Within the framework of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), which coordinates the follow-up and review process, countries have an opportunity to present the key results of their own national review processes (Voluntary National Reviews – VNRs) at the global level. In particular, this provides a platform for countries to discuss with other member countries and stakeholders challenges that they have successfully dealt with, and those that remain unresolved. In the UN review process, countries present their progress and implementation experiences, with a focus on sharing lessons learned and mutual learning. 

The UN member states are called upon to present to the HLPF by 2030 at least two VNRs of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda. During the annual meeting, the main tasks of the HLPF are:

  • to encourage dialogue on success stories, challenges and lessons learned based on national reports, and
  • to make available agreed policy messages and recommendations for the entire follow-up process. 

The interest of UN member states has risen significantly since the first HLPF in 2016 after adoption of the 2030 Agenda.  
After the HLPF in 2019, a total of 171 member states have reported at least one VNR. A further 49 VNRs (figure as at October 2019) are already registered for the 2020 HLPF, from which 22 countries will be presenting their second VNR. In many countries, VNRs are driving a process of re-thinking and re-institutionalising national processes, structures and mechanisms. 
In addition to reporting via the national VNRs, SDG monitoring also involves an annual thematic reporting on a set of selected “focus goals” mainly by respective UN custodian agencies but also by the regional UN Economic Commissions from a regional perspective. 
At the global level, the UN department of economic and social affairs publishes the Sustainable Development Goals Report plus statistical annexes every year. This report shows what progress has been made and trends worldwide.

Objective/ Outcome

SDG Voluntary National Reports are regularly prepared through an inclusive and participatory process and shared with all the national stakeholders/ within the international framework set-up by the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)

Contents / Outputs

Building blocks of the 2030 Agenda national review process are enhanced: 

  • Inclusive national policy dialogue
  • Fostering mutual accountability
  • Coordination and collaboration among government agencies and ministries
  • Facilitating comparability across and within countries
  • Opportunities for capacity development
  • Coordination by the National statistical Office 

Review formats/ Exchange of good practices are established ad fostered 

  • National voluntary reviews (VNRs): Be held regularly and supplemented by subnational reviews;  
  • Regional reviews
  • Global reviews:
  • Thematic reviews 

Possible Activities & Good Practices

National voluntary reviews (VNRs):  

  • Reporting on progress made towards implementation of the SDGs
  • Analyse challenges and policy effectiveness; 
  • Hold national multi-stakeholder consultation that should include marginalized and vulnerable population groups;
  • Conceptualize and prepare national SDG progress reports. 


Regional reviews: 

  • Tackle regional progress made and also challenges to achieve the SDGs 
  • Share lessons learned and best practices within the region and among regions;
  • Focus on particular regional circumstances, such as fragile political conditions, regional integration efforts or alignment with regional development plans.  


Global reviews:

  • Provide global analysis and outlook on 2030 Agenda implementation
  • coherence among different global agendas, as e.g. Paris Agreement, Addis Ababa Agenda on Finance for Sustainable Development, SENDAI Framework,
  • New Urban Agenda.


Thematic reviews:

  • Provide reports on selected focus SDGs 
  • Considering particularities within sectors, e.g. Health, Education, Water, Climate, 
  • Aim to shed light on interrelations among different SDGs
  • Tackle specific implementation challenges, such as institutional settings, technology and financing gaps that are common across countries 


GIZ Example:  Partners for Review (

Links with other elements of the process landscape

Links with Steering process: Policy support is essential for initiating and steering the production of the reports and resources must be earmarked. The preparation of the reports must comply with quality standards 

Links with Core processes: The whole monitoring system will be mobilised for the preparation and the dissemination of the reports 

Links with the other Supporting processes: capacity development is one of the building block of the reporting process. The preparation and the dissemination f the reports must be part of a national communication strategy for the SDGs 

National actors involved

Lead organisation for the national SDG monitoring system (e.g. National Presidency, Ministry of Planning) and all other stakeholders according to the levels of inclusion and participation reached