Around 70 delegates from 37 countries were in Bonn to attend the Second Global Workshop for countries conducting a Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the July 2019 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The workshop took place at the UN Bonn’s Langer Eugen building from 19th-20th February. Jointly organised by the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development at UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development. It was the second preparatory workshop in a series of three. The workshop served as a crucial platform for member states to exchange experiences from their ongoing VNR preparation processes and, in turn, learn from each other. Made possible through the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the workshop is being chaired by the President of ECOSOC, Her Excellency Ms. Inga Rhonda King.

Recognising the role of VNRs as instrumental for the review and follow-up process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 51 member states volunteered to present their VNRs at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York in July 2019. National delegates from over 37 countries are currently attending the workshop in Bonn, alongside observers from four UN Regional Commissions, other UN entities, and the European Commission.

Platforms such as the one provided by this workshop are key towards reviewing the current state of implementation of the 2030 Agenda at national level, as well as strengthening the review and follow-up framework of the agenda. By ensuring more rigorous, evidence-based and inclusive VNRs being presented at the HLPF, the workshop aims to maximize the usefulness of the VNRs and the HLPF for all countries. The workshop began with member states engaging in a lively discussion about where they stand in their preparation of the VNRs, their areas of greatest progress as well as the challenges they have faced so far. Sessions chaired by different member states throughout the day, focused on topics such as ensuring ownership of the VNRs and ensuring engagement by governments and public institutions, discussing the scope and content of the VNR reports, leveraging data for the national implementation of the SDGs and the VNRs, among others. Day two of the workshop focused on discussion sessions built around engaging non-state actors in the VNRs process, as well as leveraging VNRs in mobilizing resources for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Member state delegates also received inputs on how the VNRs will be presented and discussed at the HLPF in July. The workshop closed with member state delegates discussing next steps in their VNR preparation process.

Besides informing the continuous improvement of the follow-up and review process at the global level, general lessons learned from the various exchanges among countries at the two-day workshop also contributed to preparing the review of the resolutions on the HLPF by the General Assembly at its 74th session, which will provide an opportunity to improve the VNR process.