The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at global level.  As part of its follow-up and review mechanisms, the 2030 Agenda encourages member states to “conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels, which are country-led and country-driven” (paragraph 79). These national reviews are expected to serve as a basis for the regular reviews by the HLPF. As stipulated in paragraph 84 of the 2030 Agenda, regular reviews by the HLPF are to be voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and shall provide a platform for partnerships, including through the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders. The Forum meets annually under the auspices of ECOSOC for eight days, including a three-day ministerial segment and every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the General Assembly (GA) for two days where it adopts intergovernmental negotiated political declarations.

Voluntary National Reviews Database

As part of its follow-up and review mechanisms, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages member states to “conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels, which are country-led and country-driven” (paragraph 79). These national reviews are expected to serve as a basis for the regular reviews by the high-level political forum (HLPF), meeting under the auspices of ECOSOC. As stipulated in paragraph 84 of the 2030 Agenda, regular reviews by the HLPF are to be voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and involve multiple stakeholders.

The voluntary national reviews (VNRs) aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The VNRs also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilise multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. This online review platform is dedicated to compiling information from countries participating in the voluntary national reviews of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Voluntary national reviews (VNRs), are an important innovation as a United Nations process for follow up to the adoption of development agendas. The paper analyses how countries addressed three key cross-cutting issues of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the VNRs submitted in 2017: leaving no one behind; addressing trade-offs through policy integration; and pursuing global partnership as means of implementation. While the VNRs contain already many interesting examples as basis for mutual learning and sharing of, the paper also identifies a need for more attention to these issues and more explicit discussions on strategies for their implementation.

Australia and the HLPF

The 2030 Agenda is both a domestic and international agenda and is well-aligned with Australia’s foreign, security, development and trade interests – especially in promoting regional stability, security and economic prosperity. It also helps Australia in advocating for a strong focus on economic growth and development in the Indo-Pacific region and in promoting gender equality, governance and strengthening tax systems. Australia delivered its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) on the 2030 Agenda at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2018.

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