Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the Transparency, Accountability and Participation Network for the 2030 Agenda (TAP Network) undertakes a comparative analysis reporting on progress for delivery of SDG 16 in Voluntary National Reviews, reflecting on inclusive accountability measures and providing recommendations for the way forward.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in September 2015, aims to initiate a fundamental transformation towards achieving sustainable development by 2030. The transformation will require effective, transparent, accountable and participatory governance and peaceful societies as laid out in SDG 16. This goal has a fundamental role to play in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a whole, and has been recognised as both an outcome and an enabler of sustainable development. In 2019, there was a special focus on the transformative potential of SDG 16, due to the review of SDG 16 by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
While governments have a leading role to play, the achievement of SDG 16 depends on a ‘whole of society’ approach. To this end, the report evaluates VNR and spotlight reports submitted to the HLPF 2019 for a selected group of countries. In view of the 2030 Agenda’s core principles to enhance participatory, inclusive and multi-stakeholder approaches, the analysis looks at whether spotlight and VNR reports relate to one another, and if so how. It identifies the main commonalities and differences between the perspectives of governments and civil society.
The assessment of the reporting on SDG 16 in spotlight and VNR reports indicates that a wide spectrum of approaches has been adopted in the areas analysed; i) key features – SDG 16 reporting, ii) mainstreaming of SDG 16, iii) stakeholder engagement, iv) statistics and data and v) follow-up and iv) next steps. While spotlight and VNR reports both cover a wide range of information, reporting structures differ significantly. Moreover, there was little overlap in terms of the specific content reported in the countries considered. The difference in structures makes it difficult to compare reports. Although many guidelines have been drawn up for both VNR and spotlight reports, greater harmonisation and/or integrated reporting approaches would make it easier to assess progress from the perspectives of governments and civil society respectively.
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