The Sustainable Development Goals. Figure taken from flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/anakbrunei/21507274839

The Sustainable Development Goals. Figure taken from flickr

Per chi non ama leggere articoli troppo lunghi o trova difficoltà con l’inglese, vi suggeriamo di dare un’occhiata al sito ufficiale della campagna Global Goals for Sustainable Development, promossa da Richard Curtis, filmaker e fondatore di Comic Relief.

Otherwise, with this sixth part on our insight dedicated to the Agenda for Sustainable Development, we will focus on articles going from 72 to 91 of the Agenda, composing the fifth chapter of the document and dealing with “Follow up and Review”.

In particular, article 72-77 deal with the introduction to the chapter, underlining the most important principles and dispositions for action.

Article 72 highlights that the follow-up will be “robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated“.

Article 73 indicates how the Agenda will “support international cooperation in achieving this Agenda and foster exchanges of best practices and mutual learning“, recognizing the importance of “mutual trust and understanding among all nations“.

Article 74 describes nine principles guiding the follow up and review of the Agenda goals and targets, which are the following. Follow-up and review processes will be:

  • voluntary and country-led, will take into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and will respect policy space and priorities“. The national level processes will then be the foundation for reviews at the regional and global levels;
  • based on a tracking system for the implementation of the Goals and targets “in a manner which respects their universal, integrated and interrelated nature and the three dimensions of sustainable development“;
  • they will […] identify achievements, challenges and gaps and critical success factors and support countries in making informed policy choices“;
  • they will be open, inclusive, participatory and transparent […]
  • they will be people-centred, gender-sensitive, respect human rights and have a particular focus on the poorest. most vulnerable and those furthest behind“;
  • they will build on existing platforms and processes […] avoid duplication and respond to national circumstances, capacities, needs and priorities. They will evolve over time, taking into account emerging issues and the development of new methodologies, and will minimize the reporting burden on national administrations“;
  • they will be rigorous and based on evidence, informed by country-led evaluations and data which is high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location […]
  • they will require enhanced capacity building support for developing countries, including the strenghtening of national data systems and evaluation programmes“;
  • they will benefit from the active support of the United Nations system and other multilateral solutions

Next articles further detail the follow-up and review processes based on the above indicated principles.

Article 75 is dedicated to the set of global indicators. They will be developed by an Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals and targets and agreed by the Statistical Commission by March 2016. They will complement indicators defined by Member States at regional and national level, together with the baseline data, in case these have not yet been defined.

Article 76 focuses on developing countries, stating that they will be supported “in strenghtening the capacity of national statistical offices and data systems to ensure access to high-quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data“. UN “will promote transparent and accountable scaling-up of appropriate public-private cooperation to exploit the contribution to be made by a wide range of data, including earth observation and geospatial information, while ensuring national ownership in supporting and tracking process“.

Article 77 points out that UN “will draw as far as possible on the existing network of follow-up and review institutions and mechanisms”. Follow-up and review will be based on national reports, regional dialogues and global reviews, that “will inform recommendations for follow-up at various level“.

Subsequent articles focus on the national level (78, 79), regional level (80, 81) and global level (82, 91).

As regards the national level, article 78 encourages Member States to take “ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of the Agenda” building “on existing planning instruments, such as national development and sustainable development strategies, as appropriate.” Article 79 underlines that the review process “should draw on contributions from indigenous people, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments as well other institutions can also support these processes.

As pertains the regional level, article 80 newly expresses the opportunity represented by peer learning, including voluntary reviews, sharing of best practices and discussion on shared targets. Moreover, “inclusive regional processes […] contribute to follow-up and review at global level, including at the high-level political forum on sustainable development“. Article 81 “encourage all Member States to identify the most suitable rgional forum  in which to engage“, encouraging the United Nations regional commissions to continue supporting Member States in this regard.

Article 82 describes the main characteristics of the high-level political forum, aiming to constitute “a network of follow up and review processes at the global level, working coherently with the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other relevant organs and forums, in accordance with existing mandates. It will facilitate sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, and provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for follow-up.

Article 83 deals with the annual progress report on the Sustainable Development Goals. It establishes that “follow-up and review at the high-level political forum will be informed by an annual progress report in the Sustainable Development Goals to be prepared by the Secretary-General in cooperation with the United Nations system, based on the global indicator framework and data produced by national statistical systems and information collected at the regional level. The high-level political forum will also be informed by the Global Sustainable Development Report, which shall strengthen the science-policy interface and could provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development. We invite the President of the Economic and Social Council to conduct a process of consultation on the scope, methodology and frequency of the global report, the outcome of which should be reflected in the ministerial declaration of the session of the high-level political forum in 2016.

Articles 84-86 focus on the reviews and follow-up.

In particular, article 84 focuses on the adoption of regular reviews, in line with the General Assembly resolution 67/290 of 8 July 2013. “Reviews will be voluntary, while encouraging reporting, and include developed and developing countries as well as relevant United Nations entities and other stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector. They should be State-led, involving ministerial and other relevant high-level participants. They shall provide a platform for partnership, including through the participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders.

Article 85 addresses the “thematic reviews of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, including cross-cutting issues […]“ that “will be supported by reviews by the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council and other intergovernmental bodies and forums which should reflect the integrated nature of the Goals as well as the interlinkages between them […]

Finally, article 86 concentrates on “the dedicated follow-up and review for the financing for development outcomes as well as the means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals which is integrated with the follow-up and review framework of this Agenda. The intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations of the annual Economic and Social Council forum on financing for development will be fed into the overall follow-up and review of the implementation of this Agenda in the high-level political forum.

Article 87 recognizes how the high-level political forum will be held once every four years, giving guidance in the Agenda and its implementation.

Article 88 observes “the importance of system-wide strategic planning, implementation and reporting”, while article 89 observes the support to “participation in follow-up and review processes by the major groups and other relevant stakeholders in line with resolution 67/290.

Article 90 put the basis for the first review and follow-up work. It requests “the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to prepare a report, for consideration at the seventieth session of the General Assembly in preparation for the 2016 meeting of the high-level political forum, which outlines critical milestones towards coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review at the global level. The report should include a proposal on the organizational arrangements for State-led reviews at the high level political forum under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, including recommendations on voluntary common reporting guidelines. It should clarify institutional responsibilities and provide guidance on annual themes, on a sequence of thematic reviews, and on options for periodic reviews for the high-level political forum.

Finally, article 91 concludes the Agenda, newly affirming the commitment of the Head of States and Governments and High Representatives to achieve the Agenda and using it “to the full to transform our world for the better by 2030.