Voluntary national reviews (VNRs), are an important innovation as a United Nations process for follow up to the adoption of development agendas. Until 2015, the practice was to review implementation globally, primarily based on reports by the Secretary General.
Agenda 2030 introduced a new approach that is ‘country led’, and that ‘take(s) into account national realities’, recognizing that ‘country ownership’ is central to the implementation of the agenda.
Moreover, the approach is to be voluntary, transparent and participatory as well as based on robust evidence. The process is intended to facilitate learning from national experiences and to promote accountability to citizens. The VNRs are central to this new approach.
Presented at the annual High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in the Ministerial segment, they provide an opportunity for countries to share their experiences in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Member States have shown great interest in the VNR process. 22 countries, including Uganda, presented VNRs in the first year (2016) of implementation. Many more have since presented in subsequent years.
The process has also generated interest on the part of stakeholders. While some are contributing to the preparation of VNRs while others are commenting on the reports. A growing debate has emerged on this new process and on ways to improve its effectiveness.