Research Studies

2022 VNR Study

Seven years have passed since the 2030 Agenda was launched. Although most countries have reported incorporating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their national frameworks, progress has stopped there. This 6th edition of CPDE’s VNR series shows widespread lack of consultation mechanisms for stakeholders. For the few CSOs who were able to share recommendations to their governments, almost none have been incorporated into their respective VNRs. SDG processes remain government-centred, while
efforts to build back better, if unchanged, will simply go back to the ways of old where peoples’ rights are curtailed and development is exclusive. Through the lens of Effective Development Cooperation (EDC), the CPDE VNR study outlines recommendations the development community can use to reconfigure its recovery roadmap.

Main Messages:

  1. Governments must cascade the ownership of the SDGs from the national to the local levels.
  2. Institutionalised and broad-based multi-stakeholder consultations that include civil society, especially those from the marginalised sectors, must be mainstreamed in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
  3. Unlock barriers to transparency of the 2030 Agenda by allowing citizen verification and scrutiny of SDG processes.
  4. Reform government processes and budget planning to be more evidencebased and results-driven.
  5. Establish a national resilience plan that targets the most adversely affected.

2021 VNR Study

Conducted by CPDE in time for the 2021 UN High Level Political Forum, this study presents the perspectives of 109 CSOs from 45 countries and territories on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), using the lens of effective development cooperation (EDC).

This is based on the CPDE survey conducted from March 27 to April 30, 2021. A total of 109 CSOs participated in this survey from 45 countries – all but three are developing countries, and 11 are scheduled to present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) in 2021.

While acknowledging the integration of SDGs in national development planning, respondents suggest weak country ownership and institutional stakeholder engagement, and poor transparency and inclusivity in the SDG processes. They identify major gaps in implementing SDGs, such as the inadequate engagement of CSOs, and note challenges in attaining the goals amidst the COVID-19 crisis. They also offer recommendations to improve SDG implementation, founded on fostering an enabling environment for civil society participation.


2019 VNR Study


This document presents the Key Findings and Recommendations of the reflection document on SDG national level implementation and the VNR process. The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) conducted the study this May-June 2019 in countries whose governments will be presenting their VNRs in the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). The objective/s of the study was to reflect on the progress of the national implementation of the SDGs and the VNR in reporting countries and review CSO participation in these processes. There were 22 respondent CSOs to the study from 17 countries. The synthesis of the results includes reflections and recommendations to help veer the VNR process and SDG implementation in general to the path to progress.

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