Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are the main process through which countries assess and present their progress towards implementing the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and achieve the SDGs.
After another challenging year of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic the VNR provides member states an important opportunity to take stock of national SDG progress and design a comprehensive road map to get back on track to reach the 2030 Agenda.
The UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Didier Trebucq, has praised the efforts of UN Sub-regional Team to support Grenada and Dominica conduct and present their VNRs for the first time.
“We are pleased to have supported the Governments of Grenada and Dominica in conducting Voluntary National Reviews of their SDG progress. This process allows them to document challenges in confronting issues of high debt, small open markets, and climate change among other factors that characterize their vulnerabilities as SIDS and can serve concretely to derail SDG progress.”
“These two Eastern Caribbean countries will be among 45 countries expected to report this year, while Barbados is expected to present its second report in 2023,” he explained.
The Resident Coordinator explained some of the knock-on effects the pandemic has already had on SDG progress.
“As the world continues to navigate multiple global crises - COVID-19, climate change – due to existing vulnerabilities and gaps, including limited access to development financing, years of development progress in the region has been halted. As a result, the very viability of achieving the SDGs by 2030 is at risk.”
In Grenada, Dominica, and other countries across the Eastern Caribbean, UN Country Teams have collaborated with key national stakeholders, including Foreign Affairs Ministries, to provide support and guidance on drafting the VNR reports. This included setting up national consultations, VNR Committees and specialist support to support the data and analytics.
The VNR from the small island nation of Dominica is expected to reflect on progress the country has made in pursuing an equal, inclusive and gender-sensitive development strategy.
Since gaining independence in 1978, Dominica has prioritized women’s empowerment in its national development strategy: a process led by Dame Eugenia Charles, the first female Prime Minister of Dominica and the Caribbean. 44 years since independence, the Voluntary National Review will enable Dominica to take stock of its current development progress and journey towards the global goals.
Neighbouring Grenada is also preparing to present its Voluntary National Review to the forum for the first time. This national review comes at a critical point in Grenada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and its efforts to ensure no one is left behind in this process.
The VNR is expected to demonstrate that despite the specific challenges and vulnerabilities Grenada has faced as a Small Island Developing nation, progress has been made in implementing the Global Goals during this past year.
For these Caribbean nations, as well as other countries presenting their Voluntary National Reviews for the first time, this year’s HLPF marks a key opportunity to not only reflect on current development progress, but also to plan ahead for more ambitious action in the coming years.
The Resident Coordinator also emphasized how important this moment was in renewing and reaffirming the Caribbean regions’ commitment towards the global goals.
“I look forward to working with other Caribbean nations to support countries in fulfilling their VNR obligations, in alignment with national priorities, while accelerating progress towards the global goals.”
This is an adapted version of a story originally written by Carol A. Gaskin, Programme Communications and Advocacy Officer in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, with the collaboration of Marlon Marie, Country Coordination Officer for Dominica, and the Government of Grenada. Edited by the UN Development Coordination Office.
For more information about the United Nations' work in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean (MCO), please visit: EasternCaribbean.UN.org
To learn how the strengthened UN Resident Coordinator system is advancing climate action and other areas of the 2030 Agenda, please visit the 2022 UNSDG Chair Report on DCO.