Following its decision to deliver its own self-assessment report, in July 2017, on progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Iran has engaged in consultations on the way in which the report will be prepared.
On 9 January, here in Tehran, Iran’s National Committee on Sustainable Development (NCSD) – the entity overseeing SDG implementation in Iran – consulted extensively with civil society organizations, academia, the private sector and the United Nations, on the contents of the report and how Iran would, in future, hold itself accountable to the international community on SDG implementation.
The SDGs are a set of universal goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, ensuring prosperity for all and promoting partnerships. Iran has now committed to showcasing its progress towards SDG attainment by delivering a report – called the Voluntary National Review (VNR) – at the next High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York in 2017.
To help set the tone for the discussions and draw inspiration from useful examples of similar VNRs which had already been shared – for the very first time in July 2016 – Iran invited UNDP’s Bangkok-based regional expert on SDGs, Dr. Joseph D’ Cruz, to act as a resource person during three sets of discussions during the day. Dr. D’Cruz leads a team of professionals experienced in supporting countries prepare their VNRs.
The first of the three sessions was attended by government ministries, academia, private sector, NGOs and UN Agencies in Iran. In this, Dr. Maknoon, Head of NCSD provided an overview of what has been done to date by the NCSD on the SDGs. Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, spoke about the way in which the UN’s ongoing and future programmes in Iran – as articulated through the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) – is aimed at helping Iran to plan and implement strategies to secure the SDGs.
Dr. D’Cruz himself presented an overview of how countries can use the VNR process to clarify how they will establish baselines and goals to achieve the SDGs by the year 2030. The session concluded with a question-and-answer session (photo below) in which the audience had opportunity to pose questions to the key speakers.
The second session had a more focused participation and looked at specifics of the report Iran is to present at the HLPF. Participants were able to engage in discussions with Dr. D’Cruz and seek his expertise and experiences in approaching different elements of the sustainable development agenda.
The day ended with a final meeting with the core NCSD ad-hoc VNR group – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Environment, Budget and Planning Organization and Statistical Center of Iran – and the United Nations where timelines and responsibilities were assigned.
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