In July 2020, Uganda prepared her second Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report and presented it to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development.  Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are aimed at facilitating sharing of experiences, successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. VNRs also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for SDG implementation.

Uganda will be starting the process to develop the 3rd Voluntary National Review in 2024. The 3rd VNR will be presented at the HLPF of 2024 in New York. Uganda recently participated in the HLPF in 2022 and 2023.


Roll Out Of Voluntary Local Reviews

Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) complement the VNR process that governments use to report national-level progress on the SDGs. The VLR process can serve as a way for local governments to engage citizens in the SDG review process, which contributes to strengthening accountability and increases inclusive governance. To incorporate the sub-national perspectives into the SDGs, follow up and review process, the UN launched a VLR lab process to share lessons learned from local governments to engage citizens in the SDG review process. In 2020, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) piloted the VLR process in four selected countries, including Uganda where it was carried out in Ngora district.

Results from the Ngora VLR indicate that Ngora District has integrated the 2030 SDG Agenda and aspirations of Agenda 2063 in the district development processes, feasibility studies and budgets. Building on this VLR experience, the district has committed to pay more attention to the SDGs and allocating more resources to the goals where performance is lagging. With Government of Uganda financing and support from UNDP, the Office of the Prime Minister through the SDG Secretariat has also conducted VLRs in other districts including Mayuge, Mukono, Kole, Lira, Mbale, Tororo, Gulu, Mubende, Mbarara, Nebbi, Bugiri, Sheema, Kitagwenda, Kyotera, Sironko, Kabale and Rubirizi, the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) Districts that included Yumbe, Adjumani, Amuru, Omoro, Otuke, Kabelebyong, Amudat.


The contributions of local and regional governments to SDG implementation have been highlighted in numerous VNRs with countries reporting on local and regional level plans and programming efforts, subnational coordination structures, partnerships, contributions to data collection and other activities. In particular, Uganda highlighted the voluntary local review efforts that were piloted in Ngora district. A review of the voluntary national reviews presented at the 2020 HLPF showed that countries are translating development objectives of the SDGs and national development plans (NDPs) to the provincial and local levels. For instance, Uganda is in the process of rolling out SDG Localization guidelines which will guide in reflecting the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs by all stakeholders including both central and local governments. Whereas there have been efforts registered in integrating SDGs in government work plans, less has been done in monitoring the progress of SDGs implementation at local government level.

UNECA has been coordinating voluntary local reviews in the region and Uganda is among the first four (Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe & Cameroon) countries in Africa to pilot the Voluntary local review approach. In Uganda, this was piloted in Ngora district Local Government Eastern region and findings of this process were incorporated in the Uganda’s second voluntary national review of 2020. The SDG Secretariat at the Office of the Prime Minister has gone ahead to scale up the VLR approach in other Local Governments including Sheema, Bugiri, Nebbi, Kyotera, Sironko, Kitagwenda and DINU Districts in northern Uganda.

This is part of the local and people actions to deliver of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The United Nations Economic Commission developed regional Voluntary Local Review Guidelines. The guidelines were customized to fit the region’s context and will facilitate local mechanisms and local Governments in monitoring and reporting on SDGs.

Being one of the VLR pilot Countries, the Government of Uganda adopted the VLR guidelines and scale up them across the entire district Local Governments. In order to achieve this, the Office of the Prime Minister through the SDG Secretariat with financial and technical support from UNECA organized a Training of Trainers workshop on the VLR Regional guidelines.