2021 Voluntary National Reviews Synthesis Report
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts have affected all countries in the world. In 2021, as the effects continue to reverberate across multiple sectors and are compounded by other complex threats, 42 governments recognized that this year was a crucial time to conduct a Voluntary National Review (VNR), in order to align their efforts toward a resilient recovery from the pandemic and to overcome setbacks to sustainable development. This sixth edition of the VNR Synthesis Report delivers an overview of the innovative approaches and actions taken by the 42 VNR countries that presented their progress and findings during the 2021 HLPF, which was held in a hybrid format from 6 to 15 July under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). As in previous years, the synthesis report draws examples from the VNRs and defines some of the key elements that have advanced implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including institutional arrangements and coordination mechanisms, the principle of leaving no one behind and its application in national contexts, monitoring and data, stakeholder engagement and awareness raising, as well as the means of implementation. The report includes an analysis of countries in special situations that conducted a VNR this year, and outlines effective policies and actions that have advanced progress toward each of the 17 SDGs. It also features a new section on measures taken in response to the COVID19 pandemic. The VNRs continue to evolve, as most countries are now reporting for the second or third time. The emergence of new and interesting best practices, lessons learned, gaps and challenges encountered in working towards the achievement of the SDGs are being analyzed in a deeper context, as well as for their effectiveness in advancing progress toward the SDGs while also guiding a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The synthesis report is not exhaustive; all examples chosen are illustrative, and their selection does not imply that the collection of 2021 VNRs do not also contain other equally valid and useful examples of country practices.