Fraser Reilly-King, Research and Policy Manager, Canadian Council for International Co-operation

According to CCIC, Forus Canadian member, 2019 will be an important year for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as governments meet twice to review progress on their implementation, first in July at the High-level Political Forum at the Ministerial level, and second in September as Heads of State. The latter will be the first of such meetings since the adoption of the SDGs four years prior, and will review how well both implementation and the process itself is going to date.

2019 will also mark the third time a broad network – Forus among them – of civil society organizations will have released “Progressing national SDGs Implementation” – an independent assessment of all the voluntary national reviews (VNRs) that states present before the HLPF each year (46 in 2018). 

The review assesses countries against ten key pillars of implementation, including governance and institutional mechanisms, leaving no one behind, stakeholder engagement and partnerships to realise the SDGs, among other things. It also identifies best practices and case studies of where states are moving in positive directions around different elements of SDG implementation – providing inspiration for what different civil society organizations can demand of their own governments. Finally, the report provides recommendations for improving implementation and the VNR process and reporting, as well as strengthening accountability around the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 

The 2018 Report revealed that the majority of countries reporting in 2017 appear to have established foundational elements for implementation. However, implementation remains patchy, with no single state making good progress on all ten pillars assessed. Furthermore, the level of engagement by governments on the ten different pillars is not uniform either within or across countries. Greater efforts are needed to ensure a high-level of implementation across all pillars of implementation within countries and by all countries to meet the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda and realise the SDGs. 

Building on last year’s report, the 2019 report will deepen some of the analysis in the ten pillars, in particular with respect to elements related to leaving no one behind, the extent to which states are meeting their environmental obligations, and how states are budgeting around the SDGs. 

Given the importance of discussions around HLPF reform in 2019, the report will also feature a summary of the key recommendations coming out of surveys that Action for Sustainable Development and Forus have done and Together 2030.

And to ensure it is accessible to a broad array of individuals and organizations, Executive Summaries of the full English report will be made available in French, Spanish and Arabic. 

Forus members will receive a copy of the report in the New Year, along with a short cover letter with key messages which we will be encouraging you to send to your national contact points on the VNRs – giving you a chance to engage on these key issues ahead of the HLPF and heads of state summit.

The report was very well received (and used) by governments, civil society, academia and the UN in 2018. Help us make it as successful in 2019.