the Center for Sustainable Development Goals Studies at Universitas Padjadjaran and Vice Chair of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences.

She also serves on the Governing Board of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), and member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (Akademi Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia - AIPI), the Forum of Statistics Community (Forum Masyarakat Statistik or Advisory Council of the Indonesian Statistics), the International Advisory Board of the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies and Council Member of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI).

From 2009 to 2014, she was Minister of National Development Planning and the Head of the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS), Indonesia. She served as Co-chair of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation from 2012 to 2014. From 2009 to 2014, she was Alternate Governor of the World Bank and Alternate Governor of the Asian Development Bank representing the government of Indonesia. In 2016, she was a member of the High Level Independent Team of Advisors to support the ECOSOC Dialogue on the longer term positioning of the United Nations Development System in the context of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Ms. Alisjahbana has been involved in various research projects and consultancies to the United Nations University/Institute for Advanced Study in Tokyo, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the European Commission, and the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Ms. Alisjahbana earned her Bachelor degree in Economics and Development Studies from Universitas Indonesia, Indonesia, a Master degree in Economics from Northwestern University, USA and a Ph.D. in Economics from University of Washington, USA. She was awarded the Mahaputra Adipradana Order (Bintang Mahaputra Adipradana) from the Republic of Indonesia, honorary brevet from the Indonesian Navy and honorary flight wing from the Indonesian Air Force.

Ms. Judy Njino
Executive Director, Global Compact Network Kenya & Chair, UN Global Compact Africa Region Network Council
Ms. Judy Njino

Executive Director, Global Compact Network Kenya & Chair, UN Global Compact Africa Region Network Council

Ms. Judy Njino Is the Executive Director and focal Point of the Global Compact Network Kenya since April 2013. The United Nations Global Compact is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative with more than 13,500 signatories from 160 countries that have committed to aligning strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anticorruption, and taking actions that advance societal goals. Global Compact Kenya is the largest Network of the UN Global Compact in Africa, Middle East and North Africa region.

As the Executive Director, Judy is responsible for providing the strategic direction of Global Compact-Kenya to entrench ethical and sustainable business practice in Kenya's Private Sector and broker partnerships to advance the sustainable development agenda. Currently, she oversees a network membership base of 151 business and non-business signatories to the UN Global Compact in Kenya and 700 other to the Code of Ethics For Business In Kenya which includes leading multi-national, national, small and medium sized enterprises.

In her role supporting Kenyan signatory companies to live up to their commitments, Judy has successfully designed and executed capacity building programs and initiatives that has seen companies mainstream the UN Global Compact principles in business strategies and operations and make annual public disclosures to their stakeholders on the implementation of the principles. Under her leadership, she has positioned Global Compact- Kenya as a leading platform in Kenya that mobilizes business support to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.

Judy is also responsible for building and managing the network's partnerships with a wide range of strategic stakeholders from Government, business sector, U.N agencies and the donor community.

Prior to her current position, Judy managed the Responsible Business programme at Ufadhili Trust; a Kenyan Non Profit Organization that works to promote Social Responsibility in East Africa. Judy has also worked with various development agencies such as Samaritan's Purse International relief in designing and implementing community water and sanitation projects across the country.

Judy has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology and Community Development from Daystar University in Kenya and has pursued a Masters Degree in Project Planning and Management at the University of Nairobi. She is also a national expert on ISO 26000 –Standard on Social Responsibility.


Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter
Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter

Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter is parliamentary state secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety since 2013. Until 2005, the graduate business economist was active in the areas of marketing, consulting and communication. She first became a member of the German Bundestag in 2005, where she headed the Sustainable Mobility working group in the SPD party executive from 2008 to 2009. Since 2014, she is the chairwoman of the board of trustees of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) as well as chairwoman of the supervisory board of the Society for Plant and Reactor Safety (GRS).

Ms. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr
Professor of International Affairs at The New School, and Member of the UN Committee for Development Policy
Ms. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

Professor of International Affairs at The New School, and Member of the UN Committee for Development Policy

Sakiko Fukuda-Parr is the Director of the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs and Professor of International Affairs at The New School. Her teaching and research have focused on human rights and development, global health, and global goal setting and governance by indicators. From 1995 to 2004, she was lead author and director of the UNDP Human Development Reports. Her recent publications include: Millennium Development Goals: Ideas, Interests and Influence (Routledge 2017); Fulfilling Social and Economic Rights (with T. Lawson-Remer and S. Randolph, Oxford 2015), winner of the American Political Science Association’s 2016 Best Book in Human Rights Scholarship and the 2019 Grawemeyer Prize for Ideas to Improve the World Order.

Fukuda-Parr contributes actively to international policy and research processes. Most recent appointments include the UN Committee on Development Policy as Vice Chair, the Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Access to Medicines and Innovation, and Boards of Knowledge Ecology International and International Association for Feminist Economics. She directs the Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health at the University of Oslo, and also serves as Distinguished Fellow at the JICA Research Institute, Tokyo.

Ms. Shannon Kindornay
Researcher of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) (independent assessment of VNR reports)
Ms. Shannon Kindornay

Researcher of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) (independent assessment of VNR reports)

Shannon Kindornay is an Adjunct Research Professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. Her research focuses on development cooperation, global governance, the global sustainable development agenda and aid and the private sector. Prior to joining Carleton University, Ms. Kindornay was a researcher at the North-South Institute for nearly five years where she produced numerous reports, peer reviewed publications and commentaries on a range of policy issues, including multilateral development cooperation, Canada’s development cooperation program and the role of the private sector in development. Ms. Kindornay holds degrees from Carleton University and Wilfrid Laurier University.

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Mr. Luis Gerardo Gonzalez Morales, Chief, Web Development and Data Visualization Section, Statistics Division of UN DESA, on online SDG progress and VNR visualization platforms by UNDP and UN DESA
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