By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Jan. 17: Nepal is gearing up for the third ‘Voluntary National Review (VNR)’ report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a plan to complete it by the end of the current Fiscal Year 2023/24 (mid-July 2024) and submit it to the meeting of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) of the United Nations.
Earlier, Nepal had conducted the review of the Agenda 2030 in 2017 and 2020. The SDGs are in implementation since 2015 with a deadline of 2030 to achieve 17 goals and 248 indicators in social, economic and development sectors.
The National Planning Commission (NPC) has begun consultations with the stakeholders and experts to prepare the new VNR report. It held a review workshop in Kathmandu on Tuesday to solicit suggestions on the progress and status of the SDGs implementation as well as the future course that the country should adopt for the effective execution of the goals.
Speaking at the workshop, Vice-Chairman of the NPC, Dr. Minn Bahadur Shrestha, said that the workshop was organised to review the works and results of Nepal in achieving sustainable development goals, good practices of other countries, coordination and cooperation with various agencies and stakeholders, and to receive suggestions.
According to a statement issued by the NPC, Dr. Shrestha said that Nepal was fully committed to achieving the sustainable development goals and all the three levels of the government, federal, provincial and local, are playing an effective role to achieve the set goals.
“SDGs have been localised. The periodical plan, medium-term expenditure structure and annual policy and programmes and budget have covered issues related to the SDGs with priority. Monitoring and evaluation of plans and programmes related to the achievement of those goals have been done in an effective manner,” he said.
The upcoming 16th Periodic Plan, which is being prepared and come into effect from the next FY 2024/25, is also being drafted along with an action plan with the goal of facilitating the country in upgrading from the Least Developed Country (LDC) and achieving SDGs by the year 2030. The Sustainable Development Implementation and Monitoring Committee under the coordination of the Vice-Chairman of the NPC is working to prepare the third VNR on sustainable development.
The NPC’s Financial Management Division is working as a secretariat for the VNR.
Likewise, speaking at the workshop, Hanna Singer-Hamdy, UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal, appreciated Nepal’s performance in achieving the SDGs, and said that efforts should be made for more progressive results.
“Nepal’s progress in achieving the SDGs is commendable and is better compared to some other countries around the globe. However, in order to achieve the goals within the specified time, it is necessary to make more efforts together with all parties and sectors,” she said.
According to her, Nepal should be more responsible for the SDGs and upgrading to the ‘developing country’ status since it is the current chair of the groups of LDCs.
Nepal has prepared and implemented the ‘Sustainable Development Goals for Nepal 2016-30 Roadmap’ following the announcement of the SDGs in 2015 by the UN. The country has reviewed the achievements of the SDGs in 2022 and determined the current situation and future roadmap for the goals.
The country has also developed SDGs Needs Assessment, Costing and Financing Strategy, and SDGs Localisation Guidelines that spell out baselines, targets and implementation and financing strategies for each SDG.
According to the NPC, Nepal has so far achieved about 43 per cent progress in achieving sustainable development goals in the seven and half years since the SDGs were put into implementation.
The 2020 VNR of Nepal has maintained that the SDGs have been well-integrated into Nepal’s national development frameworks. It stated that the assessment of the SDGs implementation over the last four years (2015-2019) exhibits some encouraging results.
The workshop was attended by representatives of all relevant ministries, Nepal Rastra Bank, Policy and Planning Commission of all provinces, National Association of Rural Municipalities of Nepal, Municipality Association of Nepal, private sector bodies, governmental and non-governmental organisations, cooperative sector, and other concerned bodies.
According to the UN, the VNRs aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes challenges and lesson learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. They also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and mobilise multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the SDGs.