Voluntary National Review of UK progress against the Sustainable Development Goals inquiry

21 March 2019

The Environmental Audit Committee holds a one-off evidence session later this Spring to consider the domestic aspects of the UK’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Voluntary National Reviews are a process by which countries can audit their progress against the SDGs. They are intended to be participatory and inclusive, however, the Committee’s 2019 report raised concerns that the Government had not provided sufficient time and resources to ensure that effective engagement could be undertaken with stakeholders, and that there were insufficient opportunities for Parliamentary scrutiny of the Government’s submission.

It also highlighted the tight timescale for the review to be conducted, with the UK’s submission of its ‘main messages’ to the UN High Level Political Forum, which will take place in July, due to be submitted on 17 May.

In March, the Government published its Emerging Findings from the VNR, alongside details of sector-specific engagement events to be conducted during March, and an online survey seeking feedback on the emerging findings document. Find the online survey here.

With two months remaining for the review to be completed, the Committee is keen to explore how successful the process has been so far and is inviting written evidence from stakeholders.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said:

“VNRs are an important opportunity for a country to take stock of its progress against the UN’s SDGs. However, as we warned in our previous report, despite them supposedly being inclusive in nature, key stakeholders have not had enough opportunity to have their say.

“It is important that we hear from these groups as we conduct our short inquiry into the domestic aspects of the review. We will be publishing our scrutiny before the VNR concludes in two months’ time.”

Please note the date of the one-off evidence session will be confirmed in due course.

Terms of reference

The Committee is inviting written submissions ahead of the evidence session. These should be submitted via the Committee website by 5pm on Monday 15 April.

Submissions should focus on some or all of the following:

  • How effective has the Government been at engaging stakeholders in the voluntary national review process, in particular people in vulnerable groups;
  • To what extent has the Government followed the UN’s guidance on Voluntary National Reviews in conducting its own process;
  • How well does the Government’s Emerging Findings document reflect the progress that the UK has made domestically on implementing the SDGs;
  • To what extend does the Government’s Emerging Findings document build on and develop further existing published analysis of the UK’s performance in implementing the SDGs domestically.
  • What further information or analysis the Government should look to include in its final submission to the UN High Level Political Forum.

Further information

Image: MariaGershuni/[Public domain]/wikimediacommons

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