Kabul, Afghanistan, May 02 2021 — Ministry of Economy together with the UN Development Programme in Afghanistan held the first consultation meeting for the preparation of Afghanistan's second Voluntary National Review (VNR) 2021 in Kabul. Participants from the government officials, academia, research institutions, private sector, and UN system in Afghanistan join the hybrid consultation meeting.
The VNRs aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The VNRs also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GoIRA) will be presenting its second VNR report on the progress of implementation of the SDGs at the United Nation’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF). The 2021 HLPF allows the country to showcase its strategies laid out to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as promoted in the Afghanistan Peace and Development Framework – II (ANPDF-II). This will include, among others, the achievements, lessons learned, and challenges faced in the implementation of the SDGs in Afghanistan.
Dr. Karimi Hamid Faryabi, Afghanistan’s Minister of Economy in her welcoming remarks said that “The VNR is a government-led initiative to review and monitor the progress of the SDGs and highlight the achievements, weakness, strengthens, threats, and lessons learned from the implementation of the 2030 development agenda.”
“Though the COVID-19 pandemic is a setback for the Afghan economy and slows down the attainment of the SDGs, it doesn’t undermine Afghanistan's long-term commitment to having a whole of state and society approach to leave no one behind.” she added.
The UN Development Programme in Afghanistan supported Afghanistan’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) report in 2017. The report was to describe the nationalization process of the Sustainable Development Goals, targets, and indicators, considering the specific circumstances and context of Afghanistan. The report highlighted the progress made on the goals which were reviewed during the 2017 HLPF (i.e., SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, and 17) and their respective nationalized targets and indicators.
Head of the SDGs Lab and Policy Unit in UNDP Afghanistan, Shakeel Ahmad acknowledged the efforts of the Government especially the Ministry of Economy to accelerating the SDG achievement and ensuring a participatory approach in the preparation of its second VNR. He commitment to providing support in the preparation of Afghanistan VNR in 2021 to the Ministry of Economy and all stakeholders.
“This will be the second time that Afghanistan will present this crucial review to assess the progress it has made and the challenges it still faces on attaining the SDGs.”
“This review will be presented at a critical juncture. On the one hand, Afghanistan is still responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already negatively affected economic growth and exacerbated poverty, food insecurity, inequalities, and access to better health and education services. On the other hand, there is a serious chance for a peaceful transformation of the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.” – Shakeel.
Moreover he added that “Sustained peace in Afghanistan will provide a tremendous opportunity for accelerating progress on achieving the Afghanistan SDGs through equitable and sustained economic growth.”
The consultation meeting discussed the importance of stakeholder engagement in the 2021 VNR process and emphasized furtherly consultation and hearing different stakeholder voices on preparing an inclusive VNR report on Afghanistan SDGs. It was also agreed that inputs from all stakeholders including the UN agencies, civil society, private sector, and academia are equally important as the SDGs cannot be achieved by governments alone
The meeting of the HLPF in 2021 will be held from 6-15 July 2021, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. This includes the three-day ministerial meeting of the forum from 13-15 July 2021 as part of the high-level segment of the Council.