As the implementation process of the Sustainable Development Goals has started since their adoption in September 2015, this Issue Brief compares and takes stock of the voluntary national reviews (VNRs) submitted by 22 countries to the High Level Political Forum in July 2016. Amid key issues analysed are: what political support has been given to SDGs? What coherence and alignment of national strategies with regard to SDGs? How have civil society and citizens been involved in the process?


  • In many countries, the SDGs receive high-level political support, up to the level of the Prime Minister, and there are real efforts to ensure coherent SDG implementation between the different ministries: Norway is a very good example of this.
  • Although the countries often mention in their reports the importance of involving the local authorities and national parliaments—especially via the budget vote—they say little about the modalities of this involvement, or about that of citizens. Like Germany and Mexico, the countries can give a prominent role to associations, unions and companies in SDG monitoring and public decision-making. They also rely on the involvement of these actors “in the field”, as actors of change.
  • The countries have as yet made little headway in the use of SDG indicators and targets to assess the progress to be made, to define public action priorities or to monitor progress made over time. Gap analyses are generally limited to inventories of sectoral policies and/or indicators, without any forward thinking about the baseline scenario or the pathway for change.
  • The implementation of the 2030 Agenda is just beginning, and it is still too early to take stock of the results of the first efforts made by the countries. However, the analysis provided in this Issue Brief enables us to explore the most promising institutional mechanisms and is therefore in line with the goal of mutual learning between countries underlying the SDGs.
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