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Leaving No One Behind: How to make SDG Implementation & Review More Inclusive? - Plenary Session, Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development 2019
2 May 2019 -  The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 was a watershed in global efforts at ending poverty, hunger, inequalities and addressing other challenges confronting humanity including climate change. The SDGs emerged from an intensive process of multi-stakeholder engagement, consultations and negotiations at local, national, regional and global levels.

Following from the above processes, a key commitment of the 2030 Agenda is that all countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. Member States further committed to engage in a systematic follow-up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda (para. 72). As stipulated in the principles guiding the follow-up and review processes at all levels, these are to be voluntary and country-led (para. 74).

The Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) presented at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development each year in July aim to document and share national experiences, best practices, lessons learned and challenges in the implementation of the SDGs. In line with the history of consultation that birthed the SDGs and in the spirit of leaving no one behind, the Agenda 2030 also provided that the review processes “be open, inclusive, participatory and transparent for all people and will support the reporting by all relevant stakeholders” (para 74(d)).

Over the last three years, the VNR process has mobilized multi-stakeholder support and incentivized partnerships. Good practices for inclusive VNR processes and for implementing the 2030 Agenda through a whole-of-society approach are emerging from countries. There have, however, been demands to strengthen meaningful and regular engagement of civil society and other constituencies such as parliamentarians, local authorities, youth, faith communities and the private sector in the VNR process. This session will provide an opportunity to review some of these experiences and propose ideas for ways to strengthen multi-stakeholder involvement in the VNR process and the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda, going beyond ad hoc measures.

The following key questions will be explored:
- How can we go beyond one-off multi-stakeholder consultations in the VNR process to develop mechanism for more systematic and regular stakeholder engagement in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its follow up and review, particularly in fragile country contexts?
- How can we meaningfully engage groups traditionally left behind in follow-up and review processes (avoiding tokenistic participation)?
- How can we better incorporate citizen generated data in the VNR process?
- How do stakeholders report on their contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda?

- Share best practices in multi-stakeholder engagement in Voluntary National Review processes and showcase how meaningful engagement in the VNR process can mobilize, inspire and connect stakeholders for further SDG action.
- Showcase and review impact of MY World survey and other forms of citizens’ generated data in national review processes
- Discuss how the VNR process can be a means to ensuring the implementation of the ‘Leave No One Behind’ principles underpinning the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The session will feature an expert discussion with a moderator. Discussants will be discussing the key questions, offering their different experiences and perspectives. Discussants will include high-level government officials charged with the SDG implementation process and follow up and review at national level and representatives of civil society and academia with insights on multi-stakeholder engagement in the VNR process and implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Live polling or show of hands on specific questions will be integrated to increase the interactivity of the session.

It is expected that participants will be drawn from representatives of Member States, policy makers, civil society and other stakeholders.
Session hosts:

UN SDG Action Campaign