About Course


for “Mainstreaming SDG 16: Using the Voluntary National Review to advance more Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies”

Alan George

First Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequalities between and within countries and this has serious implications for sustaining peace, upholding justice and engendering inclusive societies. It is therefore critical for Governments and all relevant stakeholders including the United Nations, Parliaments, Civil Society and Academia to collaborate, coordinate efforts and support the advancement of more peaceful, just and inclusive societies by mainstreaming SDG 16 in all National Development priorities. This Guidance Resource would thus be helpful to focus post VNR actions on how best to support SDG 16 implementation at National and Sub-National levels especially as it relates to COVID-19 response and recovery. This useful, timely and relevant resource if utilised appropriately, would also ensure that the VNR of Member States are maximized for SDG 16 impact, including improved subsequent reporting at the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development”

Erick Nidal Thomas

Senior Policy Advisor, Social Development, Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom to the UN

“SDG 16+ is the bedrock for the entire 2030 agenda and the COVID-19 pandemic has proven this link to be inextricable, laying bare the costs associated with a failure to mainstream SDG16+ in our institutions. While the VNR review is a powerful tool to analyse progress and challenges on SDG16+, it is also a means to an end. Setting out innovative guidance for how to transform the VNR process into concrete action, as this document does, could not come at a better time. As we enter the Decade of Action, we must seize the challenge of COVID-19 as a generational moment for transformative change—let us be unwavering in our pursuit of justice and equality and strive for a world where no one is left behind.”

Sarah Lister

Head of Governance, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

“Across the globe, COVID-19 and pandemic response efforts are disrupting governance practices in fundamental ways, deepening pre-existing inequalities and bringing significant implications for SDG16 and its components of peace, justice and inclusion. Effective action in these areas is today more important than ever—not only to deliver on SDG16 but to unlock progress across the entire SDG spectrum. It is for this reason that the Voluntary National Review and the processes that precede and follow the VNR are so important and merit special attention. This timely and important resource offers a wealth of guidance and practical lessons to inform these processes and is of relevance to a range of actors and constituencies. It is my hope that it will be put to good use, and that effective reporting on SDG16 at national and sub-national levels will be used not only to deliver on the 2030 Agenda and its promise to ‘leave no one behind’ but to help guide sustainable COVID-19 recoveries.”

Judith Kaulem

Executive Director, Poverty Reduction Forum Trust in Zimbabwe

Co-chair International Steering Committee, TAP Network

“The integral role played by the Voluntary National Reviews in the 2030 Agenda and SDGs follow-up cannot be over-emphasized. In addition to being presented and shared at the High-Level Political Forum, the process towards their production provides an opportune moment to localize the 2030 Agenda by rallying together all key stakeholders, thus ensuring local ownership of the Agenda. In their watch-dog role, civil society organizations may require additional tools and support to execute that mandate and demand accountability from their governments. This guidance is a go-to-resource, that provides a ‘whole of society’ approach to both governments and CSOs. It includes necessary tools to take the VNR one crucial step further—to use the recommendations identified in the VNR and link it firmly into national development plans and priorities.”

Peter van Sluijs

Coordinator, Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS)

Co-chair International Steering Committee, TAP Network

“The systematic civil society inclusion in VNR and post-VNR processes—and linking these to national planning, policies and frameworks—is critical to realising not only SDG 16 at all levels, but also the larger 2030 Agenda, all whilst manifesting a true ‘Leave No One Behind’ approach. It is good to see this resource emphasising the importance of partnerships in processes related to the 2030 Agenda follow-up and review. It provides important building blocks on how these partnerships can be set-up, rolled out and effectively support coordinated and concerted local follow-up action towards greater impact for all. I hope this resource document finds its way to the audiences it is meant to provide guidance for and will result in accelerated advancement of SDG16 at local, national and international levels.”

Michelle Breslauer

Senior Manager, Governance and Peace, United Nations Global Compact

“The 2030 Agenda emphasizes the importance of partnerships to the achievement of the 17 SDGs, and the VNR process is a key opportunity for Government to engage responsible business as a partner. This is particularly important to advance SDG16 as the achievement of peace, justice, and strong institutions requires multistakeholder action, with the private sector working as a complement to Government action. Moreover, by engaging business and wider civil society in implementing and reporting on SDG 16, the VNR process, including the post-VNR process, can be a tool to increase inclusion, transparency, and accountability at the local level. This engagement must extend past the delivery of the VNR to link reporting to the advancement and implementation of national development plans.”

Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson

Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University & Alexandra Hiniker

Executive Fellow, Sustainability Initiatives, Carnegie Mellon University

“With the world’s first Voluntary University Review, Carnegie Mellon is demonstrating the important role universities play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a university, we have a particular commitment to educate the next generation, to create knowledge, and to lead by example. Undertaking these efforts using the framework of the SDGs will help advance collective action on this ambitious agenda by 2030. The VUR can help also help explain the paradigm shift involved in the SDGs—they are about the environment but also about creating peaceful, just, and inclusive societies—the core of SDG 16.”