"The VNRs: In 2015, the Member States of the United Nations announced their commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which include 17 Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”) and 169 targets. The Member States vowed not only to act on these critical issues but also to engage in voluntary, transparent, and rigorous follow-ups and reviews. The results are published through the Voluntary National Reviews (“VNRs”). The VNRs use a set of global targets and indicators to evaluate the progress and challenges of implementing the SDGs by each Member State.

SDG 16 – Promotion of Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies: SDG 16 calls to “[p]romote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” In order to ensure effective reporting and understand how SDG 16 is interlinked with other SDGs, the Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies (the “Global Alliance”) was established. White & Case LLP, as member of the Alliance, examined each the VNRs from 2016-2019 to assess whether, and to what extent member states reported on SDG 16 and 24 related targets.

Review Criteria: In a process similar to that performed by White & Case for the 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 VNR report cycles, White & Case reviewed the 45 VNRs submitted and publicly published in 2020 and analyzed (i) whether the countries reported on the SDG 16+ Targets; (ii) the extent of the reporting on these targets; (iii) whether the report indicated that it was a product of an inclusive, participatory process; (iv) whether the report noted that the private sector was involved in implementation and reporting, and (v) whether sources of data were provided. For member states who submitted prior VNRs, White & Case compared the member states’ SDG16+ reporting in 2020 to its prior submission(s).

This year, the White & Case review also assessed whether the VNR: contained a specific section or chapter on SDG16; relied on Human Rights reports or engaged Human Rights institutions or data; discussed COVID-19’s impact on SDG16 reporting or implementation; mentioned negative trends or challenges in implementing or collecting SDG16 data; and provided next steps post-VNR submissions with respect to SDG16 and the 2030 Agenda."

You can find White & Case's analysis below, as well as the reporting of the results as compared with the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 VNRs.