Jakarta, 18 March 2021 – UCLG ASPAC Secretary-General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi was invited to become one of the panelists in a session of VNR-VLR Lab, a three-day event co-organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and other entities, including UCLG ASPAC. VNR-VLR Lab, which was conducted ahead of the 8th Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD), aims to draw explicit linkages and discuss the means to strengthen integration between Voluntary National Review (VNR) and Voluntary Local Review (VLR). It was attended by officials from VLR pilot cities, officials from cities and countries from Asia Pacific region and beyond who have conducted VLRs/VNRs, as well as representatives from selected local stakeholder groups.

The SDGs and the 2030 agenda have been widely embraced in the Asia-Pacific region. Most governments are working towards including them in several development policies and planning and monitoring framework at the national and sub-national levels, and to achieve the 2030 goals agenda, the local governments participation is necessary.

In the panel discussion entitled “Strengthening Coherence in VNR and VLR Localization Process”, Dr. Bernadia started the talk by saying that the Asia Pacific holds immense potential in terms of SDGs localization as the region has the highest number of VLRs. However, the engagement of local government in the VNR process is still limited. One of the causes of the limited engagement of local governments is the coherence issues between VNR and VLR. Dr. Bernadia proposes 4 ways to further strengthened VNR-VLR coherence: (1) Understand the process and structure of the VNR report, especially where local perspectives can be incorporated in the VNR; (2) Maintain coordination with national authorities to align the timeline between VLR and VNR; (3) Ensure the documentation of SDGs best practices at the local levels; and (4) Make use of existing local stakeholders working group.

To conclude, this 3-day event highlights several points in regards to effective linkages and synergy between the VNRs and VLRs, such as the diversity in VLR experience, the maturity of VLR processes, and the need to think of the next steps after VLR reporting. These are also crucial points highlighted during the 8th Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) held 23-26 March 2021.

By Localise SDGs – KM Team