A family sit in an open space in front of their home
Jamaica has set out a dedicated advocacy plan to raise public awareness and gather citizens' input on SDG progress. Photo: UNDP Jamaica

For the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to become reality, countries must be able to measure their progress and report back to their citizens and to the wider world. The 2030 Agenda provides governments the opportunity to offer their own assessments of their nation’s progress towards the SDGs.

These Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) are presented at the annual High-level Political Forum (HLPF), which is also an opportunity for governments, UN agencies and other stakeholders to share data, experiences and perspectives on SDG implementation.

So far, 64 countries have told the world about their SDG progress through VNRs in 2016 and 2017. UNDP has supported the majority of them, including through facilitation of stakeholder dialogue and engagement. Countries are also compiling national SDG country reports that capture more depth and detail of their progress. UNDP has supported 22 countries to ensure resources and consultations for the first wave of these reports, which show that stakeholder engagement has indeed a vital role to play.

For example, in The Bahamas, private sector and civil society organizations (CSOs) gave their views on public policies and programmes to help identify gaps in SDG implementation and to highlight tradeoffs between goals. This exercise formed the basis of the SDG report and for a prioritization among SDG targets. Community-based CSOs and private companies also identified ‘SDG champions’ who reviewed the draft SDG report and provided feedback to make sure that No One is Left Behind.

In The Gambia, the government successfully determined SDG baselines, identified data sources and developed a mechanism for SDG monitoring and reporting together with the private sector, civil society and international development partners, which will be built into the monitoring and evaluation framework of the National Development Plan.

Through similar consultations, Jamaica set out to continue its awareness raising work through a dedicated SDG advocacy plan to obtain and coordinate stakeholder input, and to identify knowledge gaps throughout society. The plan includes toolkits for entertainers and the media, promotion of SDG essay competitions in schools and campaign material for visually impaired persons. Mirroring the 2030 Agenda, the plan underlines the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach that harnesses the knowhow and capacities from all of society, which is necessary for effective follow-up and review.

UNDP and partners have developed a data visualization platform allowing users to explore SDG progress around the world.

These are just a few examples of the country-led actions that are going on around the world. Tracking progress and challenges – and making them known – is crucial to advance the 17 Goals. That is why UNDP together with partners, including UN DESA and UN SDG Action Campaign, has set up a new, soon to be launched data visualization platform that allows the user to explore VNRs and SDG country progress reports as well as the interlinkages they make between the Goals.

But tracking progress is not enough. SDG implementation is a team effort and everyone must play at their best to fulfil the promises of the 2030 Agenda. Through the UN’s Major Groups and other stakeholders programme, people ranging from youth, indigenous communities and farmers to trade unions, businesses and the tech community, can express their views on the progress of the 2030 Agenda.

The MY World 2030 survey is another example of how citizens around the world can express their views on SDG progress to inform government action and reporting on SDG implementation. If you haven’t taken this brief survey yet, we highly encourage you to do so!

The 2030 Agenda is a bold plan for humanity that requires everyone to participate. UNDP is committed to continuing to work with partners to ensure that No One is Left Behind when reviewing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals.


This year’s HLPF will be held from 9 to 18 July in New York under the theme of ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’. Forty-seven countries are planning to present their advancements and challenges in turning the SDGs into a reality on the ground.


About the author

Catharina Klingspor is a knowledge and advocacy officer for the 2030 Agenda in the Strategic Policy Unit at UNDP.

Follow @UNDP_SDGs for news and insights into UNDP’s work on the SDGs.

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