Remarks by Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, on the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development First session on the 2021 presentations of the Voluntary National Reviews.
It is my pleasure to join you as the presentations of the 2021 Voluntary National Reviews begin.
The VNRs have become a centerpiece of the HLPF.
With 177 countries having presented at least one VNR to date, they are a testament to the enduring commitment of national governments to implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve our global goals.
This year, 42 countries will be presenting their VNRs. I commend each of you for doing so.
These reviews speak to the social and economic devastation wrought by the pandemic.
They take a hard look at efforts to implement the SDGs, alongside, or as part of, efforts to overcome the pandemic and address its impacts.
They show the diversity or measures taken to ensure social protection, health care, vaccination, economic recovery, food security, education, mental health, inclusion or employment.
And they highlight the need for debt relief, disaster resilience, digitalization, and systems approaches to overcome multiple challenges.
The experiences presented by the 42 countries will allow the HLPF to discuss the kind of recovery plans or strategies that can get countries on track to achieve the SDGs.
This may include integrating the goals into national policy frameworks, budgets, stimulus packages, investments or evolving from emergency social protection measures towards inclusive social protection systems.
But the VNRs are not simply a report or a presentation at the HLPF.
They are a national process of in-depth review and consultation on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
We have seen countries use the preparations of their VNR to strengthen their institutions or policies to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.
Some have consulted stakeholders and groups that were not previously engaged on national policies.
Others have made new commitments or launched innovative initiatives to track their progress on the SDGs or to increase transparency on their use of public resources.
The VNRs also often strengthen cooperation between ministries and statistical offices.
Many countries have also become more ambitious and rigorous about their VNRs.
This year, some VNRs reflect independent analysis by specific institutions or stakeholders.
A few VNRs build on voluntary local reviews.
I commend the more than 100 UN country teams have already supported host countries in preparing VNRs, working in tandem with the VNRs convened by DESA each year.
I would also like to commend the work of regional economic and social commissions for their support to VNRs.
Ultimately, VNRs create space for governments and their partners to identify what is needed to keep the promise of the SDGs.
The General Assembly, in its recent resolution on the HLPF, encourages countries to identify next steps and forward-looking accelerated actions in their VNRs.
It is encouraging to see that this is already the case in a number of this year's VNRs.
The SDG Moment that the Secretary-General will convene in September will provide a further opportunity in this direction.
In the coming weeks, we will work closely with delegations in New York to identify Heads of State and Government from VNR presenting countries that are eager to further elaborate on their plans, needs and priorities for the remainder of the Decade of Action.
UN Country Teams, under the leadership of Resident Coordinators, stand ready to support countries in this regard. As the General Assembly reviews the capacities and funding for the RC system in the coming weeks, we have an opportunity to ensure that we increase the share of assessed funding for the RC system and step up our support to sustainable development in this Decade of Action. This is an opportunity we simply cannot miss.
I look forward to your discussions this year, as you continue to enrich this Forum with your contributions, experiences, ideas and dialogues.