White & Case LLP and The UN Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

At the request of the UN Global Alliance, White & Case has committed to review and analyze the voluntary national reviews (VNRs) submitted each year by Member States to assess whether and to what extent countries are reporting on the implementation of SDG 16+ (SDG 16 and the 24 related targets including 1.B, 4.5, 4.7, 4.A, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.5, 5.C, 8.5, 8.7, 8.8, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 11.1, 11.2, 11.3, 11.7, 16.1, 16.2, 16.3, 16.4, 16.5, 16.6, 16.7, 16.8, 16.9, 16.10, 16.A, 16.B, 17.3, 17.10). 

Specifically, White & Case analyzes whether the countries reported on the relevant targets, the extent of reporting including whether there is disaggregated data supporting the report, whether the report itself was the product of an inclusive, participatory process, whether the private sector was involved in implementation or reporting, and whether sources of data are provided. After reviewing all reports, White & Case provides a summary of the number of countries reporting on each indicator, a summary of relevant data for each indicators for all reporting countries, and a summary of relevant trends, highlights, and challenges to reporting.  

To date, White & Case has reviewed 22 VNRs submitted in 2016, 43 VNRs submitted in 2017, 45 VNRs submitted in 2018, and will review the 51 VNRs expected to be submitted in 2019.  The information provided by White & Case to the Global Alliance is used to construct a baseline for the Global Alliance monitoring and reporting framework and to inform the development of Global Alliance’s plans, processes and service provisions. Specifically, it assists the Alliance in (i) encouraging reporting on peaceful, just and inclusive societies, (ii) enabling reporting by provided targeted assistance, and (iii) building structures to meet the demand including targeting services, defining the objectives of the Global Alliance, and defining structures and operations.  

The VNR review is helping to promote an overall global shift towards evidence-based action on SDG 16+ by identifying expertise on measuring SDG 16+. For example, expertise identified through the VNR analysis enabled the Global Alliance Secretariat to connect SDG 16+ data experts from Nigeria with Somali officials; and experts from Benin and Cameroon with Ivorian officials responsible for producing the VNR. Countries which have produced quality reports on SDG 16+ were engaged to develop and test Global Alliance Guidance for Reporting on SDG 16+; and to support peer learning at technical consultations in Sierra Leone, Cabo Verde, Mongolia, Tunisia, Panama, and Bosnia i Hercegovina. Beginning in September and into 2020, the White & Case VNR analysis will also inform Member State decisions on how to strengthen the accountability mechanism of the 2030 Agenda, to ensure that the VNR and HLPF are ‘fit for purpose’ for advancing evidence-based, inclusive progress on the SDGs.  

Moving forward, the VNR review findings are included in the SDG 16+ report to be presented to Expert Group Meeting on SDG 16, which is organized by DESA, as part of the formal preparations for HLPF. We expect therefore that the overall point on the necessity and feasibility of evidence-based approaches to SDG 16+ (and of investment in the VNR as a practical mechanism to achieve this) will become a key message of the overall SDG 16 campaign in July.